Digital Print Operator / Graphic Designer, A Plus Creations Company Ltd
Master of Design
The Master of Design is a great opportunity to dig deeper into design as an academic field, says art and design alumna Manting (Mandy) Ding who came to AUT as an international student from China.
“I enjoyed learning about how to think critically about decision-making in design. I feel that my master’s research was just a start, and it had a profound influence on my future design thinking.
“What I loved about studying at AUT is that it’s a university that focuses on practical knowledge. The School of Art and Design is outstanding, and I appreciated the art and design facilities. They gave me opportunities to try out different methods, opening up more design options.”
Giving a voice to the underrepresented
For her Master of Design research, Mandy created a children’s picture book, Manting and the Emperor.
“Through illustration and storytelling I have fused a specific memory from my childhood to Hans Christian Andersen’s narrative of The Emperor’s New Clothes. By combining these two stories, a new narrative has emerged; a story about a young Asian woman, Manting, who represents me.
“Designing and illustrating this picture book made me realise that the voice of the child is often overlooked by grown-ups and that there are few heroines, and even fewer Asian heroines, depicted in fairy tales. I believe it’s vital for authors of children’s books to give a voice to the underrepresented or misrepresented groups.”
Mandy’s advice for other postgraduate students is to choose a research topic they’re passionate about. She says she is glad she followed this advice for her own master’s degree.
The support to succeed
Completing postgraduate study in a different country wasn’t always easy, Mandy admits.
“As a foreigner studying in New Zealand, the biggest challenge for me was the language. Fortunately, AUT provides language courses for students to help them study at AUT. The student learning team and my supervisor also provided invaluable support for my final essay for my master’s research.”
She appreciated the support from her supervisor throughout her studies.
“I’m grateful for the support I got from my supervisor, Sue Jowsey, who gave me lots of help for my research. She was both funny and professional, and able to explain academic content in a way that was easy to understand. Most importantly, she helped me see design creatively, critically and precisely.”