New Zealand, Dunedin, DESIS Otago, Otago Polytechnic

For Admission

Starts: 22 January, 2020
Duration :
Instructors: New Zealand, Dunedin, DESIS Otago, Otago Polytechnic
Phone :
Email :

Orokonui Ecosanctuary


City: Dunedin
Country: New Zealand
Coordinator: Caro McCaw
Lab contact: or +6421735846

Hosting institution:

Otago Polytechnic
Private Bag 1910
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Background and objectives

Otago Polytechnic is a tertiary education institution in New Zealand offering a mix of postgraduate programmes, Bachelor’s degrees and Certificate and Diploma programmes. DESIS Otago Coordinator Dr Caro McCaw is an Associate Professor in our School of Design. Our design disciplines include Communication Design, Fashion, Product Design, Food Design, Architectural Studies, Information Technology, and Engineering Technologies. We have been offering design degree programmes since 2005 and design postgraduate programmes since 2010. Our School of Design has been a member of the Cumulus network since 2007.

Otago Polytechnic has a strong organisational focus on community-centred research and on experientiallearning for students. We have incorporated sustainability into all the programmes we offer and into our own institutional practices. We have a developed a local tradition of co-design with community organisations, using social and environmental histories and contemporary experiences, and designing innovative experiences, brands and messages that live in public spaces, and sometimes as exhibitions in museum and non-museum spaces. Through these projects we are able to connect design students and researchers, in collaborative ways with citizen engagement and local storytelling.

Characteristics of DESIS Otago are:

A preference to partner with not-for-profit community organisations;
Place-based research, strongly grounded in our local environments;
A mix of short-term and multi-year projects that build long-term relationships;
An emphasis on project-based learning for our students, both undergraduate and postgraduate.
We are committed to encouraging public dissemination of design principles in projects and practice. We publish an open access peer-reviewed journal Scope: Contemporary Research Topics which has issues in Art & Design and Flexible Learning (Sustainable Practice). In 2018 we hosted New Zealand’s Design for Social Innovation Symposium.

List of projects and research


  • Caroline McCaw
  • Lesley Brooke