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Audrey Bardwell - The Open College of the Arts

To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

Audrey Bardwell

Originally from the US, I’ve been involved in online interior design education here in the UK for the past 3 years. I am an avid fan of the opportunities and challenges online design learning offers students. Disciplined and talented students are given the opportunity to explore their creativity and passion in open, accessible, and exciting new ways, and I love watching students’ successes unfold.

My background is in architecture, earning a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mississippi State University. I spent the first few years of my career working in a small, award-winning, design-focused firm in Mississippi. It was here that I worked from a supporting architectural intern to a designer leading projects. It was also within this role that I became much more focused on the interiors side of spatial design. Projects that I worked on ranged from restaurant/cafe design, mixed-use developments, historic renovations, to corporate data centres. Each of the projects provided exceptional experience in understanding the role of context, concepts, materials, and technical design within an interior environment. Interior spaces have a profound impact on their users, and they require conscientious attention towards each of these elements to ensure that impact is a positive one. It is what makes this profession so challenging and so very rewarding.

Equally, I have always found myself drawn to the education side of design. I am committed to facilitating others’ discovery of design, knowing that my own experience in design school was eye-opening, creating a shift in my own mindset that filtered through all aspects of my life, not just my career. Both at university and in my early career, I have been involved in design education. I previously worked at an intensive workshop for incoming university students looking for a taste of what design school would be like, I worked at an after school program geared towards 8-12 year olds being introduced to various aspects of design for the first, and I coordinated firm tours and events for recent graduates entering the professional community.

I eventually moved away from practice, exclusively towards teaching and education, when I became a teaching assistant at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Here, I helped with curriculum development, studio critiques, and software instruction for their foundation program which fed the interior design, architecture, and landscape architecture degrees.

Since moving to the UK in 2016, I have continued to be involved in design education. However, now I have focused on teaching online. I have had the pleasure of working with students across five continents with the widest variety of backgrounds and talents I could have imagined. I am excited by the opportunities that OCA offers in allowing even more students to discover and engage with an enlightening and stimulating design education.

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