1984 SCHOOLS DESIGN AWARDS A social initiative in the ACT by DFW by the Industrial Design Council of Australia (ACT Committee)


As Chair of the ACT Committee of the IDCA for some time in the 1980s I initiated a Schools Design Awards to stimulate the integration of design thinking within the school curriculum.

With the backing of the IDCA we approached all local schools in the ACT and Queanbeyan to stimulate interest and there was a reasonable response.

We held a dinner and presentation of prizes at the Academy of Science, Acton but I can’t remember who presented them and I have no photos of the occasion that I can find, other than the SDP folders shown here.

I have no evidence that it served to integrate Art with Industrial Arts in the school curriculum but at least there seems to have been a move toward re-naming the latter to Design and Technology which may be a sign of change. I would like to think that this program helped to stimulate changes in the right direction but the curriculum proved to be a very hard nut to crack as ‘design’, being so omni-present, almost invisible and hard to define. It also seems to resist change as presented from outside the educational walls and constrained by those who teach the teachers who have little experience of what design is all about.

I can only think that change will only come about through bodies like the IDCA with the experience and the clout to show its relevance to modern life and society. At least we tried.