I designed the logo of DECA to symbolise the many areas of knowledge we have developed, ever expanding due to our human ability to reason from the dawn of our creation. The black circle represents the design process – a gathering together of selections of many of these knowledge skills for particular purposes, integrating them into a unified functional and visually elegant whole for human benefit. The ‘hole’ in the centre may be taken as a euphemism for a ‘holistic‘ solution arising from a thorough consideration of the true needs.The logo was hand drawn without use of the now ubiquitous computers and their remarkable precision.

Along with Noeline Naar, Lola de Mar, Ray Green, Arthur Robinson, Ilona Lasmanis, Judy Parker and others I was one of the founders of DECA in Canberra in 1983. We all felt a deep concern for the way art was taught in secondary education and in particular its relationship to the subject of Industrial Arts or as it is now variously called – Design and Technology.

Our view was that a deeper and more fundamental body of knowledge – that of Design – was of equal importance in everybody’s life skills which underlie the teaching of art and the manu et mente of the Industrial Arts.

The very nature of design is that of the design process – the way in which design is an integrator of the many arts of living, the way we solve problems of creating our artifacts to satisfy our needs – the process of designing which is deeply embodied but perhaps not fully realised in almost every human. This is a skill way beyond the tools of literacy and numeracy which have predominated in our educational system for centuries, prior to the awareness of the process of developing and improving creative skills.

It is the development and integration of these many creative skills that design can accomplish once awareness of its potential becomes better known.

Specialisation is still rampant in education, partly because of its pragmatic conveniences in education but its consequences make us overlook its manifold advantages of integration – which design can achieve in the right hands.

Everybody can be a designer at many levels and there are innumerable joys in so doing – surely we have a responsibility to pass on this knowledge to our children ?

The 1986 DECA Conference sign which I designed, made and erected outside the old Griffith Primary School where the conference was held.
The 1986 DECA Conference sign which I designed, made and erected outside the old Griffith Primary School where the conference was held.

The ACT group who inaugurated DECA as hopefully a national body organised a conference with a speaker from the UK (name escapes me), Tony Russell from Perth and many teachers from the Art and Industrial Arts segments in the ACT attended.

Several of us gave papers on the ubiquitous nature of design and its deep relevance to our lives.

A NSW group was formed, agreeing to take over the running of DECA from Sydney (and then around the states) but unfortunately they lacked the enthusiasm and it just evaporated.

The demands of climate change and our move to Mawson in 1991 absorbed my attention from then on.