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Media and communication industries worldwide have seen exponential change due to technological developments, and Pakistan is no stranger to this evolution. While transforming the existing industries, the changes have also opened up new opportunities for design practice and its application, design research and design discourse. Communication Design programs are now seeing a surge in interest from students and the software industry, interactive media, the service industry, the development sector etc. Design Education needs to respond to these changes in order to enable students to be active participants and shapers of the evolving and expanding landscapes.
However, the current design education system is severely impeded by a shortage of funds, poor facilities and physical resources on the one hand, and the lack of orientation towards research and innovation on the other.
In response to this gap, the Dept. of Communication Design, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) proposed a program: Critical Design Education & Practice, to facilitate a more critically oriented research and creative practice in Communication Design education in Pakistan. The proposal was accepted by the US – PAKISTAN UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS GRANTS PROGRAM 2020-23, funded by the U.S. Mission to Pakistan and administered by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) and the the Department was awarded a second grant.
The previous grant focused on pedagogy and curriculum development, and included student and faculty exchange and other activities with the grant partner, KSU (formerly Southern Polytechnic State University). The grant also included a collaboration with the International Design Communication Association (DCA), an international conference that enabled several design educators and practitioners to present and publish their work. The goal of the current Grant was to facilitate dissemination of knowledge acquired by recipients of the previous grant to new local partners. IVS faculty and alumni led the various activities over a period of one year while faculty members from Kennesaw State University (KSU), the partners from the previous grant, were also part of the activities.
The current program comprised 3 key activities.
1) Uraan | To Soar – Curriculum Development Training
2) Justuju | To Pursue –Faculty Development Program
3) Khoj | To Seek – Design Research Grants
Through the year-long association IVS forged new partnerships with their local partners and paved the way for a stronger ecosystem for the growth of design and design education in Pakistan.
Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) is a degree awarding institute founded in 1990. Its curricula are designed to nurture creativity, teach responsibility for social, economic and political problems, and train students to apply their expertise towards sustainable solutions. Its academic program includes bachelors’ in Architecture, Communication Design, Textile Design, Interior design and Fine Art as well as an M.phil in Art and Design.
The Department of Communication Design offers a four-year transdisciplinary and multi-pronged programme in communication, media, and interaction design. A commitment to research, analysis, innovation, and creativity underpins an integrated approach to design. The department is committed to social and cultural engagement through academic offerings as well as teaching and learning activities. The Department offers three majors in Graphic Design, Media Design and Interaction Design.
ACIAC is a non-profit institution with the aim of making art and design education accessible to a large section of society. It is amongst the pioneering institutes of art and design education in Karachi, offering diplomas in Fine Arts, Graphic Design and Textile Design. Affiliated with the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi, it has produced some of the leading artists and designers of the country who have made a significant contribution to the cultural life of the city and nation. The 4 year diploma in Graphic Design offers courses in Web Design, Digital Animation, Multimedia Advertising Illustration and Poster & Logo Designing.
Karachi School of Art (KSA) was founded in 1964 by Rabia Zuberi and was the first academic school of art in Karachi and Pakistan established in the private sector. Ever since its inception, KSA has graduated over 4000 professionals in the field of art and design who have contributed to and greatly benefited the creative industry over the past 40 years. The Communication Design Department at KSA offers a program covering print media, publishing and direct marketing. Courses are designed to equip students with critical, creative and analytical knowledge in order to provide a range of career options in the field of graphic design and print media. The courses are taught not only to transfer latest state-of-the-art skills but are also tailored to broaden students horizons and provide a clear understanding of the global design industry and standards.
The Shaheed Allah Buksh Soomro University of Art, Design and Heritages, Jamshoro, Sindh, is a full fledged autonomous university in the public sector with a diverse student body from all over Pakistan. The university offers degrees in Communication and Textile Design, Fine Art and Architecture. The Department of Communication Design in SABSU offers courses in Book Illustration, Packaging, Corporate Identity, Web and Multimedia Design, and Advertising for Print and Electronic Media, with focus on production and marketing techniques.
The Islamia University of Bahawalpur is a public sector university in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, established by His Highness Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi – V as the Jamia Abbasia in 1925. The university currently has 129 departments offering more than 300 disciplines. UCAD offers various specializations in Fine Arts and Design to develop the creative abilities, skills and potentials of each individual student as an artist and designer. The Department of Design encourages students to seek education and work experience opportunities either through contact with the local community, related professional companies or other institutions and business organizations.