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Three VCUarts Qatar professors get prestigious US CIDA award

Three VCUarts Qatar professors
get prestigious US CIDA award

Tribune News Network
THREE professors from the Interior Design programme at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in Education City have received a merit award from the US Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) for their entry, ‘Meta Studio’.
Professors Johan Granberg, Mohammad Suleiman and Haithem El Hammali were given the award at a ceremony at the Interior Design Educators Council Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the second CIDA award that the department has won, with the previous project titled: “Exploring Space through the Lens—Production Design.”
The award recognises and celebrates outstanding practices that advance the cause of excellence in interior design education. CIDA is an independent, non-profit, accrediting organisation responsible for setting standards and evaluating degree-granting interior design programmes. There are 179 CIDA-accredited programmes in the US, Canada, Qatar and the UAE.
The basis for Meta Studio was: “How do we turn good students into good designers?” With that in mind, the professors decided that Meta Studio would combine three Interior Design classes (Design Studio, Materials, and Graphics) into one interconnected unit with a number of aims. The aims included breaking educational silos, encouraging students to synthesise increased complexity; balancing their schedules; utilising, coordinating and creating a cohesive and holistic learning environment based on design practice.
“We plotted out all the projects that we were going to cover and we correlated them with the themes of the week that we were going to have during the entire semester, so in a sense it was more project driven”, said Assistant Professor Mohammad Suleiman.
The schedule and matrix were designed to provide a flexible and collaborative structure. The schedule was kept live and evolved throughout the semester. This provided opportunities for real-time calibration, flexibility, and adaptability to address learning deficiencies. The course matrix also helped manage a coordinated and synchronised sequencing of deadlines and breathing space for students.
“It really helped me to look at my project more in-depth and really understand the kind of space and feel I’m creating,” said student Yasamin Shaikhi.
The studio was a partnership consisting of faculty and staff from the university’s Library, Materials Library, Writing Center, Wood Shop Fabrication Lab and Graphic Design department.
In an ongoing dialogue, the Meta Team helped plan and provide the students with feedback, including asking questions such as whether the students utilising the libraries or the wood shop, and whether any students were struggling with their writing.