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ZAYED University
Excellence in Education

Ms. Ann-Maree
Dean - CACE, ZAYED University
In an Exclusive with the New Jeweller UAE bureau, Ms.Ann- Maree talks about the rich heritage and culture of the UAE and the Arab world and its influence in the Jewellery designs, and the various factors that makes Zayed University one of the best in the World. Excerpts:

Dear Ms.Ann, The ZAYED University offers a range of curriculum under its aegis and there are a number of colleges and training institutes under the University that impart important courses. Tell us in brief the vision of the University and what is that one important factor that makes Zayed University one of the best in the region and the world?

CACE aims to develop graduates who are leaders and innovators in the field of art and design practice, graduates who are grounded in their heritage and who will contribute significantly to the cultural fabric of the UAE. Our intensive and rigorous art, design, new media and exhibition programs are practice based and industry-engaged. Faculty utilize the latest teaching methodologies, underpinned by cutting-edge technology and an innovative learning environment, to inspire a new generation of creative thinkers. Our graduates are the new up and coming artists, designers, gallery curators, educators, art policy makers and arts administrators, and it is through our graduates that we aspire to foster and build a vibrant art and design community in the UAE and abroad.

Coming to the gem and jewellery sector that we are in, tell us something about the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises [CACE]. Please emphasize on the Jewellery designing and related courses and its importance offered under CACE?

Although jewelry design is not a major in the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, many students take jewellery making & design as part of their course work in the degree program. Students have a keen interest in jewellery design as reflected in the many outstanding designs created at CACE and as acknowledged in the many jewellery awards gained over the past 3 years. We have a dedicated and developing jewellery studio on the Abu Dhabi campus and the Fablab on Dubai campus is a hub of activity for all product designers including jewellery design. We have a dedicated Faculty member on Abu Dhabi campus Naida Akaeva who is passionate about students having access to jewellery design and to developing skills through gaining first hand experience working with precious gems and metals. Her teaching expertise is testament to the awards gained by CACE students. We also have a faculty member who is a specialist and consultant in traditional Jewellery of the Arabian Peninsula and who incorporates jewellery-related research within various history courses and is conducting a long-term project documenting traditional jewellery of the region.

The GCC and the Middle Eastern region is blend of Culture, Tradition, Heritage and Modernity. What is your opinion on this and how has the Zayed University blended these regional qualities into the curriculum and the students? Are there programs organised by the university to regularly motivate the students and inculcate the culture and tradition into them that will help them become a better and successful human being?

Zayed students bring an informed understanding of their heritage, reinforced through the BFA degree program in courses such as Material Culture of the UAE; Representation; Research Methods, Islamic Art and Architecture, and History of Design all of which include projects that highlight the centrality and importance of Culture, Tradition, Heritage and embed this within their contemporary design and artistic practice. Zayed students are encouraged to develop a deep understanding of the importance of tradition and heritage in line with the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda to strive to preserve a cohesive society proud of its identity and sense of belonging, reinforcing social and family cohesion.

There are a number of awards and accolades existent in the region at present. The College of Arts and Creative Enterprises (CACE) was very excited with the news that Ms Maryam Al Rameithi, one of our students had won 'The New Jeweller Heritage Jewellery Competition & Awards'.

We are extremely proud of Maryam's achievement particularly as the 'The New Jeweller Heritage Jewellery Competition & Awards' aims at the revival of tradition and heritage within jewellery design. CACE continues to support and encourage the importance of culture, tradition, and heritage as it relates to innovation and contemporary design as part of its mission across all of the creative practices within the degree programs including jewellery.

Tell us about the future programs and developments that is being planned by CACE, keeping in mind the Gem and Jewellery sector?

CACE is aware of the importance of encouraging and supporting jewellery design in the tertiary education sector, as part of the future development of design in the UAE. CACE envisages a proposal for including jewellery as a major in the BFA degree program in the near future. In the meantime CACE will forge ahead in continuing to offer a high standard of jewellery skills instruction with new cutting edge equipment and studio spaces that enable our students to continue to be outstanding award winners in the UAE.