The role of design education is “finally being recognised” by the Government, which is to pay 40 000 per year for a Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) Centre for art and design.
“This is the one area that hasn’t been granted a CTI centre,” says Professor Robin Baker, director at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. “The Government is at last recognising the importance of design.” CTI centres in subjects such as history and economics already exist.
The Royal College of Art and De Montfort University have confirmed they are among 19 educational bodies vying to host the centre. Middlesex University, Brighton University and the London Institute are also believed to be contenders. Ravensbourne is not applying, as it lacks the network infrastructure, says Baker.
“The fact that so many institutions have responded is indicative of the enthusiasm in the design sector,” says Peter Holmes, Under-Secretary at the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.
Running and start-up costs will be paid by the Higher Education Funding Council, though the host institution will be expected to provide accommodation, overheads and staff time.
“Art and design lecturing staff throughout the UK will be able to network and advance their computer and technical skills. It’s an opportunity for the UK to enhance its teaching and learning processes,” says Holmes.
Philip Sullivan, executive head of design at De Montfort, is hoping his university will be chosen. “It’s a tremendous opportunity and we’re very enthusiastic. It’s a powerful teaching and learning tool, a focal point for art and design,” he says.
The centre will open after April, when the host institution will be chosen. Shortlisting is currently taking place and finalists will be invited to discuss proposals with the selection committee in February.