Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Can’t see the Forest for the Trees….in Design and Applied Arts Higher Education? SAKIS BITIS sharply explains.
Picture above by Yiorgos Markozanis, https://www.facebook.com/yiorgos.markozanis
Athanasios (Sakis) Bitis is a Forester and Environmental expert with a Masters of Science in Educational Management and Administration . As the Vice Principal of the legendary Diplareios School in Athens ,(Vocational Institute for Tourism Administration and Computing /IT nowadays)- a landmark in 20th century Athenian Educational History of Applied Arts, also characterized by design historians as the hellenic “Bauhaus”-he also runs the Life-long Learning center of the school, creating short courses like the unique Marquetry art and craft workshop. Mr Bitis answers basic questions regarding education in Applied Arts and Crafts today… Quick-mode, wood-axe type replies -revealing bare, essential aspects and concerns.
All4design-design4all: What do you believe to be, from your experience , the most important /global problem in Applied Arts Higher Education today?
Sakis Bitis: I will focus mainly on Greece, where our educational system does not have the privilege to organize a well planned infrastructure of Professional Counseling, like in countries with High Economic Growth Rate (ex. Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Ireland).
The result of this policy is that talented citizens remained un-promoted, along with the fact that gifted youth will never exploit their fluencies and tendencies towards specific sectors.
A4D-D4A: How an educator perceives in society today, the design vocation and profession?
S.B.: The design profession has many different fields and specializations, for instance industrial design, furniture, interiors, fashion etc.
A designer conceives, designs and makes products , based on his/her original prototypes. He/she tries to combine creativity and technical knowledge in order to provide solutions for a specific use, functional and with distinctive aesthetics . A professional designer starts from a concept, creates some original first droughts, compares and suggest alternatives to the customer-commissioner, alters and readjusts the ideas according to the brief, until he/she renders the final, complete prototype, ready for (mass or limited) production. It is a personal process, as well as team work. Adequate communication and mutual understanding with others-fellow designers and technicians- are fundamental in order to complete a project and deliver the outcome on time.
A4D-D4A: Why there is such a time- lapse or even a deep gap , between the Applied Arts educational system and the actual, design working world- in many countries today?
S.B.: “Connecting academic studies with the job market”: a huge chapter, various positions have been registered on this. I read somewhere that it is almost considered disgraceful to liaise science with production necessities or academia to production standards. I clearly claim for academic curriculum and work to get interconnected, with no exclusion whatsoever of local culture: thus, meaning the Traditional Arts and Crafts. Education here in Greece was extremely theoretical and quite dated in many areas of study. The Schools, Institutes and Technical Universities of Applied Arts and Crafts that could eventually create new groups of professionals and thriving new markets – also related with the Tourism industry in the country- were driven to a downfall, with no significant role anymore. The educational system, the academic curriculum, the teaching staff, the students individual profiles and the particularities of the market – are the key factors to guarantee the transition from the academic environment to the job search and territory.
A4D-D4A: Sensorial Trend Analyst Zuzanna Skalska (www.360inspiration.nl), referred in her recent lecture under the title “Awareness of change: 5 Trends that are changing our Living & Working Landscape”(The Stage, IMM 2016, Cologne )- “to a person being rich in the future, as the one person who can make something”. How do you react to this approach?
S.B.: My personal view is identifying somehow with Zuzanna Skalska, in the following clause:
“…The citizen we will recruit at the high ranks of administration in the future, other than his academic or professional skills, he should master the craft of making something or repairing something….”
A4D-D4A: A student , who has fulfilled his/her studies in Finance- announces to you that he/she decides to change professional orientation to become a carpenter/furniture maker. What piece of advice would you give him/her?
S.B.: Follow your heart….. !!!
Thanks a million dear Sakis Bitis!
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