University of Johannesburg

The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at University of Johannesburg offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, expanding these fields beyond their traditional boundaries through internal and external collaborations. It has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education. Equipped with state-of-the art, custom-built facilities, the Faculty is staffed by highly regarded academics, artists and designers.

The Faculty is home to approximately 1 300 students who study and work in the custom-built FADA Building on the Bunting Road Campus. 

Many of our graduates are employed in South Africa or internationally in diverse areas of industry, or work as freelance designers, architects or independent artists. Whatever their preference, they have been properly prepared as professionals through creative and entrepreneurial development, which are key factors in the programmes offered.

Simulated practice: The interior treatise through a cumulative design research process.

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Design Education Strategy

Professional practice provides a context which requires design to be performed as an efficient and linear process (which may be a determining factor in the sustainability of practices). Research is an increasingly important component of accountability for design decisions.

Communication Design Futures: A pilot user interface course case study at the University of Johannesburg

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Discipline: 

Graphic Design & Visual Art
Media & Communications Design
Software, UX & Game Design

Following a query in 2018 by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) alumni office to establish in which industries or companies UJ alumni were predominantly employed, information was gathered by members of the department of Graphic Design and data accumulated on a large number of alumni from the Department of Graphic Design.

‘Research Practice’ as Design Informant

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Discipline: 

Photography, Film & Multimedia

Rapid and ongoing global changes are forcing educators to consider how students can be supported to navigate these events successfully. Reports from the World Economic Forum (WEF 2018) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 2018) highlight the need for developing learner and worker agency and for embedding curricula with projects that develop problem-solving skills; enable deep thinking and reflection; and focus on transferable skills, knowledge, attitudes and values. There is an ever-increasing need for knowledge-based practice in the design industry, and the value of design research in addressing cross-disciplinary challenges has been noted by several government agencies.

Designing Social Value: Informed Programme Development for Future-Focused Social Entrepreneurship in Africa

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Design Education Strategy

The emergence of young African social entrepreneurs who design social change could translate to significant social value design that, in turn, could improve the future of several communities. Nevertheless, the designed value will only benefit the continent if it is substantial and sustainable. The problem is that many social entrepreneurial endeavours are implemented without a long-term future focus or an understanding of how social value is conceptualised. For this reason, tertiary institutions in Africa should consider presenting training or education related to sustainable social value design.

‘The Pretty Stuff’: Gender bias and the future of design knowledge in the South African industrial design context

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Product & Industrial Design

In the era of the fourth industrial revolution that proposes an increasingly automated future, designers need not lose focus on the discipline’s important role in social design and innovation. Such an undertaking becomes difficult when the discipline of design itself has inbuilt biases and inequalities. Gender bias is one such prejudice that design educators and researchers need to become more aware of and engage with, not only to prepare our students for the workplace but also to begin to change the patriarchal dominance of the design industry and hence the equity of the discipline itself.

Design-Based Research: Bridging the gap between fashion design education and research on design

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Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

Traditionally, design-based research (DBR) unifies research, design and evaluation of interventions aimed at improving educational practice. Shifts elucidate DBR as a novelty to bridge the gap between knowledge generated from research with that of design practice. DBR, therefore, locates itself in both educational and design practice contexts. This paper considers DBR in the educational context hence aimed at the affordance for improving fashion design educational practice. The DBR phases in educational disciplines may well act as guidelines to develop scholarship around research on and through design.

Writing-up Research Through Design: An approach to research report writing in early level postgraduate education

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Design Education Research

In Christopher’s Frayling’s seminal account of design-orientated research, he lists research for design, research through design and research about design as the primary modes of research in the field of design. At least since Frayling termed these concepts in 1993, design educators globally have grappled with supervising research through design. While there are many accounts of research through design, few provide clear theory as to how the approach may be applied, least of all in design education. In the field of human-computer interaction, Zimmerman et al.

The Postgraduate Supervision Space: From formal meetings to late-night calls

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Design Education Strategy

Undergraduate studies in design disciplines focus the design student’s attention on solving problems through designing projects in purpose-built studios or workshops while having regular face-to-face contact with design lecturers. Postgraduate research requires students to shift their focus from a practically orientated physical space to a theoretical-orientated mind space. The design research requires the student to engage with the solitary deep independent thinking supervision space in which contact and reflection occur. This paper will focus on the supervision space, which is described as both space and place in which the supervision interaction between student and supervisor takes place.

Reimagining Design Education Through Empathy

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Design Education Strategy

This paper will explore my intervention into decolonising design education as a response to bell hooks’ call for a teaching philosophy that recognises empathy and respect as devices for freedom and sustainable world making. By reflecting on my experience as a recent Masters degree graduate, a newly appointed first-year design lecturer and as a design mentor on a youth training programme I will provide evidence that, in the right learning environment, such a pedagogical approach is possible.

Transforming Fashion Education to Design with Intent

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Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

Two fundamental shifts are currently evident in design. Firstly, a growing call to integrate research and praxis is evident. Secondly, a call to move fashion design praxis to more relevant and value-adding environmental sustainable and user-centred design approaches is emerging. As such, fashion education should align itself to such shifts.

