The launch of the Experience Design Centre connected staff, students and RMIT’s design partners as they experienced the brand-new NAS space in Building 8. Guest speakers brought focus to student careers and education, and demonstrated the impact of storytelling. Dubbed the “XDC”, the unique space offers virtual reality technologies, multiple projection screens and room for students to collaborate, design and showcase ideas and solutions. Students can expect to see the space in action for industry and community projects, and are encouraged to use the space for collaboration.
John Barnes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Engagement and Vocational Education and Vice-President, explained some of the key aspects of the XDC.
“The XDC has a focus on transformative student experiences. Being at the heart of New Academic Street, the space invites diversity in collaboration, which is the key to delivering innovation.”
Chief Marketing Officer, Matthew Lee said that the idea for the XDC was based on how storytelling showcases (like the XDC Launch) can build empathy “to encourage the industry to solve industry problems, and build RMIT capability”.
Bronwyn Lee of The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), gave a speech about the organisation’s “New Work Order” report, which aims to inform – producing discussion about the future of work for the next generation.
“Australia has a growing youth population – there are 4.3 million young people in Australia. It takes on average 4.7 years of work after university until students find full-time employment.”
Bronwyn noted that there are three global forces that need to be considered when discussing solutions: flexibility, globalisation, and the rise of automation. Sixty-per cent of young people will train for jobs that will no longer exist for humans.
“We need our young people to be more productive than ever. We need them to build the skills to navigate work and create their own path. Career paths aren’t always linear.” Bronwyn went on to say that the age-old question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ is the wrong question for the next generation of young students. The better question is, ‘What is the world you want to create?’
The XDC’s wow factor is the space’s ability to transform from one open space into two, to accommodate different needs. In the Immersion Zone, Drew Paten, RMIT student and Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) presenter, mentor and ambassador, discussed the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Drew shared his own personal struggle through high school to inspire the brainstorming ideation: How might universities, industry and communities unite to push our Indigenous youth to thrive?
“I wasn’t always as dedicated to education as I am now. I found it hard to self-identify with going to university,” Drew said. “That all changed when I entered AIME. They reinforced my Aboriginal identity, and I decided university was a path for Aboriginal people. For so many of us, education is not a thing, so to have a team who is willing to look after us and support our education… I’m the first in my family to complete VCE, and I was the first Aborigine in my high school to complete VCE.”
In the Activity Zone, Michael Johnston, RMIT graduate and FYA Young Pioneer, spoke of his organisation, Momentary, a video production company that uses storytelling for social impact. His story inspired a discussion on how universities and industry can work together to better prepare youth for the world of work.
To end the evening, both groups came together to discuss their solutions. Some ideas were to encourage and build confidence in students early-on, to ask what kids want, and to offer modern apprenticeships and internships for students who are unsure about a long-term commitment to university.
New Academic Street’s Experience Design Centre is now open, so keep an eye out for workshops and other storytelling showcases, or have a chat with the NAS concierge about how the space can be used for your academic projects and industry ideas.
Words by Nikki Russian
Images by Matt Houston