For more than 180 years, UNSW Art & Design – variously known as Sydney Technical College, the National Art School, Alexander Mackie College, the City Art Institute and COFA – has provided art and design education to the next generation of creative practitioners.

This Tuesday, 30 September, UNSW Chancellor Mr David Gonski and Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer will mark the latest chapter in the Faculty’s evolution by officially launching the new name and redeveloped campus in Paddington.

“UNSW Art & Design’s new name affirms the Faculty’s 25-year connection to the University and reflects decades of teaching and research leadership in design,” Mr Gonski says.

“This is an exciting development in our proud history as a powerhouse of art and design higher education and a key contributor to the artistic and creative life of Sydney.”

Designed around a central courtyard, the $58 million redeveloped campus incorporates heritage and new buildings with high-quality facilities such as museum standard galleries, labs for creative robotics, holography and 3D visualisation; digital media and photography; audio visual studios; and the Black Box, a highly flexible space for complex media production such as motion capture.

“Our pioneering research has established us as the top ranked art and design faculty in Australia,” says Dean Professor Ross Harley.

“We are building on our distinguished history to ensure UNSW Art & Design reinforces its reputation as one of the most exciting and dynamic centres for creative learning, teaching and research. With students and staff from more than 50 countries, we aim to make our mark on the art, design, creativity and culture that will define the future,” Professor Harley says.

With a focus on media innovation and emerging technologies, UNSW Art & Design has initiated research programs in immersive interactive environments, visualisation, holography, robotics, art and politics, Indigenous knowledge and global issues – all housed within the National Institute for Experimental Arts.

“Our programs bring students and leading practitioners together. Underpinned by leading-edge technologies and unmatched national and international industry and research networks, UNSW Art & Design provides a dynamic and innovative learning environment designed to inspire a new generation of creative thinkers,” Professor Harley says.

The opening of the new campus coincides with the introduction of a suite of best-practice undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that redefine professional creative education.

Art & Design Alumni

UNSW Art & Design has an impressive alumni community, comprising leading artists, designers, curators and cultural leaders.

“The campus relaunch is a moment to celebrate the recent and historic achievements of our students, extraordinary alumni and staff, and to thank our generous and visionary supporters,” says Professor Harley.

Artists and designers include numerous Venice Biennale representatives such as Hany Armanious, Shaun Gladwell, Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy, two time Archibald-winning artist Del Kathryn Barton, current MFA student and winner of the 2014 Archibald Prize Fiona Lowry, Lucy Simpson, artist and curator Brenda Croft, Jonathan Jones, Janet Laurence, Reg Mombasa, the founders of Dinosaur Designs, Trent Jansen, animator Phillip To, filmmaker Rowan Woods and many others.

Del Kathryn Barton describes UNSW Art & Design as “one of the most important art schools in Australia, nourishing the life-blood of our culture”.

The Faculty has close to 1000 industry linkages and has developed Sydney-based cultural partnerships with the Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art, Artspace, Carriageworks and the Sydney Biennale. International networks include leading research centres and institutions such as Ars Electronica FutureLab (Austria), the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (UK), MIT Media Lab (US) and the ZKM Center for Art and Media (Germany).

UNSW Galleries official opening with Signs of Life exhibition

The redeveloped campus incorporates the new UNSW Galleries, which span three separate exhibition spaces over almost 900 square metres. Facing Sydney’s Oxford Street, the UNSW Galleries provide a major addition to Sydney’s arts and cutural precinct and a platform for experimental curatorial research and practice.

UNSW Galleries opening exhibition showcases UNSW Art & Design’s future direction – building collaborations between art and design and science and technology. 

Signs of Life – Body Image reveals new, arts-led visualisations of complex scientific and biomedical data using the 3D CGI techniques employed in the visual effects and animation industries. Bringing together art, animation and medical science, the exhibition takes viewers on compelling visual journeys inside the human body, discovering aspects of blood flow, organ and cellular behavior.

What: Official Opening of UNSW Art & Design and UNSW GalleriesWhen: Tuesday 30 September, 6–8pmWhere: UNSW Paddington Campus, Corner of Greens Road and Oxford Street, Paddington

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 0429 416 070

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