BE OPEN to Create a Design Institute Ranking That Stretches to the Four Corners of the World

BE OPEN, the global philanthropic foundation, is launching a new initiative as part of its education strand, Inside the Academy.

Having researched and released a ranking of secondary education across Europe (September 2013), the foundation is now undertaking a global survey to compare offerings at design institutes worldwide, as part of its ongoing commitment to creative education.

“The report will become an essential tool for design students”, says Roberto Zancan, Professor of History and Theory of Environmental Design and curator of Inside the Academy. “In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of experimental and new approaches to teaching design, architecture and art, both inside and outside of traditional academic institutions. Our ranking will help students discover these ‘alternative’ courses and choose the learning environment that works best for them.”

The ranking will highlight an institution’s strengths in its teaching of creativity and design, offering an in-depth analysis and understanding of programmes that range from product to graphic design, interaction design to fashion, urban design to architecture and landscape architecture to design history, theory and criticism.

George Blacklock, Dean of Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, says of the ranking:
“Having more insight into design courses around the world is of increasing importance as colleges start to compete globally to provide studying opportunities. Being able to seek out the specific course you want, in a particular country, would be immensely helpful in selecting exactly the right place for you to study. BE OPENs’ approach offers us the potential to change the way we study and think about studying.”

Through the ranking, the Foundation will be able to identify institutes and educational courses that can benefit from its support in creating new programmes and master classes for pioneering creative work. Inside the Academy will create connections between design academies and scientific programs, research laboratories, high-tech and innovative companies to generate fresh perspectives and, potentially, new business concepts, another fundamental part of the Foundation’s work.

BE OPEN’s support will prioritize outsider institutions and emerging programs that encourage open, experimental and hybrid design processes, or those that are creating new services, products and social infrastructures. Design, arts and craft projects will be used to animate seminars, workshops, studios and collective public events dedicated to producing excellence and to solving social problems.

The BE OPEN ranking system was launched at a conference at Chelsea College of Art & Design in June 2013, where details of the foundation’s Inside the Academy programe were revealed.