Introduction of Schools and Departments

School of Design

The design disciplines in Nanjing University of the Arts boast a long history and can be traced back to the department of Artisanship design created by Shanghai Fine Arts School in 1920 and the earliest printing and plate-making major and the first animation major in China created by Suzhou Fine Arts School in 1940. In 1952, Shanghai Fine Arts School, Suzhou Fine Arts School and the Fine Arts Department of Shandong University were consolidated into East China Fine Arts School. In 1957, Decorative Design and Textile Arts was set up as a major in East China Fine Arts School. In 1981, Nanjing University of the Arts established the Department of Arts and Crafts having an independent organizational structure, renamed it into Design Department in 1996 and the School of Design in 1999. Chen Zhifu (Mr.) and Zhang Daoyi (Mr.), well-known educators in arts and crafts, constructed the educational philosophy and academic norms for the design disciplines in Nanjing University of the Arts. Bao Bin, Feng Jianqin, Wu Shan and Xi Chuanji made effective contributions to the development of majors and the improvement and reform of the teaching modes of the school.

Currently, the School of Design has 3 second-level disciplines, namely Art Design (including graphic design, media and graphic design, landscape design, interior design, public art and comprehensive design, modern pottery, modern lacquer art, modern jewelry, textile design and fiber art), Design Science and Clothing Engineering and Design (including Clothing Design and Fashion Show); the right to grant MDA (master of design arts) degree and 22 research directions, the right to grant MFA degree and that to grant degrees to in-service teachers of colleges and universities who are studying a master’s program; the right to grant DDA (doctor of design arts) degree and 15 research directions; and post-doctoral research centers. Besides, it has more than 2,100 active undergraduates and over 300 full-time postgraduates and Ph.D. candidates.

The school faculty, known as an excellent academic group in the Qing Lan Project in Jiangsu Province, is featured by a high level of teaching, a strong capacity of scientific researches and excellent design achievements. More than 30 persons have won a number of national and provincial honorary titles and commendations. Currently, it has more than 85 full-time teachers and 7 part-time teachers, of which 20 are professors, 22 are associate professors, 7 are supervisors for Ph.D. candidates and 30 are supervisors for postgraduates. Of the school teachers, 22 are with a doctor’s degree and obtained different credentials in more than 30 well-known domestic and foreign colleges and universities. Meanwhile, the school hires more than 10 famous domestic and foreign experts and scholars as visiting professors.

The School of Design has made fruitful achievements in discipline construction and scientific researches. Art Design Courses Innovation Experimental Area under the Credit System has been selected as a national experimental area for the cultivation of creative talents; the major of Art Design has been selected as one of the national special discipline construction subjects, national experimental area for the innovation of the talent cultivation patterns and a brand major in Jiangsu Province; Design Arts has been selected as one of the key disciplines in Jiangsu Province; modern crafts lab has been selected as provincial demonstration center of experimental teaching of elementary courses. Academic monograph entitled On the Design of Traditional Chinese Utensils (4 books) won the first National Book Award-Government. A great number of other books and research findings have won the prize for excellent philosophy and social science achievements in Jiangsu Province. More than 30 scientific research projects, including “on traditional Chinese design ideas” and “design values”, have been selected as national and provincial projects and financed by the state and Jiangsu Province. Besides, the School of Design has also edited and published academic series, such as Forum of Design Studies, Study on Design Education, and the periodical New Graphic. Besides the known research findings and academic achievements, it has achieved initial results in a lot more fields and disciplines, mainly including design research methodology, comparative study of the arts and crafts protection policies in China and Britain, design and cultural studies, research of design education, the history of the modern arts and crafts, research of the history of jewelry art, research of design fundamentals education, research of the Chinese characters art design, minorities original ceramics field survey, traditional and modern graphic design research, public poster design research, natural dyes and hand-dyeing research, stage costume design research, etc., gaining an academic advantage. Attaching great importance to design theories and practice has become the conscious choice of teachers’ and a universal phenomenon in the School of Design.

The school has been active in carrying out teaching reform and course experiments. It has adopted the credit system, under which the students will have to study fundamental courses for one year before pursuing their specific professional directions in the following 3 years while studying elective courses for a certain amount of credit hours. Thanks to the special attention it has paid to the reorganization of its course structure and the integration and analysis of teaching contents, as well as its constant original project design and assignments, the school has made noteworthy achievements for the design education circles of China. Design fundamental courses have been selected as national excellent courses and the course of Design History has been selected as one of the excellent courses in Jiangsu Province. Colors has been selected as one of the excellent teaching materials in Jiangsu Province and Introduction to the Computer Multimedia Art has been selected as an excellent teaching material for regular educational institutions of higher learning by the Ministry of Education. In addition, more than 10 teaching materials have been selected into those for the Eleventh Five-year Plan of the regular educational institutions of higher learning by the Ministry of Education.

