Design Futures – a symposium that connected graduates and alumni around the future of work.

At the end of a year full of COVID-fuelled change and upheaval, a team of Communication Design staff presented an inaugural symposium aimed at graduating students. The 1 day event – Design Futures – assembled, and presented, a variety of professional design approaches to practices experienced by our alumni – students who have completed our programme and are now working in the industry.


Times have never been bleaker for our graduating communication designers. Unofficial attempts at monitoring graduate employment outcomes lead us to believe that over the past 12 years most of our graduates (over 80%) have found design-related work within 18 months of graduation. More formal surveys produced by Otago Polytechnic support these figures. However in 2020 we acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic had reduced opportunities for travel, and had created an employment-averse industry.


Design Futures took place aver six hours, on November 19 2020, the day of our end of year graduate exhibition opening. Our first Design Futures symposium gathered graduates and alumni for a day of presentations, panels and lightening portfolio presentations. Event branding and collateral were developed by a senior graduation student, Max Thompson. A number of student volunteers helped Max with the event production, including managing registration and event signage, audio and photographic recording of the event and ushering speakers and attendees.


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