This has been a truly unprecedented year in terms of disruption, togetherness, resilience and creativity. We’ve faced strike action in the first two terms of study followed by the extraordinary and rapid escalation of COVID-19 that saw all of our teaching switch to online delivery in the space of a single week. Despite these challenges our students have produced a wealth of excellent work showcased, for the first time, through an online exhibition that is testament to the achievements, agility and adaptability of students and staff.
The year has been characterised by activism and a determination to create meaningful and lasting change. Initially, through a focus on the sustainable development agenda with our ‘Future We Want’ initiative; this has continued more recently through events supporting gender equality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
COVID-19 has highlighted inequalities inherent across all aspects of education. These include, for example, students with limited access to space, time and technologies required to support online learning. Our international students, those with caring responsibilities and all those affected by COVID-19 have demonstrated truly extraordinary resilience and determination to complete their studies and gain their academic qualifications.
This year has seen valued colleagues move on to different challenges and new colleagues have joined to help us shape and define the next chapter for the disciplines of architecture and design. Our new colleagues have been instrumental in supporting rapid change and adaptability in engaging with the challenges we have faced and in shaping the future directions of our courses.
Our students are our future. Each year they pursue projects at the foreground of current social and political discourses. These include, for example, the complex interrelated challenges of sustainable development, political polarisation, mental health, the criminal justice system, education, gender equality, national identity, faith, COVID-19 and the choreography of social distancing. We are proud of their achievements and confident they are prepared to overcome the unpredictable challenges they will undoubtedly face.
Please join us in congratulating them on their achievements and we welcome you to the first School of Architecture and Design Online End of Year Show, a testament to the achievements, agility and adaptability of our students and staff.
Below is a short message from our Vice-Chancellor Debra Humphris.