The following is a chronological record of the development of IDEA from its inception. It attempts no more than to chronicle the main business of the organisation and to acknowledge the contribution of those who have participated. Harry Stephens, Chair of IDEA from 2000 to 2003, began this written account and others have contributed as IDEA’s history unfolds. As Harry noted at the beginning of his text: ‘A history of another kind may one day be written that uses the data presented here in a more analytical manner. For now, in the flurry of activity that is the life of IDEA, this will hopefully serve as a quick reference point for those involved and a reasonably clear overview for those wishing to know more about the organisation’.

IDEA began as a result of a meeting of a number of heads of interior design/interior architecture programs from around Australia on 19th December 1996 at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This inaugural meeting was attended by Harry Stephens from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Jill Franz from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Lynn Chalmers from the University of South Australia (UniSA), Tim Laurence from UTS (outgoing head of program) and George Verghese also from UTS (incoming head of program). This meeting highlighted a shared desire to strengthen and support the pedagogy and research in Interior Design and Interior Architecture education and to develop a cross institutional collegial support network.

Gathering under the cumbersome working title HIADA (Heads of Interior Architecture/Design, Australia), at this first meeting a paper prepared by Andrea Mina (RMIT) on a ‘refereed design studios program’ was tabled and became the instrument that was used to initiate a project that in culminated in the establishment of the IDEA Refereed Design Studio scheme. Associated with this endeavour was the development of a journal wherein the refereed studio work could be published.

The second meeting was held in Brisbane on 24 July 1997 to coincide with the well attended and influential international interior design forum Interior Design: In or Out?convened by Dianne Smith at QUT. Jill Franz (QUT) chaired the meeting with George Verghese (UTS), Harry Stephens (UNSW), Marina Lommerse (Curtin), Nancy Spanbroek (Curtin), Andrea Mina (RMIT), John Andrews (RMIT) and Lynn Chalmers (UniSA) in attendance as IDEA members. Sam Di Mauro and Fang Xu (both from Griffith University) and a representative from the Northern Territory University also attended. At this meeting, the name of the organisation was changed to IDEA (Interior Design/Interior Architecture Educators Association). Lynn Chalmers was elected the next Chairperson and the third meeting was scheduled to be held at UniSA in Adelaide on 11 December 1997.

In the same year, IDEA was approached by the DIA (Design Institute of Australia) to advise on standards of higher education for the interior design/interior architecture profession. IDEA was also invited by the DIA to write the brief for its annual DIA Interior Design Student Award. IDEA has continued to write the brief each year.

The end of 1997 saw the development of the IDEA logo and charter. The charter reaffirmed IDEA’s commitment to the advancement of interior design/interior architecture education and research by encouraging and supporting excellence in interior design/interior architecture education and research within Australasia; and being the regional authority on, and advocate for, interior design/interior architecture education and research. The 4th meeting of IDEA was hosted by RMIT and the 5th meeting was held in Brisbane, hosted by QUT and QCA on consecutive days 10 and 11 December 1998.

In 1998 the Refereed Design Studios Scheme was launched culminating in a call for papers for the first IDEA journal. Over the following year the aspiration of IDEA for a refereed journal was realised. The official launch of the inaugural IDEA Journal took place at Sydney Design 99. Sponsored by ABET Pty Ltd, the journal was officially launched by internationally renowned interior designer and architect, Eva Jiricna at a ceremony held in the Sydney Exhibition Centre Darling Harbour on 28th September 1999. In her address Eva Jiricna commented on the need for such a journal to fittingly celebrate the work that is undertaken every day in our institutions by academics committed to the promotion of the profession. She enthusiastically praised the high level of engagement with issues of critical concern to interior designers all over the world that she encountered on this visit to Australia and particularly acknowledged the efforts IDEA in this regard.

