The Academy of Design celebrates long-term partnership with University of the Year 2022 – Northumbria University UK

Pro Vice-Chancellor - Professor Jon Reast tours university, meets with the
graduating class of 2022

The Academy of Design (AOD) recently welcomed to its campus Northumbria University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jon Reast – the visit exemplifying the long-standing synergistic partnership between the two leading design institutions. This visit also comes in light of Northumbria University, Newcastle being awarded the title of University of the Year 2022 at the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

Widely recognised as the 'Oscars of higher education,' the monumental win recognises exceptional performance, as well as bold, imaginative, and innovative initiatives that have advanced a higher education institution’s reputation during the academic year 2020/21.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor toured AOD on Friday 25th November, and met with faculty, students, and members of staff on his visit to the region. During the tour, Prof. Reast was able to witness firsthand the work of final-year graduates across all design departments, who in turn acquainted him with their portfolios of dynamic, inspiring, and socially conscious projects.

A veteran in the UK university sector with over 25 years of experience, Prof. Reast joined Northumbria University as Pro Vice-Chancellor for International in October 2015, having workedfor three Triple Crown UK Business Schools previously. On his visit to AOD’s campus at the iconic Colombo Innovation Tower (CIT), Prof. Reast was able to affirm the design institution’s A-grade infrastructure and facilities, and also bestow students with valuable insight on how the conscious implementation of high-caliber design education can play a pivotal role in not just address 21st-century challenges, but also carve out an indispensable niche in the increasingly design-led global future.

As the country’s pioneering design educator, AOD has prioritised the fostering of reputable international partnerships –such as its collaboration with Northumbria University- with the aim to provide each member of its diverse student body with a globally-ranked and well-rounded global design degree from closer to home (with the additional financial advantage of saving on the cost of studying in the UK). However, students are also afforded the option of completing their degrees in Newcastle, UK, following two years of study at the AOD campus in Colombo – making an international career in design even more within reach.

It can be said that one of the most important aspects of a partnership's endurance is an alliance of ideas and goals. “It is through partnerships like this that both institutions can develop and thrive in a global world and realise their vision,” said Prof. Reast on the common goals tying the two trailblazing design universities together. “It is a vision built on creating the kind of designers who can benefit industry, business, and commerce.”

“Northumbria’s historical roots as a technical university and AOD’s entrepreneurial DNA complement one another and have helped us develop a futuristic, business-friendly, and innovation-driven curriculum,” he added.

While addressing AOD’s graduating batch, Prof. Reast also paid tribute to the global community of 216,000 graduates across over 176 countries from this year alone, and acknowledged the “years of accumulated success in national and international awards and competitions” with “our award-winning graduates working around the world at organisations including Apple, Amnesty International, BBC, Marks & Spencer, Pixar, Oxfam, Tom Ford, Givency, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Nike, and many more.”

What makes this collaboration truly unparalelled however, is that of Northumbria’s University’s 17 global partner institutions, AOD is the only one offering design-centred curricula, providing students from the region with not just an exemplary international design education, but now, also an opportunity to learn from the faculty and syllabus approved by the 2022 University of the Year.

All three-year full-time undergraduate programmes from AOD are affiliated with Northumbria University, UK, including the BA (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design, BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Marketing, BA (Hons) Interior Architecture Design, BA (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communication Design, and the BA (Hons) Motion Graphics & Animation Design – each degree tuned to the pulse of the fast-evolving state of the global workplace. 

“External engagement with real-world issues ensures that Northumbria’s curricula are always relevant, our ideas drive change, and our students graduate to become highly successful designers and communicators,” said Prof. Reast.

With its ever-increasing portfolio of successful alumni, AOD has demonstrated that partnerships such as this, work; be it in terms of curriculum development, collaborative research, international learning and showcase opportunities, student exchange programs, or even just building cultural awareness. Through forging and maintaining the Northumbria University, UK collaboration too, AOD is proving yet again that the development and career security of its students will always be top priority.

Sunday Times Article

AOD invites all design-inclined O/L and A/L graduates to learn more about AOD and its Northumbria University-accredited undergraduate degrees, and how they too can benefit from a global award-winning education. For more information please contact AOD on 0775727772, email or walk in between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R. A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo