learning from experience, supportive networks
and an unpredictable world.
First in her family to attend university, Rae Cooper views design as the core of her identity. She identifies as an Indigenous Australian, her family originating in Worimi Country (now known as Port Stephens). Her path towards a life of design thinking, research and education began at a young age (commonly identified as the 'kid who could draw cool stuff') and her entry into design as a professional activity began in 2005 after the completion of her first qualification in Product Design. Unexpectedly, her first studio work was graphic design based, which required a different skill set and swift 'learning on the job'. Many projects later, (many mistakes later), and a few 'last warnings' from Art Directors, her visual communication skills grew strong and graphically unique. Looking back, Rae attributes her professional success to the 'last warnings' and other critical feedback, in addition to experiencing first hand the importance of mentorship and connection to others. This experience was scaffolded by her first university experiences leading to a foundation understanding of design thinking and theory and the support and encouragement of her academic teachers.
Rarely needing a business card, website or portfolio, her employment opportunities have come from networks and reputations. She often reminds her students that strong work ethic, good attitude and common sense is more valuable than a nice business card. And as the world becomes an increasingly unpredictable place, a thirsty mind and fierce theoretical tool kit has the potential to create design leaders for now and the future.
"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted", a quote by Martin Luther King which inspires Rae to embrace unconventional pathways, ideas and actions.
Current Doctoral Candidate. Griffith University
2012 GradDipEd. Middle Years, The Arts, Science and Technology
2010 Master of Design Futures. Class I Honours
2005 Bachelor of Product Design. Double major in 3D Design & Visual Culture
Honours & Awards
2018 Beijing Design Week Outstanding Partnership Award in conjunction with the Australian Embassy and Australian exhibitors.
2018 Beijing Design Week Exhibitor, in conjunction with QCA Design Team
2018 Recipient of Arts, Education & Law Teaching and Development Grant
2018 Nominated for the Griffith Award for Excellence in Teaching
2017 Three Minute Thesis Finalist
2017 Speaker, CreateWorld Conference
2017 Confirmation of Doctoral Candidature
2016 Speaker, CreateWorld Conference
2015 Accredited Mental Health First Aider
2015 Griffith Award for Excellence in Teaching, Highly Commended. Work Integrated Learning
2015 Adobe Certified Associate in Print & Digital Media Publication
2014 Spirit of the Gold Coast Media Award
2014 Presenter, Griffith Employability Symposium
2010 Class I Honours (Design Futures)
2010 Award for Academic Excellence
2009 Award for Academic Excellence
2009 High Commendation - National Cultural Precinct Architectural Competition