The Department of Industrial Design understands internationalisation in the sense of us becoming specialists of industrial design education in South Africa; by doing this well we attract international attention. With this in mind, the Department and the research of its staff members were instrumental in the Faculty being awarded the Design Society Development (DSD) Design for Society Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) Lab in 2014. This lab forms part of a network of 24 international DESIS Labs which are based at design schools and consist of groups of academics, researchers and students who orient their design and research activities towards social innovation. This association has benefited the Department from its online presence on the websites of the DSD DESIS Lab, DESIS Network and DESIS Food Cluster; and enabled research work to be internationally showcased at Cumulus conferences and exhibitions, with Cumulus Design With the Other 90% taking place in our Faculty in 2014.
In 2017 the Department of Industrial Design became an African member of the Learning Network of networks on Sustainability (LeNS), which aims to promote a new generation of designers (and design educators) capable to effectively contributing to the transition towards a sustainable society for all. The LeNS project aims to improve internationalistion, intercultural cross-fertilisation and accessibility of higher education on Design for Sustainability (DfS). The project focuses on Sustainable Product-Service Systems (S.PSS) and Distributed Economies (DE) - considering both as promising models to couple environmental protection with social equity, cohesion and economic prosperity - applied in different contexts around the world.
The Department has also been fortunate to have some of our top students travel internationally through awards for their work and research they published. But, as of the second semester of 2017 the Department of Industrial Design will have even more opportunity for our students to travel and study broadly through the award of a DAAD funded exchange programme with the Industrial Design Department at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule (OTH), Regensburg, Germany. This funding will enable semester-long exchanges of three students from each institution until the end of 2019.