AOD ushers in a new era of radical reinvention with next generation design innovators

Higher education institutions aren’t as they used to be – and they shouldn’t. Shifting student demographics, evolving disciplines, advancing technologies, and a new pandemic-centred way of life are pushing out traditional university models in favour of those that embrace responsivity, innovation, and adaptation.

The Academy of Design, the pioneering and most comprehensive design school in Sri Lanka and South Asia, has emerged unscathed into this new normal; having harnessed a proactive design-driven approach to respond to both, the demands and opportunities brought on by COVID-19 at its very early stages. Testament to this resilience, is the university’s resolve to see each student grow into sophisticated change-makers, out to make a positive contribution to their world through design. Resourcefulness powered by passion, adaptability driven by expertise, and superior problem-solving capabilities fuelled by confidence.

This year, AOD chooses to push the boundaries of design even further, but while looking inwards for inspiration. The university’s ‘We the new local’ movement is an eclectic fusion of modernity and tradition, leveraging Sri Lanka’s rich heritage, history, and culture across all design disciplines – all deserving of the global stage.

This year also marks a significant milestone for the university as it celebrates a decade-long collaboration with the Northumbria University UK; together having providing unrivalled opportunities for its students, and launched the many flourishing careers of AOD’s prominent portfolio of alumni. Owing to this powerful partnership, all BA programmes at AOD are fully accredited with the globally-ranked design specialist UK University; giving its students a 100% internal UK degree from Colombo, much vied for exposure at global showcases, access to world-known design personalities, and opportunities for enlightening international student exchange programmes.

The three-year full-time undergraduate programmes at AOD includes the BA (Hons) Fashion and Textile Design and BA (Hons) in Fashion Design and Marketing for those choosing to carve a niche for themselves at the very heart of the fashion industry. For a profession that has withstood the tests of time, a BA (Hons) in Interior Design helps students fully grasp the evolving and expanding nature of interior design and interior architecture. Enrolling in a BA (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communication Design is the first step in claiming a space in reputedly the most versatile of career paths, where, armed with the most up-to-date information, tools, and critical thinking skills, graduates have made a difference and provided solutions in the fields of design, education, environment, fashion, marketing, publication and more. For students aspiring for a career in film, the BA (Hons) Motion Graphics and Animation Design explores and teaches how stories can be brought to life through visual effects and motion technology.

Even O/L graduates already longing to get started on their design career trajectory, have the option of signing up for the AOD’s Design Foundation programme. Here, young design aspirants will not just get an introduction into the various design disciplines, but will also develop the skills required for a tertiary education. Additionally, foundation students will be able to make a more informed decision when having to pick their undergraduate of choice.

As a multi-disciplinary design institution, AOD’s degree offering is as inclusive as its student body. At each enrolment cycle, aspiring designers line up to sign up for the university’s many programmes; from not just across the island, but from across the waters as well. A future in design is the surest path to career security, and everyone wants in.

Aside from its long-standing relationship with Northumbria UK however, AOD has also collaborated with other renowned international design institutions. AOD’s post-graduate programmes are accredited by De Montfort University, UK for instance, and both, the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA), Denmark, and Osnabrück University have formed ties with AOD to develop mutually beneficial academic and cultural exchanges.

Various local and international industry partnerships have also placed AOD students ahead of the game; be it through work-study placements with some of the country’s largest textile players, to showcases at London Fashion Week. From international study tours, to competitive global training placements. By merging design thinking with business know-how and creativity with commerce, over the years AOD graduates have recorded a 99% employment rate; translating academic opportunities to career security.

However, at the very backbone of AOD’s success as a high-calibre education provider is its star-studded cast of international faculty; each bringing to the table unique skill sets and an expansive portfolio of experience, well-versed also with the prerequisites of a technologically-driven pedagogical model.

Even the fire of creativity needs to be stoked often with an ecosystem of inspiration. At the Colombo Innovation Tower, AOD’s new address and focal point for all things innovation, students get to eat, live and breathe all things design; equipped with world-class facilities and inspirational workspaces, and with access to some of the country’s greatest design minds working at the intersection of design and tech. Also marking its presence is CIT Labs; an innovation incubator and one of a kind creative residence programme for the next generation of creative disruptors driving innovation for businesses and society across a wide spectrum of industries. This exclusively serves to expose undergraduate design students, alumni, and masters’ students to real world projects and experiences that can inform, disrupt, and even drive positive politico-social change.

AOD, with its hand always on the beating pulse of the world, is consistently creating new, innovative education models in tune to the changing tides of the future; for the betterment of its students, the design industry, society, and even economy as a whole.

AOD invites all O/L and A/L graduates and aspiring designers to learn more about AOD, its various programmes, and how all prospective students can look forward a fulfilling and secure career pathway. For more information on how to stake claim to a successful future in a burgeoning industry, reach AOD Colombo on 0775727772, email or walk in between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 4