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GIDE, the Group for International Design Education was formally established in 2003 and is a unique network of eight higher education art and design institutions which evolved from an earlier inter-cultural network established in the nineties. GIDE exists to enrich the intercultural experiences of students, educators and institutions by providing opportunities for collaboration, benchmarking and knowledge exchange.








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As a network GIDE delivers intercultural workshops which brings all eight partners together with local sponsors, industry, funded and PhD researchers and creative and cultural organisations to explore the cultural, social and ethical dimensions of design.


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The GIDE workshop week operates on a February to February cycle and combines a design study trip, collaborative workshop, student-led symposium and exhibition and explores the role of design and its impact on society. place and the city. The exploratory nature of the GIDE workshops sets the creative tone for a later ‘shared project delivered across the network between September to December. Since forming in 2003 it is estimated that approximately 6,000 participants have experienced the spring semester international workshop week or subsequent shared projection the autumn semester.*

*based on a combined average of 150 participants ( i.e. students + staff) attending annual international workshop week (spring semester), and an average class of 30 students undertaking the shared project brief (autumn semester). Both the Dundee 2012 and the Mechelen 2014 workshops significantly exceeding that international workshop week average. Therefor, the total number of GIDE participants is likely to be significantly higher than this ‘approximate’ 6k average.

GIDE currently consists of eight international higher education partners from leading schools in;

  • Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee, (Scotland/UK)
  • Jiangnan University, Wuxi, (China)
  • Faculty of Design, University of Primorska, Ljubljana, (Slovenia)
  • Universidade da Madeira, Funchal (Portugal )
  • Thomas More University College Mechelen, (Belgium)
  • Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences, Magdeburg, (Germany)
  • Politecnico di Milano, (Italy)
  • SUPSI- La Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, (Switzerland)

Nominated international coordinators in each nation are responsible for evolving the network. This core team sets the activities and agendas for the network with key responsibility for strategic planning, events, exchanges and co-editorial responsibilities of annual design research publications.

A key part of the network involves inviting visiting professors as guest participants at annual workshops on regular basis. In the recent past GIDE has welcomed visiting professors from the following institutions UNTexas, College of Visual Arts (USA), Ryerson, School of Interior Design, Toronto, (Canada) and has also benefited from the creative and critical input of other schools in Europe with past GIDE members including AKV|St.Joost, School of Fine Art and Design, Breda, (Netherlands).

In addition to the annual workshop, exchanges and publications GIDE also delivers annual public exhibitions of outcomes shared projects involving up to 54 student design proposals fro 8 nations using a strict submission format. GIDE’s strategy here is to raise public awareness of the role of academic institutions in contributing to the city and in conveying the collective energy, imagination and cultural perspectives the network brings to issues in a given host city. Central to this is demonstrating the potential for design education and design thinking in contributing to the economic and cultural capital of a region. The GIDE network also celebrates the achievement of its students by publishing their work in annual e-books and/or hard copy alongside keynotes and researchers.

GIDE was formally established in 2003 to deliver dynamic intercultural experiences to a wider range of participants; in essence bringing an ERASMUS experience directly to an institutions doorstep and celebrated it’s tenth anniversary in Ljubljana in 2013. Though emerging from Interior Design / Interior Architectural network, GIDE is increasingly interdisciplinary in its character and outlook with the following disciplines engaging in the network –

  • interior design
  • interior architecture
  • industrial design
  • visual communication
  • art & interdisciplinary practice
  • 3D furniture design
  • interior & environmental design
  • digital interaction design*
  • product design*

*guest disciplines 2019

Increasingly GIDE undergraduate students in these disciplines are collaborating with PhD students, researchers , academics, industry, community groups and live clients, At a time when the disciplinary boundaries are increasingly blurring, shifting and new hybrid practices are emerging such interdisciplinary experiences are essential in preparing graduates for global markets.

GIDE aims to provide students’ with critical and transformative inter cultural learning experiences with peers and professionals from the European Union and beyond. Advantages for institutions include:

  • opportunities for ERASMUS exchanges [staff & students];
  • informal academic benchmarking
  • sharing of best practice (for academies, for students and for staff);
  • research collaboration
  • peer support
  • embracing international collaboration

The GIDE experience provides a foundation in which students’ can build future professional relationships. The workshop week, in particular, allows interdisciplinary groups new opportunities to experience some of the dynamics and challenges of team-projects, discover new ways of generating ideas, negotiate roles and responsibilities, and discover collective ways of communicating design solutions to clients and practitioners using low-fidelity materials to convey hi-fidelity thinking.

What this provides are new ways of thinking beyond the everyday creative processes, disciplinary frameworks and formalised practice typically associated with some mainstream industry. GIDE student teams are supported by a diverse range of academics, researchers and thinkers who provide guidance and encouraging teams to embrace risk and risk failure in establishing of new scenarios for contemporary living, working and enterprise.


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