Saturday, October 22, 2011


INDEX 2011 hosted its first informative workshop in World Trade Centre. The workshop highlighted the “most common issue faced by every institution”, and their ability to connect the bridge between education and practical experience.

 Mr. Robert Reid, Panel moderator and faculty from American University of Sharjah

Mr. Mehdi Sabet, Ms.Karen Hay, Mr. Daniel Hajjar, Mr. Robert Reid (Left to Right) -
Members of the panel. Photo by Fatima Layeek.

Mr. Robert Reid, a faculty at American University of Sharjah and a practitioner moderated the workshop with distinguished panel of guests namely Mr. Mehdi Sabet, American University of Sharjah, UAE, Ms. Karen Hay, HOK Middle East & North Africa and Mr. Daniel Hajjar, Stickman Design LLC.

The panel noted that educational institutions in the Emirates pay a lot of attention on the theoretical side to education rather than making it a more practical oriented curriculum for students which affects the outcome of graduate professionals.

According to Mr. Sabet, the industry and academia is a dialogue that happens transparently, but isn’t proven to be effective as they aren’t gelled well, and have to be taught on a regional or a local level. Interior design students are encouraged to explore various avenues and not just the field of design. 

“We have to foster the creative genes in these students, thus taking up internships offer them a taste of the real world.” said Mr. Sabet.

On the same panel, Ms. Karen Hay, a full time practitioner encouraged and admitted that students should engage in work experiences and internships, as it “builds work practices among interior designing students and helps them gain a broader perspective on the dynamics in this field.”

Interior designing is an ever growing field and even with the fluctuations in the economy over the recent years, the creative fields like advertising and design have managed through it, highlighted the third member of the panel team, Mr. Daniel Hajjar.  

Another topic of discussion which generated a lot of interest from students was the statistics by IDEC that showed how 59 percent of the interior designing students lack the basic fundamental skills and the ability to sketch effectively by hand, rather than on computer software.

Ms. Hay believes that “drawing has more soul than a computer generated 3D image.” While on the same note the moderator, Mr. Reid added, “When we show a client a hand drawing, he/she feels more involved but when a 3D image is displayed they feel restricted to voice their opinions.”

Lastly, the panel of speakers stressed on students effectively being able to sketch along with constant encouragement to let the creativity flow and the ability to formulize the usage of traditional building materials. Gaining practical experience and the expertise to design is essential for students to meet their clients’ expectations in the industry.

Report by Qudsiya Siddiqui
Edited by Maria Hussain



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