Experienced designer Brenda Saris is a senior lecturer in the Visual Arts and Design programme at Whitireia and that only begins to describe her role. Brenda’s experience over 25 years working as an art director and graphic designer in the United Kingdom, Holland and New Zealand directly feeds into her teaching and her wide variety of roles.
"I teach across visual communication design, supervise students' major projects and get involved in collaborative papers which combine various disciplines."
Brenda researches widely in her field and was awarded the Whitireia Emerging Researcher Award at the end of 2015.
"I've recently had two journal papers published, one on branding and the other on collaboration. I compared two collaborative projects, one where students did a branding job for a restaurant and the other was an interdepartmental collaboration with Performing Arts where projected animations became part of the set design," she says.
"Students enjoyed the client interaction the most and I think that's going to be one of the great things about Te Auaha."
She describes design as a multi-faceted discipline. "To be a successful designer, you've got to be interdisciplinary, you've got to be grounded in many different areas and Te Auaha will foster that."
One group of students going into Te Auaha will be visual communication design students from Hunan City University. Whitireia has a partnership with the university to deliver course content in China before students come to Wellington for their final year in the degree. Brenda is heavily involved in the initiative and has taught in China delivering the first three papers in the programme.