Reinventing design teaching in an era of exponential growth

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Design Education Strategy

Students across the globe are demanding a change in education.  In South Africa, the call is for ‘decolonisation’ of higher education.  Initially, the call was for free higher education, but students then demanded a significant overhaul of higher education; from the removal of symbols celebrating white supremacy, to a change in the selection criteria and policies to promote applicants on more indicators than academic aptitude alone.

Object Biographies as a method for Communication Design students to construct knowledge in the Design Studies classroom

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Media & Communications Design

This paper reports on the use of object biography writing as a method for Communication Design students to construct knowledge in the Design Studies classroom. Students used a guideline constructed around the stages of the birth, life and death of an object to write an object biography on a mass-manufactured object of their own choice with a focus on how the object is used by individuals to construct and express gender identity.

“Community” as the basic architectural unit: rethinking research and practice towards a decolonised education

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Architecture & Built Environment

As a contribution to the decolonisation debate, we need to develop theoretical frameworks that are better suited to diverse contexts, specifically Africa, and we need to elevate local knowledge systems, thinking that originates from the African continent and architectural theory from African scholars. It also demands a shift from documentation (which we tend to do when studying Africa) to interpretation and the development of new theories and new methodologies of research and practice.

A Humanistic Approach to Designing and Assessing Interactive-narrative Based Social Interventions

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Discipline: 

Software, UX & Game Design

Decolonising digital media design education requires an investigation of possible techniques that can be taught to designers as a way of approaching interactive design with an emancipatory agenda. Traditionally, interactive-media studies have been taught from a positivist or psychological stance focusing predominantly on theories of human activity and cognition. In this paper I argue that the humanities offer an additional social and ethnographic lens with which to focus on the socio-historic, political and economic context of interactive media artefacts.

Decolonising Fashion Education with Athol Fugard's Boesman and Lena

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Discipline: 

Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

At undergraduate level, research design and methodology was never a formalised part of the fashion education curriculum. Furthermore, fashion-related modules tend to comprise content predominantly of a Western nature: for example, the ‘history of fashion’ is often presented from a European perspective. In comparison to the vast, multi-disciplinary discourse relating to Western fashion, literature on African fashion is limited, which poses challenges for teaching, learning and curriculum transformation. The call for decolonisation has established a need to narrow this gap.

Don’t Touch Me on My Discipline! Decolonisation, Disciplinarity and the Problem of Curricular Coherence

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Design Education Strategy

Since the mid 1990’s, recurriculation efforts in South Africa have been marked by ideological complexity. Although there is general agreement, post-apartheid, that curriculum should contribute to the construction of a just, equitable and democratic post-apartheid society, the question of how to get there is not straightforward. Broadly speaking, in the new South Africa, curriculum reform has been oriented around a liberal democratic notion of transformation.

A Holistic Approach to the Decolonisation of Modules in Sustainable Interior Design

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Discipline: 

Interior & Furniture Design

This paper stems from the need to develop and deliver a new module in sustainable interior design (BASD6B2) at a 2nd year level within a new Degree programme at the University of Johannesburg, in 2017.  This module’s development however relies on a reflection on another sustainable interior design module (BASD6B1) in the curriculum, offered at a 1st year level. The paper also secondly arises from the national call for the transformation and decolonisation of education programmes in South African tertiary institutions.

Role with the Students: A Social Constructivist Decolonising Teaching Strategy for Visual Literacy in Fashion Design Programs

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Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

Visual literacy is a core competency required to express and reinforce cultural identity through clothing in the realm of fashion, and is therefore important within the context of decolonising fashion design education. Traditionally, curricula focused on the Euro-centric concept of fashion and accordingly, teaching methods and design products expected from students were mostly applicable within this context. Nevertheless, in South Africa, due to political and educational reform, the demographics of students in fashion design programs in Universities have changed radically over the past two decades to include diverse African and South African cultures.

Transforming the Training: Ethical considerations in Re-designing an Incubation Model aimed to Train Aspiring Fashion Design Entrepreneurs

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Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

Empowerment incubation is a strategy to address unemployment in South Africa. It was determined during 2013 that 50% of jobs were lost in the South African Clothing and Textile Industry since 2003. Contrariwise, this situation has presented opportunities for prevailing local fashion design businesses to collaborate on government funded initiatives that promote transformation and empowerment linked to entrepreneurial opportunities.

Architecture and agency: ethics and accountability in teaching through the application of Open Building principles

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Architecture & Built Environment

This paper will explore the notion of ethics in the built environment, and professional accountability, topics which are generally sidelined or given little direct consideration in teaching and practice. However, this status quo is increasingly being questioned. Built environment educators and practitioners need now to develop the intellectual and skill resources to address new questions, formulate a position, and set guidelines to be able to incorporate and make these ‘measurable’ in the performance of educators and practitioners, and for achieving a level of accountability.

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