The 6th meeting of IDEA was held on Rottnest Island in Western Australia hosted by Curtin University and took place from 24 to 25 May 1999. Marina Lommerse was elected as the Chair of IDEA. The 7th IDEA meeting was held by UTS on December 6th and UNSW on December 7th 1999. The expansion of the membership to include Monash University and the New Zealand program at the Central Institute of Technology (now WelTec) was as a direct result of the work undertaken by Marina Lommerse as Chair of IDEA and with the aim to expand the influence of IDEA. At this meeting Harry Stephens and George Wilkie from UTS were elected co-chairs. The 8th meeting was held at Monash University on 6th and 7th July 2000 where Harry Stephens was elected chair. The 9th meeting was hosted by the University of South Australia 4-5 December 2000 and was followed by a design education symposium convened by UniSA titled Morbidity and Mortality. The first IDEA symposium, it provided a space for academics from most of the IDEA programs to present and discuss their approaches to pedagogy through the design studio. Wellington Institute of Technology, Wellington New Zealand (formerly CIT) hosted the 10th meeting of IDEA on 5th and 6th July 2001. At this meeting, Sven Mehzoud presented Massey University’s program for institutional membership of IDEA and was accepted. Victoria University Wellington also presented and was accepted. RMIT hosted the 11th meeting from 13-14 December 2001. The following meeting at UTS, Sydney from 12-14 April 2001 also involved the launch of the IDEA conference planned for 2003. Harry Stephens launched the conference at DesignEX and a workshop dedicated to developing the conference theme was held the following day. At the 13th meeting – QUT Brisbane October 2002 – the IDEA website was launched and Bill McKay from UNITEC New Zealand presented his program for institutional membership of IDEA.

At the 14th meeting – Monash, Melbourne May 2003, UNITEC joined IDEA as an institutional member. A planning symposium was held to discuss the forthcoming conference and potential themes and events. The 15th meeting Sydney UNSW August 2003 coincided with the 2003 IDEA Conference Between Excess and Austerity, hosted by UTS and UNSW. At this meeting Harry Stephens stood down as chair and Gill Matthewson from WelTec was elected. In 2003, Jill Franz was appointed Executive Editor of the IDEA Journal, with Dianne Smith as the Review Editor. In January 2004 IDEA was accepted as a full institutional member of IFI (International Federation of Interior Architects). This relationship has been strengthened over the ensuing years with IDEA invited to attend international roundtables to advise on excellence in interior design/interior architecture education.

During 2004 and 2005 IDEA continued to meet twice a year: UNITEC Auckland, January 2004; RMIT Melbourne, July 2004; UniSA Adelaide January 2005; Napier, New Zealand September 2005. In April 2005, IDEA convened a symposium INSIDEOUT which brought interior design and landscape architecture disciplines together. Gill Matthewson completed her term as chair at the 20th meeting in Sydney, NSW, April 2006 and Suzie Attiwill was elected.

The following meeting was held in Melbourne and co-hosted by RMIT and Monash, September 2006. Matthew Cooke, from Swinburne University, presented the program for membership to IDEA. IFI President Madeline Lester was invited to attend the meeting to discuss potential collaboration between IFI and IDEA. This followed IFI’s invitation to Suzie Attiwill as IDEA chair to attend the IFI Singapore Roundtable in June 2006. The 22nd meeting was hosted by Curtin, Fremantle, WA, February 2007. Swinburne joined IDEA as an institutional member. At the meeting, the IDEA Student Scholarship was developed as an initiative – with the first scholarship enabling a student from each IDEA program to attend the next IDEA conference, Inhabiting Risk. Suzie Attiwill and George Verghese attended the Interior Forum Scotland conference ‘Thinking Inside the Box’ in March 2007 and were invited by the Interior Educators (IE), an association involving British and Scottish interior design/interior architecture programs, to present IDEA at their forum/meeting.

In July 2007, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand hosted the meeting which coincided with the 2007 IDEA conference Inhabiting Risk (convened by WelTec, Massey and Victoria University Wellington). Andrea Placidi and Ro Spankie (co-program coordinators, Interior Architecture, Oxford Brookes University, UK) and Terry Meade (program director, Interior Architecture, Brighton University, UK) attended this meeting as guests. Their presence at the meeting was a direct result of IDEA members attending the IFS (Interiors Forum Scotland) conference in March 2007. At this meeting Gini Lee (then UniSA) was nominated as Executive Editor, IDEA Journal for 2008 – 2011, replacing Jill Franz (Executive Editor 2000-2007). In July 2007, IDEA chair Suzie Attiwill was invited to attend the IFI New York City Roundtable on Design Education in July 2007. She also attended the IFI World Assembly and Congress in Busan, South Korea, October 2007.

At the 24th meeting of IDEA in Brisbane, February 2008, a draft constitution was tabled and the association moved to incorporate IDEA as a not for profit company limited by guarantee. Swinburne hosted the July 2008 meeting, the topic for the roundtable discussion was interior research.

