ID in Saudi Arabia - Kairos Consultancy and Training

Developments in Saudi Arabia

It is an exciting time of change in Saudi Arabia. One of the key changes is the launch in 2016 of the Saudi Vision 2030 which is a comprehensive plan to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.

A major focus is to increase the employment of women to 30 percent of the workforce. This page reports on an ongoing project which oversaw the development and implementation of an Industrial Design Degree at a women’s only college in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Female university lecturers’ perceptions of their academic practice in Saudi Arabia

We were pleased to present a paper at the 6th INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC IDENTITIES CONFERENCE (IAIC) 2018. Held at The Peaceful University: aspirations for academic futures – compassion, generosity, imagination, and creation, Hiroshima University, Japan, 19 September 2018.

You can read more about our presentation and download a copy of the paper here.

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 12, Issue 4, 2018

The first part of our endeavors had now been published as an open source paper. You can read the full text here.

Abstract: This article presents a case study of cross-cultural collaboration. An Australian and a Saudi Arabian university collaboratively developed the curriculum for a bachelor of industrial design (ID) program at a women-only college of design in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This article first describes the local context for which the curriculum was developed with a focus on how gender segregation shapes education and workplace in the KSA. Next, the literature review discusses cross-cultural aspects of design and contemporary ID education. We highlight the main results of a benchmarking exercise of current undergraduate ID curricula worldwide that we conducted before describing the planning process for the new curriculum at the local college. We then focus on the interpretation of the curriculum from an Australian to a Saudi Arabian context and discuss constraints and complexities in its development. The article also presents a reflection of the value of the cross-cultural collaborative process, our experience, and learning for both partners, and future collaboration and research.

Postcard from Dammam, December 2017

We have recently returned from a fantastic visit to Dammam Saudi Arabia. The phrase, As-salamu alaykum, meaning “peace be upon you”, is certainly an apt reflection of our recent journey to Saudi Arabia. It is both a blessing and a welcome, an indication of the generosity and hospitality that typifies this country and its people. Our small team, consisting of Carlos Montana-Hoyos (DIDI), Elke Stracke (UC), and myself, traveled to Dammam, in South East province of Saudi Arabia, in early December 2017. Our purpose was to visit the women-only College of Design at Imam Abdul Rahman Bin Faisal University (aka University of Dammam) to conduct research on the implementation and evolution of the previously developed “Industrial Design curriculum for the first female-only Industrial Design programme in Saudi
Arabia”. Follow our story in the latest HERDSA News (Vol 40, 2, p. 19 & 21). 


We presented a poster on the project at the 2017 HERDSA conference in Sydney.

Exploring career aspirations and pathways for undergraduate design female students in Saudi Arabia

Elke Stracke, University of Canberra; Karin Oerlemans, Kairos Consultancy & Training; Carlos Montana-Hoyos, University of Canberra

You can read more about the paper here.

International Conference on Engineering and product Design Education 2016

My colleague was at the International Conference on Engineering and product Design Education, in Aalborg, Denmark, 2016, and  presented the following paper on the initial phase of our project.

Curriculum in progress: Developing an industrial design programme for female students in Saudi Arabia

Faculty of Arts and Design, Industrial Design, University of Canberra, Australia.
Faculty of Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Mathematics, TESOL, University of Canberra, Australia.


This paper discusses an Australian curriculum development project for Industrial Design (ID) female education in a Muslim country. In a first step, we provide background information about key issues relevant for this project, ranging from the interplay of curriculum development, education and culture to specific features of contemporary ID education. We present the findings of a review of current undergraduate ID curricula worldwide, used in the formation of the intended curriculum, with an emphasis on the need to integrate local industry into the curriculum and the educational experience of the female students. Then we report and discuss the implementation of an ID curriculum in two different contexts, Australia and Saudi Arabia. We conclude with a reflection on what we have learnt during the course of this project and possible next steps.

Keywords: curriculum development, female-only education, Industrial Design, Islamic context, Saudi Arabia


A full copy of the paper is available here (external site)


ID in Saudi Arabia
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