Natalie Barker | The Open College of the Arts

Natalie Barker

Hello…. I am Natalie, an Interior Designer based in the New Forest, I am also a tutor on the Interior Design Degree Course.

After relishing my initial explorations into design through courses in Interior Decoration and Art and Design, I eventually graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2006 with a BA Hons Degree in Interior Design. After graduating, I took the opportunity to relocate from Manchester to London and immersed myself into the ever-evolving world of design.

I found my first break into the industry by joining a start-up design company. Working as part of a small team gave me a comprehensive insight into the diverse creative opportunities and challenges the interior design sector can offer. Thrown straight into the deep end, I gained invaluable experience navigating my way through residential, retail and workplace design projects.

After a few years, I achieved my goal of launching my own design studio, Natalie Barker & Co. with a focus on creating authentic client relationships in order to deliver tailored design solutions. Through running my studio, I have pitched and won multiple large-scale high-end design projects, managed a team of freelance designers and worked with architects, contractors and project managers to design and deliver bespoke interiors within exacting timelines. I have also made it a personal priority to share my design opportunities with new graduates, by offering mentoring partnerships through guided work-based practice.

I have balanced my design career in tandem with teaching posts and become an experienced interior design educator. Throughout my teaching career, I have developed a strong association with online learning, starting out as an Interior Design Tutor through the blended learning mode of study and eventually becoming Course Leader for an online Interior Design course. It was through this later post that I was able to explore the unique nature of online learning in greater depth by directing the conceptual design, academic development and launch of an online Foundation Degree in Interior Design for KLC School of Design. This work achieve validation via the University of Brighton and received the ‘Breakthrough in Course Design and Delivery’ Award from the Independent Higher Education Organisation.

Aside from my design work, I continue to be a Guest Lecturer at KLC School of Design. I have also busied myself with personal design projects such as the restoration of a 150-year-old forest cottage. I am a keen vintage dance enthusiast having previously performed as part of a chorus line dance troupe. I now spend my free time social dancing, taking regular classes and attending dance events in the UK and overseas.

I am immensely passionate about interior design and take great satisfaction fostering students’ development into confident and capable designers by sharing the knowledge base I have built throughout my work. I look forward to engaging with OCA students and sharing my design experiences to support their ongoing journey.

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