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Top Designs launched at Melbourne Museum

A group of students

From left, Sonja Veljanovski, Edward Astbury, Griffin Imer,
Caro Llewellyn, Director, Experience & Engagement,
Museums Victoria,
Hannah Bahamdun and Uyen Dien

A celebration of the outstanding creative talent of Victoria’s up-and-coming young designers was held on Friday 29 March 2019 at the opening of Top Designs at Melbourne Museum.

Top Designs features the works of 85 high-achieving students from government, Catholic and independent schools in Victoria. The works on display span a range of VCE studies, including Theatre Studies, Media, Product Design and Technology, Systems Engineering, Visual Communication Design and VCE VET Creative and Digital Media. The annual exhibition is in its nineteenth year, with the opening venue filled to capacity with friends, family, teachers and supporters.

Melbourne-based Indigenous fashion designer and artist Lyn-Al Young officially launched the exhibition. At the age of 24, Lyn-Al has amassed an impressive list of achievements, including having her work shown at red carpet events, such as the Logie Awards and NGV Gala, and presented to both the Duchess of Sussex and Dame Anna Wintour.

‘A huge congratulations to all the students whose work is on show tonight at the prestigious Melbourne Museum. What an exciting moment in your lives,’ she said.

‘I want to encourage you to never stop learning, listening, soaking in your environment, trying new things. Continue to develop your skills and talent, work hard and stay focused, whether you go to university, TAFE, do work experience or straight into your career.’

Lyn-Al was joined at the podium by Chris Wardlaw, Chair, VCAA. ‘Year after year I am impressed by the capabilities of our VCE and VET students selected for Top Designs’, he said.

‘They have demonstrated through their work an understanding of sophisticated problem-solving techniques and applied them to real-world solutions.’

Caro Llewellyn, Director, Experience and Engagement, Melbourne Museum announced the six students selected to participate in the Creative Museums Program:

  • Edward Astbury, Northcote High School
  • Hannah Bahamdun, Coburg High School
  • Uyen Dien, The Knox School
  • Griffin Imer, Woodleigh School
  • Sonja Veljanovski, Northside Christian College
  • Tanya Wong, Methodist Ladies’ College.

The program, which is run in partnership with the VCAA, gives students a rare opportunity to complete an internship with the Melbourne Museum’s design, exhibition and digital media teams.

‘The aim of the program is to provide points of inspiration, challenge exhibitors to reflect on contemporary design and to have access to the museum’s creative specialists,’ explained Caro.

‘The creativity of students really lifts the bar every year and 2019’s showing is beyond impressive,’ she said.

The winners of the annual Top Designs Deans Art prizes were also announced at the launch. They are:

  • Jasmine Kennedy, Northcote High School (Innovative Use of Resources)
  • Uyen Dien, The Knox School (Sustainable Practice)
  • Lorimer Marshal, Lavalla Catholic College (Original Thought)
  • Lucinda Nguyen, Our Lady of Mercy College (Community Values)
  • Edward Astbury, Northcote High School (Research and Development).

The five winners each received a certificate of achievement and a $250 voucher to put towards future creative endeavours.

When asked what being part of Top Designs means to them, the students were humble and appreciative.

‘Being selected for Top Designs has validated the hard work I put into the project and also provided me with an opportunity to showcase my idea and work to many interesting individuals,’ said Lorimer Marshal, designer of the FADER System, which assists in early fire detection.

Hannah Bahamdun created her work for Charity Lab, which provides long-term humanitarian relief and promotes annual projects to a philanthropic audience. ‘Top Designs means hopefully being able to inspire young aspiring designers to combine their passions through their work. In my case: design and helping people,’ she said.

Filmmaker Sonia Veljanovski said that being part of Top Designs and selected for the Creative Museums Program ‘has honestly meant the world.
‘I don’t believe that recognition defines you and your work, but it does feel nice to know that someone appreciates what you’ve done. As young people, what we have to offer is often overlooked,’ said Sonia.

Top Designs gives students the opportunity for invaluable peer-to-peer learning. The exhibition provides future VCE and VCE VET students with an insight into the ideas and creativity of their older cohorts. A special section in this year’s exhibition focuses on the processes and skills that students learn during their secondary studies and take with them to further study and design practice.

Top Designs is part of the annual VCE Season of Excellence which also includes Top Talks, Top Arts, Top Class, Top Screen and Top Acts. The exhibition runs until Sunday 14 July 2019 at Melbourne Museum.