Design school announces new courses

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


A “FRAGMENTED” creative industry encouraged a designer to put up a creative and design school in Cebu City.

Genesis Raña of creative agency Empire teamed up with more than 30 industry practitioners to run the University of Visayas New School of Art and Design (UVNS), a joint venture between Raña and the Gullas family.

Introduced in 2013, the school announced yesterday that it added four new programs on top of the nine existing ones. The new ones include short courses on make-up design under Jessie Glova, interior design under Maya Franco, tourism design and branding under Boboi Costas and startup academy under Natalia Dumagan.

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Raña, who serves as the school director, said UVNS is the first creative and design school in the Philippines. The school is located inside the Gullas Medical Center in Banilad, Cebu City.

UVNS already produced its first set of graduates composed of nine students taking certificate courses on visual design. The school also offers courses on animation, social advertising, web design, production design, communication design, music design and production, photography and fashion immersion.

“What gathered us together is our vision of uniting the creative industry of Cebu by bringing each one of us into one space, the UVNS,” Raña said in an interview yesterday.

The multi-million dollar creative industry is, according to a survey by the Intellectual Property Office, is worth $592 million.

“There exists an industry that is very exciting, rewarding, and is economically viable...The thing with the creative industry is that it does not need (so much of ) infrastructure and capitalization but education. No one has seen the bigger picture yet” he said.

Raña said the growth of Cebu, where many businesses have expanded and opened, shows a bigger need for creative individuals to handle marketing and branding. This shows a need to prepare a pool of talents who can meet the growing demand.

Raña added that although a big number of students are enrolled in creative-related courses in Cebu’s major universities, there remains a gap between the requirement of the industry and the current skills of the graduates.

“When you work in the creative field, what is required is your skills,” Raña said.

Unlike the traditional approach of the academe, UVNS does not grade students. Instead, mentors base the students’ learning and performance through their portfolio, a compilation of projects they have accomplished and submitted.

What sets UVNS from the traditional schools is that it fosters an entrepreneurial culture among creative students by injecting the business side of the creative industry. Music design and production program director Ian Zafra said they can monetize their passion and skills.

“At the end of the day, we want to monetize..on how we can convert our talent to business,” said fashion immersion mentor Mia Arcenas.

The mentors also announced yesterday that two graduates of UVNS were recently tapped by Japanese investors and are now working in Japan.

Tuition fee in UVNS is P30,000 per semester across all courses.

Raña said the school accepts working students and corporate-sponsored scholarships.

By the end of the year or early next year, UVNS is targeting to get accreditation from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2014.

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