2009 was a significant year in the history of the association in terms of its structure, governance and operations. On 11 February 2009, IDEA became incorporated and registered as a public company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. The first face-to-face meeting of IDEA in 2009 was in Sydney hosted by UTS. Each member was invited to present their fourth year program: structure, briefs and student work. And to elaborate on how the final year projects were a distillation of the program. The next face-to-face meeting was held at UNITEC, Auckland in June 2009. for the roundtable discussion, each member was invited to discuss their program’s/institution’s position in relation to masters degrees, including the introduction of new masters programs either as a ‘plus’ degree or otherwise (following on from the 3+2 model that many architecture programs have moved to as the professional degree); how the process has been justified; impact on undergraduate degree; practice-led and professional doctorates by project and how these are viewed within the university context.

During 2009 IDEA’s network continued to extend through connection with other interior educators’ networks internationally – in particular, IE (Interior Educators, UK) and IFS (Interiors Forum Scotland). In 2009, a number of academics from IDEA institutional members attended and presented papers at the Occupations. Negotiations with Constructed Space conference, convened by Terry Meade at the University of Brighton. It is evident there is an interior international network and conversation developing. It is also evident that Australian interior research is highly regarded within these research forums for its explorative and engaged approach. In her role as IDEA Chair, Suzie Attiwill attended the IFI World Assembly and Congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in November 2009.

On 1st of February 2010, IDEA held its first Annual General Meeting at QUT Brisbane and formally elected office bearers Chair (Suzie Attiwill), Secretary (Matthew Cooke) and Treasurer (Sue Sherringham) for a three-year term. The redesigned IDEA JOURNAL was launched at the beginning of 2010 with the first issue under the editorship of Gini Lee – the2009 IDEA JOURNAL – Interior Territories. In 2010, the journal was recognised in in the ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) ranking assessment as an A journal. The journal is recognised as a critical vehicle for the recognition and promotion of design and design education as a research activity relevant to its field and equivalent to publication of more traditional research refereed journals. The second face-to-face meeting for 2010 was held at Swinburne University, Melbourne. Matthew Cooke resigned from the position of Secretary as he had taken a position at UNITEC, New Zealand. Suzie Attiwill became acting Secretary until the next AGM.

In 2010, QUT hosted the 2010 IDEA symposium – Interior Spaces in Other Places, convened by Mark Taylor and Gini Lee with Marissa Lindquist. The symposium attracted papers from academics and postgraduate candidates locally and internationally. Held over two days at the State Library of Queensland – the symposium was well attended and provided an opportunity for critical discussion and exchange of ideas. Professor Penny Sparke presented the keynote lecture and attracted a large and diverse audience.

During 2010, IDEA continued to be actively involved with key interior organisations around the world – including participation in, and invited presentation of IDEA to, the 2010 Interior Design Educators Council in the USA, IFW and IE conferences. IDEA’s profile as a peak body for interior design/interior architecture education and research was also acknowledged locally with an invitation to join the steering committee of the proposed Australian Academy of the Creative and Performing Arts.

In February 2011, the IDEA AGM and board meeting was hosted by the University of South Australia, Adelaide. Sue Sherringham announced her resignation as Treasurer due to changes at UTS. (Sue had been in the position of Treasurer since 2006). Russell Rodrigo from UNSW was elected Treasurer; Dianne Smith (Curtin) was elected Secretary and Christina Mackay (Victoria) – Deputy Chair. The roundtable concentrated again on the issue of coursework masters in interior programs and where/what each program was doing. As Chair of IDEA, Suzie Attiwill was invited to participate in the IFI Global Symposium as part of the IFI Design Frontiers: The Interiors Entity (DFIE) project, February 2011. At this symposium, a declaration was conceived for the interior design/interior architecture profession. The second face-to-face meeting for 2011 was hosted by QUT in Brisbane. At this meeting’s roundtable, graduate capabilities were discussed and presented through a representation of final year projects from each program. At this meeting, Rachel Carley from UNITEC was elected as the next Executive Editor, IDEA Journal (2012-2014).

