Interview: Nur Hidayah Abu Bakar, Dean, Faculty Of Design, LASALLE College Of The Arts


26 April 2017

Ms Nur Hidayah Abu Bakar graduated with BA Design (Advertising Design) from Curtin University of Technology, and Master of Arts in Design for Communication from University of Central England. In 2014, she was nominated by Women’s Weekly magazine for the Great Women of Our Times Award, in the category of Education and Public Service. DesignSingapore spoke with Nur Hidayah.

How did you decide on a career in design?

I was inspired by my late father. He was an artist and an art teacher. Growing up, I was fortunate to be exposed to many art and design exhibitions. Thereafter, from aged 14, I knew I wanted to study design. I assisted in his exhibitions, learnt batik painting on weekends and took a particular interest in television commercials and outdoor ads.

The language of design was fascinating and I continued my pursuit in the areas of Design and Communication. During my undergraduate studies, I took up marketing and communication modules and majored in advertising design. When I embarked on the postgraduate programme, I began researching on imagery that uses photography as a tool. I like a multi-dimensional approach to Design.

What were you doing before joining LASALLE?

Whilst studying, I worked freelance on many design projects. Upon graduation, I assumed many different roles in the design industry. My job then was mainly in art direction and copywriting. In 2001, I started to teach design, and in the following year, I had an important part in planning the curriculum. My passion for design and teaching led me to my current position.

What are some interesting projects you have completed?

I worked on The Linking Cities, Designing Experiences project with a South Korean University in 2010. Students from Singapore and Seoul shared ideas and themes about the city. We made an inquiry into the issues of urbanism. We captured fascinating, multi-faceted insights. The project also included concepts in urban typology, urban environment, social settings of cities and physical infrastructure.

In another project, I worked with HIV women in Phnom Penh. We conceived a design capability project using design and design education to transform the livelihood of the women and their families. We worked with the women and taught them design and business skills so they can earn a better living for themselves. This social enterprise project was inspiring.



Top row: Linking Cities, Designing Experiences project with a South Korean University.
Bottom row: A design capability project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

As dean of LASALLE’s Faculty of Design, what are your goals for your staff, and your students?

I hope to foster a multi-dimensional approach to teaching and learning design at LASALLE’s Faculty of Design. We need to keep up with changing needs of design and how designers can respond to changing demands. My goals for the teaching team is to explore ever-broadening capacities for Design, and take on greater inter-disciplinary, collaborative approach to teaching. This is to respond to evolving societal, cultural and technological developments.

Read more about Nur Hidayah here.