Academy of Design’s Graduate Exhibition – 360 one; a showcase of design excellence, local enterprise, and societal consciousness

Northumbria University School of Design and AOD Celebrating key milestones of over a decade of powerful partnership in Design 

The most highly-anticipated event on the design calendar is here, and off to a great start. 360One, the Academy of Design’s annual graduate exhibition, is currently underway and on its final day, having experienced an eventful and design-packed weekend.

The flagship celebration of Sri Lanka’s young design talent was officially inaugurated by Chief Guest Ms. Lisa Whanstall, Deputy British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, at the opening night held on Thursday the 1st of December at the iconic Colombo Innovation Tower (CIT). 

When asked about her thoughts about the work of graduate students and the message she wanted to share with the other design enthusiasts, Ms. Lisa Whanstall said “The work of students are totally inspirational and mind-blowing. I am so pleased to have visited here. It’s thoughtful and engaging. I’ve seen new ideas on sustainability,  recycling, and projects in technology. It’s cutting edge creative thinking. They have  really been able to bring ideas into reality. All this is great for the Sri Lankan economy.” She also spoke on AOD and Northumbria University’s partnership, “It’s great to hear that AOD and Northumbria has been in partnership for the last 20 years. It’s positive to experience the relationship between our two countries bringing together expertise, ideas and making it into something new. It’s important that we are able to nurture talents in this way.”

Celebrating a powerful partnership over a decade-long collaboration with the UK’s highly-ranked Northumbria University, AOD has over the years provided its students with the very best of British design education; always setting the gold standard, and in turn paving the way for students’ career success.

In harnessing the collective clout of the university’s industry connections –both local and international- and successful alumni community, at this intimate event AOD afforded its graduate cohorts the enviable opportunity to unveil and showcase their final year projects to potential employers from the country’s diverse economic landscape, and also rub shoulders with some of Sri Lanka’s most notable industry heads. In turn, senior representatives from a broad spectrum of sectors (fashion and textile, travel and tourism, hospitality, information technology, architecture, etc.) in attendance, as proponents of design innovation, were able to witness first-hand the immense potential of home-grown creativity entering the professional world, as well as seek out the cream of young design talent to join their own creative teams.

Opening night culminated with awards being meted out to the university’s most outstanding students across the board, ensuring that individual excellence doesn’t just go unnoticed, but is also given the spotlight it deserves. 

From the 2nd to the 4th of December however, the AOD Graduate Exhibition is open to one and all. A highlight of the annual Sri Lanka Design Festival, this year’s edition of the AOD graduate showcase features the innovative, dynamic, and exciting new work of 100+ young creatives from across all BA design disciples of the university: Fashion & Textile Design, Fashion Design & Marketing, Interior Architecture Design, Graphics & Visual Communications Design, and Motion Graphics & Animation Design – all of which are affiliated with Northumbria University, UK. Additionally, this year’s ‘Panoramically new, panoramically local, design lokayak’ festival theme emboldens the unfolding of a New Local identity, one that is centred around the concept of embracing traditional culture, design, arts, and crafts while also incorporating an international and contemporary focus in design. With students’ final year projects too stimulating a panoramic view of the broad creative landscape of Sri Lanka; this catalyses conversations and discourse around accelerating localism as a means to both celebrate our cultural potential as well as sustain global economies. The three-day fete also hosts an exciting series of creative workshops, film screenings, and an extremely popular design market – reflecting the multidisciplinary offering at the country’s pioneering design institution.

Every year, a large part of the exhibition’s goal is to boost employability for those about to graduate, by giving students invaluable exposure through this opportunity to exhibit, discuss, and advocate for their work as budding professional creative practitioners. Proudly displaying an increasingly rich and diverse body of applied work, these student showcases however, are more than just a pretty face – with many projects attempting to tackle some of the most pressing global challenges of our times. 

As part of its overarching vision to inspire the next generation of positively impactful global thinkers and change-makers, at AOD, students are constantly challenged to explore the intersections between design and responsibility, and reflect on their individual societal roles as creative professionals and problem-solving citizens of the world. The AOD Grad Exhibition attendees will also be able to view design and entrepreneurship as a force for positive change and how a multidisciplinary education can in fact direct creative curiosity toward empathy and social consciousness.

Additionally, visitors are given the opportunity to not just experience the force of design in its element, but prospective students can also take up the opportunity to engage with AOD’s graduating cohorts, mingle with its alumni community and lecturers, participate in insightful creative workshops, or even just explore the impressive and stimulating campus.

The Academy of Design extends an open invitation to O/L and A/L graduates looking to pursue a career in design, creative enthusiasts, and members of the public for the final day of its Graduate Exhibition (from 9am to 5pm at CIT) – to experience first-hand the wealth of emerging creative talent and 360 degrees of panoramically new design and innovation. For more information on AOD’s Graduate Design Showcase reach AOD at 0775727772 / or visit to register now.