A landmark event on the Canberra calendar, the University of Canberra Open Day is something that senior school students across the ACT and surrounds look forward to each year.
In 2020, the event is being held online as part of a Virtual Open Day and it isn’t just students who are keen to get involved.
UC staff, including Discipline Lead and Lecturer of Interior Architecture Lyn Norton, are gearing up for Saturday 22 August when they’ll present to future students via the virtual Open Day hub.
Lyn knows what it’s like to be faced with the overwhelming options of university courses. Not so long ago, she was selecting her Bachelor of Architecture and Interior Architecture course.
That’s why now, she wants to help those who are also unsure of the path they’ll take.
“Although it was quite some time ago, I remember the Open Day I attended before starting my degree,” Lyn says.
“I do remember how unbelievably generous the staff and students were with their time and advice. I remember talking to Ann Cleary – who is still on our staff today – about opportunities within the built environment industry and where the degree could take me.”
“There was no question walking away from the Open Day experience what I wanted to study!”
Following her graduation, Lyn began working for herself on architectural projects, as well as across large and small architecture firms.
It was during that time that she began to think about how she could share her experiences in the industry.
“It was a gradual transition from student to staff, but one that felt really positive,” she says.
“I was very honoured to come back after my studies to impart my experience to young fresh students, especially as my career trajectory showed a different approach.”
With the announcement of the virtual Open Day, Lyn knew that UC would be well-prepared to deliver what future students needed.
Having taught throughout the COVID-19 shutdowns on campus, Lyn says that the kinks have now been ironed out and everyone is more open to the idea of living in a virtual world.
“In my experience, working virtually has taught myself and our students viable and rewarding lessons in communication and agility,” she says.
“We’ve also upskilled in virtual software, so we’re better equipped as designers to keep in touch with our clients and colleagues and can provide more ways to communicate effectively.”
“Our discipline is fast becoming a digital one, so the virtual nature of the world today does lend itself quite well to the ways in which we are beginning to work and design.”
To have the Open Day online will be no different. In fact, Lyn believes the concept has its advantages.
“Online and virtual experiences can be so much more accessible – whether that’s in the literal sense for those finding ways to travel and access the campus physically – or being able to navigate vast amounts of information easily,” she says.
“In the typical, on-campus Open Day there is so much to see and do in a short amount of time – so hopefully a virtual open day allows those who are feeling daunted by career prospects and making the ‘big decision’ to take their time and digest the information at their own pace.”
For future students considering interior architecture, Lyn created a video explaining a little about the degree:
It’s clear that Lyn hopes to continue sharing her passion for the architecture and interior architecture disciplines.
“The world of architecture is forever expanding, adapting and developing,” she says.
“We need good architects, as architecture benefits us all, and we need visionary practitioners for the the next generation of inspired designers.”
“Architecture makes up the world in which we exist, creates a platform for our lifestyles, and is both a place of dwelling and a sanctuary.”
UC’s virtual Open Day will take place on 22 August. Register here to be involved.
Words by Elly Mackay. Photo by Madeleine Wood.