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Case study: Sushma Serigara

In 2011, I graduated with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and then moved back to my birth and resident country, the UAE, in the hope of finding a job as a graduate architect. Like many new design professionals, I interned and apprenticed under notable veterans in the field, while looking out for a gratifying job. During the apprenticeship, I realized that I had an inclination in working with interiors and materials. Thereafter, I pursued my career as an entry-level designer and then moved onto higher positions, working my way up and learning about interior design process while on the job. The switch from architecture to interior design did not come easy, as the two fields of construction are as worlds apart as they are alike. It was hard to get the first good break in the design market in the UAE, where every aspect of design is considered to be extremely competitive.

In December of 2013, I decided to become a member of the Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID), in order to get connected to other interior designers in the region and become a part of a professional body that helps knit the designers, suppliers and the corporate world. Through, the Executive Director of APID, Linda Merieau, I not only landed a job that has proven to be indulging and satisfying, but I also got introduced to the National Design Academy at the APID-NDA partnership ceremony in 2014.

I have wanted to do a Masters for a long while for personal development and to acquire a better understanding on the interior design world and its processes; but I did not have the time to attend a full time course at any of the local universities, with my full time job. So when I heard that NDA offered a distance-learning program tailored to suit individual timelines, I could not believe my ears. In all the time I had been in the UAE, I have always looked for something like this, locally, but had not found an outlet. So with an added incentive of discounted fee rates for APID members, I immediately applied for the full time Master of Arts in Interior Design program at the NDA, which will ultimately yield me a post graduate international degree from a UK University.

After 8 months and 2 modules in, I am happy to be a part of this program with NDA, as it offers professional well-informed tutors, a structured and nurturing coursework and plenty of helpful resources to aid the study. I am keen on taking part in the design competitions being organized by the NDA soon; one of the highlights for me. It is my hope that, through the courses and gaining this degree will help me achieve added qualifications and better understanding of the interiors industry and processes, so I will be able to better manage the design process to lead a project and design management.

I think NDA is a great outlet for distance learning that is well equipped for this type of study, and also maintains a high level of standards and professionalism. I have recommended the MA program to a few of my colleagues who are already pursuing a study elsewhere in other specialties due to the lack of organizations that offer a Master’s degree in Interior design with this kind of ease, and are keen to join NDA for the MA as soon as they finish their current engagements. Thank you NDA!

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Course Timeline

3rd September to 20th January

Introduction Week

Course Introduction

2 hour Live Online Introduction Session
Tuesday, 3rd September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 1

Unit 01: Fabric Selection & Colour Theory

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 10th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 13th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 2

Unit 02: Estimation for Soft Furnishings

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 17th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 20th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 3

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 23rd September

Week 4

Unit 03: Window Treatments: Mitres, Hand-Stitching Techniques & Pattern Matching

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 1st October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 4th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 5

Unit 04: Lined & Interlined Curtain Construction

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 8th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 11th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 6

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 14th October

Week 7

Unit 05: Constructing Hand-Sewn Buckram Headers

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 22nd October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 25th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 8

Unit 06: Constructing Piped Crescent Tie-Back & Piped Cushion

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 29th October @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 1st November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 9

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 4th November

Week 10

Unit 07: Constructing a Roman Blind

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 12th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 15th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 11

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 18th November

Week 12

Unit 08: Constructing Padded Pelmets

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 26th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 29th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 13

Unit 09: Constructing Swags & Tails (Swags)

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 3rd December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 6th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 14

Unit 09: Constructing Swags & Tails (Tails)

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 10th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 13th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 15

Unit 10: Setting-up a Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings Workroom

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 17th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
*Thursday, 19th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)
*One day early due to office closure

Christmas Holidays

NDA Office Closed

20th December - 6th January

Week 16 & 17

Independent Study Break Week x2

Commencing Monday, 6th & 13th January

Week 18

Project hand-in

Monday, 20th January 2025

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