The school has made great efforts to follow international development trends of art education and vigorously carried out foreign exchange activities. In recent years, it has carried out a series of design-related teaching activities with well-known foreign design colleges and universities, including No War & No Violence, Water-the Source of Life, Renovation of Ancient Buildings and Coexistence of Characters. Besides, it has carried out teaching activities in more than 20 themed studios, invited a number of foreign designers to hold exhibitions and give lectures, sent middle-aged and young teachers to go abroad for advanced studies, and organized teachers to go abroad for inspection and cultural exchanges. Highly-intensified foreign teaching communications and foreign teachers’ studio courses have enabled it to keep its design of disciplines and teaching methods at an advanced level as those in foreign countries.

The school has always attached great importance to design practice and social services. Works of its students and teachers have won a number of prizes in major domestic and foreign design competitions. For example, works of its students and teachers won the Golden Medal in the 10th and 11th China National Fine Arts Exhibition in a row; the number of works of its students and teachers selected by the 11th China National Fine Arts Exhibition ranked No. 1 in China, though the school is simply a secondary teaching unit. The tentative design of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony and that of Beijing Olympic Theme Park won the Honorable Mention of the Organizing Committee of the 11th China National Fine Arts Exhibition. Under the arrangements of the school, its students and teachers have been active in national and local economic and cultural construction and designed a great number of works, including the design of the Runyang Bridge and Sutong Bridge exhibition halls, the art furnishings in Jinling Resort, the Purple Palace, Shanghai Jin Mao Tower and a great number 5-star hotels, the wall paintings and design of furnishings in Ningbo International Conference & Exhibition Center, Nanjing subway stations and Yuejiang Tower, as well as the design of the visual images of the 6th China Art Festival and the 10th National Games of China, most of which have been awarded a tender or won prizes in a variety of significant projects.

Taking Deng Xiaoping's "education for the modernization, for the world and for the future" as the basis of its discipline development and educational activities, Nanjing University of the Art School of Design has formed the basic pattern of "carrying forward the history while launching reforms and making innovations, focusing on both theoretical studies and design practices, and integrating modern arts and crafts with modern design" and has made unremitting efforts so as to achieve the objective of "cultivating high-quality talents each with a solid professional foundation, integrated capabilities and a creative spirit".

When it comes to design education, Nanjing University of the Arts has its distinctive value orientation and sense of honor. Inspired by the motto of "Grandeur and Simplicity, Profundity and Beauty" and in the long-term practice, Nanjing University of the Arts has done researches on educational sciences and the course reform based on its pursuit of the truth and its experimental spirit, carrying out theoretical researches with an introspective attitude and critical thinking, treating design with an artistic attitude, expanding its creativity with the spirit of seeking differences, and dealing with forms in poetic ways, showing unique humanistic features and a good artistic atmosphere.

The design education provided by the School of Design reflects its in-depth and scientific understanding of the education of design for college students and combines art qualities with design practice, creative thinking and skill training, concept courses and social programs in an organic manner. The School of Design believes that “majors” in the school are different from “trades” in the society, that teaching programs do not necessarily correspond to commodities on the market, that the advantages of Nanjing University of the Arts in basic teaching and theoretical researches should be made full use of to improve its level of professional teaching and design practice, and that the mission of art design education has always been making knowledge innovations and moving forward. Therefore, it has always placed the master of learning methods and the acquisition of integrated capabilities at an important position, and viewed the cultivation of an experimental attitude and a creative spirit as the fundamental objective of its teaching, believing that it should introduce the true methods of learning knowledge to its students so as to cultivate their artistic temperament and help them learn those knowledge hard to be learned in the classroom or after graduation and exploit their own potential for sustainable development.

By making active use of its advantages as an integrated school of arts with multiple disciplines, the School of Design actively absorbs and integrates such expressing methods and formal languages as literature, film, music, dance and the media before getting the styles and results with marginal colors and integrated forms. It proposes to learn from the theoretical models and research methods of architectonics, get inspirations from the high-logical studies of architectonics, achieve intellectual development from the studies of the construction culture, parametric design methods, image architectonics and conceptual design, and get access to inspirations of technical games from the methods of designing basic teaching projects. It stands for combining the psychological wisdom reflected by the positive contemporary art with the mentality of seeking differences, as well as creative thinking and design methods so as to equip its design, teaching and researches with a broader contemporary vision and a global cultural background.

More themed design teaching activities will be launched taking particular cultural themes as the breakthroughs. Integration of creativity, basis, materials, media and theories will be achieved using method derivation and clue interpretation. Cross-disciplinary transposition and mergence of design and design representation will be carried out so as to get new styles and forms. The School of Design will actively carry out experimental design teaching, focus on the design of concepts with its own characteristics, make avant-guard, future and “inverse” designs, and highlight the adoption of meaning, context, symbolism, symbols, metaphors and other techniques so as to experience limitless creative ideas and the gameplay of forms.

Design teaching and practice proposes to appropriately blur the boundary between design art and “pure arts”, narrow down the distance between modern crafts and art design, break the estrangement between dynamic and static states, plane surface and tridimensionality and among spaces, and integrate the effects of digital media and a variety of materials, media and techniques, and highlights the intersection and mergence of theoretical discussion, text writing, the design process and creative planning.

Based on the existing achievements and advantages, Nanjing University of the Arts School of Design will continue improving itself, cultivate new professional directions, and further enhance its teaching quality and the academic level of its postgraduate education so as to make greater achievements to welcome its 30th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of Nanjing University of the Arts.