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Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

09 Jul, 2020

AUT Head of Art and Design Dr Andrew Withell
Opinion piece by AUT Head of School Dr Andrew Withell.

As the world continues to evolve, there is a strong place for artists and designers who want to improve the way humans see, feel and interact with the world around them.

Spaces, objects, systems, communications, interactions, experiences. The built environment around us.

These are all created and designed by artists and designers. In a world where life has been turned upside down by a pandemic, now more than ever art and design is crucial.

Artists and designers think differently. At their core, they draw on creativity to turn a problem into an opportunity by offering innovative new solutions. This is one of the most important and valuable skills that artists and designers have to offer the world.

Fundamentally, this is what we teach here at AUT School of Art and Design. We teach people how to see the world differently.

Designers are also brilliant communicators who are able to bring people from different disciplines together to collaborate on a solution. The way we do that at AUT is through our studio-based learning community. You learn how to connect and work with others while developing life-long friendships.

Both our staff and students get a lot out of the studio-based community. Our students come away with practical skills and a deep understanding of the design process. These practical skills, such as drawing, photography, motion capture, printmaking and creative software knowledge, go beyond their tangible capabilities.

Our students have learnt the ideas behind these technologies and how to be flexible, so in the future, as these technologies change, they are always ready to learn and extend those capabilities.

These skills are increasingly becoming more sought after by businesses and governments because they recognise the value of different ways of thinking and problem-solving.

I truly believe that the most important thing is creative thinking.

You can be creative in any job. Artists and designers are on company boards everywhere in the world. Design is what makes companies, such as Apple and Air New Zealand, stand out. Design is no longer an after-thought, it is what drives strategy.

Art and design is more relevant than ever because there are always tremendous opportunities that come out of disruptions. Creative problem solving, adaptability and constant curiosity are some of the most future proof skills you can have.

This opinion piece was first published in The Big Idea.

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Dr Andrew Withell

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