Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

The school has a long and proud history, and has its roots in the country's oldest art school, the PE Art School founded in 1882. Prospective students can choose from a comprehensive range of programmes, from introductory level certificate courses right up to doctoral studies. In all of the programmes on offer, students receive individual tuition from highly skilled staff who are active practitioners in their fields.

Over the years students from the school have been award winners in a wide range of top national and international music, fine art, design and photography competitions. Our graduates have gone on to make valuable cultural contributions in their fields. The School of Music, Art and Design includes departments in Art & Design, Studio Arts and Applied Design  

Re-representation: Addressing objectifying media portrayals of women in South Africa

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Media & Communications Design

Objectification imparts harm to women and sets a detrimental precedent for self-objectification. This is particularly true for young women who are seeking information to assist them in the process of identity construction. Experimental studies indicate that objectification in media causes negative body esteem, an unnecessary drive for thinness, eating disorders and related psychological problems. Globalised media trends emphasise and value women for their physical appearance. These trends de- personalise women, depict them as objects to be gazed at, and style them as decorative, rather than a person with a mind, aptitude, intellect, personality and a ‘voice’.

The Myth of Unified Global Culture: transcoding national cultures within website interfaces

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Software, UX & Game Design

This paper probes two areas relating to transcoding culture in a website interface development context. Firstly, culture is interrogated through the lens of current anthropological models of dimensions (traits/tendencies) of national culture. Secondly, transcoding anthropological models of dimensions of national culture into culturally adaptive website interfaces through the graphic design process.

Problematic motifs: portrayals and identity construction of women in visual consumer media

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Photography, Film & Multimedia

Considerable  criticism  has  been  levelled  at  problematic  visual  portrayals  of  women  in  consumer  and  popular media.  Current  Western  media  landscapes  feature  images  of  women  that  engender  problematic  ‘narrow’ identity constructs – marginalising agency and intellect, promoting physical idealisation, sexual objectification, and commodification  – and, as such,  reproduce  patriarchal  discourse.  Despite  the rise of feminism  and the resultant  increased  awareness   of  and  advances  in  the  area  of  gender  equality,  stereotyped   images  of sexualised,  objectified  and  idealised  women  seem  to  persist  globally  and  in  South  Africa.  Images  exert discursive power and have the ability to shape people’s identities, beliefs, and behaviour.

Critical Design as critique of the design status quo

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Design Education Strategy

Contemporary design practice (and theory) is growing up. There is evidence to support the emergence of a new breed of designer who is able to reflect on her or his role in society, and to be critical of what they make and what the resultant consequences of that may be.

Design is often used as a vehicle to criticise and comment on issues, highlight problems and shortcomings in society, and present views and perspectives. This suggests that design is at a distance and impartial, but the truth is otherwise. Design is ideological and an expression of the values mediated by the designer and commissioned by others. This is the status quo: affirmative design. When design steps away from this position and critiques itself, critical design is the result.

The Problem with Plagiarism

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Graphic Design & Visual Art

This study examines the concept of visual plagiarism within a contemporary cultural context shaped by postmodern design theory and the digital information age, as a challenging concern for tertiary level graphic design education.

This paper does not condone plagiarism, however it asks design lecturers to reconsider taken-for-granted assumptions that students operate in an unambiguous environment of 'wrong' and 'right' when it comes to the concept of visual plagiarism. It seems that graphic design students find it increasingly difficult to navigating the grey areas between plagiarism, appropriation, homage, inspiration, 'referencing, coincidence and 'accident'.

From 'banking‘ to 'stockvel‘: a critical reflection on the development of literacies

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Design Education Strategy

This paper presents an analytical autoethnographic reflection on the adaptations in approach to the teaching and learning of literacies that led to the writing and research-intensive literacies programme currently presented to first year visual arts students. It maps our practices to theory, and specifically to those of Freire, Lave and Wenger, Mezirow and the transformational education theorists.

Are we there yet? Graphic design‘s next destinations

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Graphic Design & Visual Art

The diverse tautology applied to graphic design means different things depending on the perspective from which it is viewed and has become the topic for much debate in recent times. This is of particular relevance to the tertiary educational arena in South Africa, where universities (including Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) which provides the context for this paper) are faced with the dual spectres of programme re-curriculation and Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF)1 level compliancy in the near future and graphic design programmes will have to reconsider their relevance in a changing/changed educational and business paradigm.

Towards An Educational Strategy For Promoting Social, Environmental And Ethical Awareness In Visual Communications

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Media & Communications Design

Visual Communications at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), incorporating graphic design and photography, aspires to instil social, environmental and ethical sensitivity within students in order to meet a perceived increase in demand for these issues to be addressed at local and global level. To meet this imperative students are required to produce visual communications solutions for charitable organisations and participate in community-linked photographic excursions that expose them to social and environmental issues within real life scenarios.

The Politics of Change, Craft and the Bauhaus Reborn: New Relationships in Design Education

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Design Education Strategy

South African education systems straddle the developed/developing world schism, an old-school-style Eurocentric view has long tussled with an Africanist dialectic. Educators struggle with access and upliftment issues whilst implementing outcomes-based learning programmes and simultaneously maintaining academic standards. At Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), conscious of the need to build future capacity, innovation in teaching and learning is paramount and the issues identified above are constantly under debate. Experimentation is an ongoing aspect of teaching methodology.

Nurturing The Personal And The Intuitive In The Design Studio

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Graphic Design & Visual Art

The design process, like all creative activities, involves both rational aspects and other less easily-explicable non-rational aspects, such as the roles of intuition, imagination and personal insight. There are therefore different ways of knowing and learning involved in teaching design.

Making Space For Identity, Diversity And Voice In A Transcultural Visual Arts Community Of Practice

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Graphic Design & Visual Art

There is national and institutional pressure to transform education, to revisit curriculums and approaches to teaching and learning and to address issues around dominant worldviews, inclusiveness and diversity. Visual arts lecturer practitioners, like other academics, are being challenged to respond.

We know that the students entering our programmes, in all their growing diversity, provide new challenges, bringing with them as they do different and often complex social, cultural and familial identities, some of which they leave, wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly, at the door, as they look to conform to the expectations of the disciplinary communities.

Redesigning Design Education

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Design Education Strategy

Note: A full reviewed paper was not submitted after the conference.

The last 15-20 years has seen an explosion in design awareness worldwide, with a concomitant restructuring of design education curricula. Increasingly, national innovation strategies are beginning to integrate design, art, social sciences and the humanities into their programmes, and there is a corresponding developing integration of the creative and social disciplines in the curricula of science and technology.

The role of assessment in the design process

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Design Education Strategy

Assessment in education is often seen as only the grading or final evaluation of a completed task performed by the student. Assessment and feedback opportunities can easily be overlooked as design and process are inseparable. How can it be monitored other than with assessment? This paper aims to outline the importance of integration between assessment and the design process, as assessment has various possibilities and varieties, just as the design process consists of a complex sequence of investigations.

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