Since its formation in 1996, IDEA has met face-to-face twice a year at a different institution. While this has involved substantial commitment from members, the meetings provide a valuable forum for exchange, benchmarking, collaborations and collegiality. The profile and influence of IDEA continues to grow. The association currently consists of eleven institutional members across Australia and New Zealand (WelTec resigned as an institutional member in 2010 due to university restructuring). In 2011 membership categories for Affiliate and Associate Members were established. The University of Tasmania’s interior design program became IDEA’s first Affiliate Member. And an invitation was extended by the IDEA Board to individuals who had made a significant contribution to IDEA at its very inception, as former Chairs and Executive Editors to become Honorary Associate Members.

February 2012: the AGM and board meeting was hosted by Victoria University Wellington; and the roundtable addressed issues to do with pedagogy – what pedagogy means in the context of each program? Presentations were made which addressed the pedagogy that underpins teaching, structure, delivery modes and theories. Another topic addressed expanding the field of interior design – making connections with other practices and new specializations.

The second face-to-face meeting was held in Perth and coincided with the IDEA symposium and exhibition Interior: A State of Becoming hosted and convened by the Interior Architecture program at Curtin University. At this meeting, IDEA welcomed the Spatial Design program, AUT University as an institutional member and Sue Gallagher as an IDEA Director for AUT.

The symposium was convened by Lynn Churchill, assisted by Dianne Smith and Marina Lommerse. Keynote papers were presented by Professor Beatriz Colomina and Professor Charles Rice. Thirty-five papers were presented at the symposium by academics from the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Israel, Indonesia as well as Australia and New Zealand. The symposium was held at the State Library of Western Australia and received significant sponsorship – particularly from ZENITH, Mondo Luce and The Ian Potter Foundation.

The IDEA exhibition was a new initiative which happened in conjunction with the IDEA Symposium. It was an outcome of the Exhibition Working Party: chaired by Marina Lommerse (Curtin University) with Jane Lawrence (University of South Australia), Stuart Foster (Massey University) and Sven Mehzoud (Monash University) who worked on a project to explore and extend the current recognition of creative works via exhibition to support the variety of creative works being produced by academics in the field of interior design/interior architecture; as well as to contribute to and extend ways that creative works can be recognized as research. Called An Interior Affair: A state of becoming the exhibition attracted participants from around the world and was opened by Professor Charles Rice, Kingston University, UK who noted the timeliness of the project and its contribution to the recognition of creative work as research within the discipline of interior design/interior architecture. All submitted projects were peer-reviewed and the exhibition was held at FORM – a well-known public gallery in Perth. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue of works, a floor talk (held during and as part of the symposium) as well as a live website which archived the process as it happened. Sixteen projects were exhibited – the work of 23 designer-researchers. Projects came from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

During 2012, the 2011 IDEA Journal Interior Economies, guest edited by Julieanna Preston, from Massey University, and the third/final issue under the executive editorship of Gini Lee was published. Sarah Treadwell (University of Auckland) was the guest editor for the 2012 IDEA Journal – with Rachel Carley as executive editor – and invited submissions addressing the topic: Writing /Drawing: negotiating the perils and pleasures of interiority.  The on-going contribution and commitment of Rafael Gomez, the designer of the IDEA JOURNAL, is a critical ingredient in IDEA’s ability to publish the journal.

On December 3, 2012 – auditing and reporting requirements of IDEA was moved from ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) to the ANCA (Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission). IDEA is registered and endorsed for charity entitlements (this was done when IDEA was incorporated as a Public Company Limited by Guarantee in February 2009).

At the 2012 AGM, February 2013 hosted by AUT University, Suzie Attiwill term as Chair was completed and Sue Gallagher was elected to the position. Russell Rodrigo from UNSW and IDEA’s Treasurer submitted his resignation from the IDEA board and as Treasurer. Bruce Watson, as the incoming program director of UNSW’s interior architecture program replaced Russell on the IDEA Board. Dolly Daou accepted the board’s nomination to be Treasurer.

IDEA has been recognised internationally as representing a progressive model in education and research for the discipline of interior design/interior architecture. IDEA continues to be a collegial organization focused on excellence in interior design/interior architecture education and research. The IDEA logo, designed by Gini Lee at the request of Lynn Chalmers in the first few months of IDEA’s formation, still presents and represents the association.

IDEA Annual Report 2009 [Download PDF]

IDEA Annual Report 2010 [Download PDF]

IDEA Annual Report 2011 [Download PDF]

IDEA Annual Report 2012 [Download PDF]