Welby Ings

Welby Ings

Professor of Graphic Design
School of Art and Design

Professor Ings is a disobedient thinker. An internationally renowned speaker and educational reformer, he sees productive disobedience as behaviour that pushes our thinking and action into new and unconsidered realms. Specifically, he questions our anxious micromanaging of thought and our preoccupation with tick box assessment. In 2017, his best-selling book Disobedient Teaching became influential in the reconceptualisation of New Zealand education.

Although Professor Ings is an award-winning author, he is also a designer and director. His interest in film as a story-telling medium has seen his three short films Boy, Munted and Sparrow selected for numerous international film festivals including Cannes. Boy was shortlisted for the 2006 Academy Awards.

Professor Ings believes that scholarship is by its very nature, creative. He sees creativity as part of normal human thought. With designers its quality lies in the fact that creativity is not used to prove ‘truth’. He says “We don’t seek the truth when we design; we seek to find elegant and appropriate answers.” He does not see teaching as dissemination of knowledge, rather, it is creating an environment for learning. Effective learning, he says, involves ongoing, intelligent, disobedient acts that help to move knowledge beyond the constraints of formula.

Professor Ings completed his PhD in 2005 on the structure and profiles of narrative music videos and television commercials. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), a member of the Designers’ Institute of New Zealand, the New Zealand Screen Directors’ Guild.

In 2002, he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence and the NZ Government Award for Sustained Tertiary Teaching Excellence. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural AUT medal for his contribution to learning and research.

Professor Ings takes his position as critic and conscience of society very seriously and isn’t afraid to deal with knowledge and issues that are underrepresented. His research and design has seen him tackle the history of the culture of male prostitution, homosexual law reform, mental health and marginalised thinking.

He reviews for a number of national and international funding agencies, including Creative New Zealand. His research also covers the historical metamorphosis of underground languages, methodological approaches to creative practice in higher research degree education, the reconceptualisation of doctoral research, and the role and nature of storytelling as academic inquiry.

Professor Welby Ings’ extended academic profile