Visual Arts & Digital Media Tutors

Alice Moore

Lecturer in Motion Graphics, Web Design, Major Projects, Body of Work
​BDes with Honours 1st Class (Massey University), Cert. Maori Visual Arts (Te Wānanga O Aotearoa)

Alice completed a BDes (Hons) at Massey University majoring in Digital Media in 2012 and was awarded Massey Scholar for her degree. She began teaching at Whitireia in 2013. She is a published children’s illustrator and is currently working on writing and illustrating her first full picture book titled All Things Tails and Claws using 3-dimensional digital design to produce the illustrative spreads. She specialises in character development, 3D modelling and texturing. Her expertise and interests seek to develop innovative modes of engagement for children through various digital and print mediums. In 2012, Alice received a team Best Award (Bronze) from the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand for her animation in TweetMe, an educational interactive installation (Te Papa Tongarewa, Pātaka) and in 2013 she received a team national award for art direction in the 48 hour Film Festival.

Brenda Saris

Design Co-ordinator and Senior Lecturer in Digital Studio, Publication, Branding, Illustration, Major Projects, Body of Work
​MPhil with Honours 1st Class (AUT), MDes Distinction (AUT), Dip Visual Communication Design (Wellington Polytechnic)

For more than 25 years, Brenda has been employed as an art director and graphic designer in the advertising and design industry. She has worked in NZ, the UK and Holland, honing valuable strategy, communication and Adobe CS skills. Brenda’s experience as an all round creative ensured she was able to considerably support the growth of her employers, tackling corporate clients, well known retailers, manufacturers and high-profile service industries alike. Since completing her MDes in 2009, these skills have been directed towards design education and her professional work is, on occasion, ongoing through Beehive Creative. At Whitireia since 2012, she teaches across all graphic and digital design disciplines, core arts and studio papers and all levels, including Graduate Diploma. Brenda was awarded an MPhil with Honours (1st class) from AUT at the end of 2014. This research examined the benefits of a devised human-centred branding strategy for New Zealand small business within the new technological environment, and her current focus is on developing advanced design pedagogy within globalization for the New Zealand context.

Chris White

Co-Programme Manager Visual Arts and Design, Lecturer in Printmaking, Painting and Drawing
BA First Class Hons (Camberwell Art School, The London Institute), MFA (Elam)

Chris achieved a first-class Honours degree in illustration and after a postgraduate year in printmaking; he worked for many years as a free-lance illustrator publishing work for clients in the UK such as The Sunday Times Magazine, The World Wide Fund for Nature, Thames and Hudson, Orion Books and Blueprint Architecture magazine.  His achievements include best artist award from the Royal Society of Watercolourists (London) 1986, as well as being Artist in Residence at The Old Royal Observatory – Greenwich Maritime Museum, 1997 -1998.

Since migrating to Aotearoa, New Zealand he has completed a Masters of Fine Arts at Elam (Auckland University), as well as illustrating picture books for publishers Mallinson Rendel.  In 2008, his illustrations for the children’s picture-book ‘Dad’s Takeaways’ (written by Melanie Drewery) were short listed for the Russell Clark medal for illustration.  Chris’s teaching extends to many areas of the applied arts degree and he exhibits regularly both here in Aotearoa and overseas.

Deb Donnelly

Co-Programme Manager Visual Arts and Design, Lecturer in Design Textiles and Drawing
MTeach (VUW), Dip Textile Design (Wellington Polytechnic), Dip Teaching (VUW), NZIM (Supervision), Certificate in Design Research (Massey University), Cert Adult Teaching

Lecturer in Visual Arts at Whitireia since 2000, Deb practises and teaches textiles and design education. Her specialist areas are designs for textile print and fashion on both natural dyed merino wool and fine silk, as well as hi-tech garments and fibres that communicate ideas about specific cultures and themes

Deb worked as a design coordinator for printed textiles before starting her teaching career and in 1993 was awarded a New Zealand Design Education grant to study all aspects of design, print and art education as a guest of the Japanese government. This experience helped prepare her for the teaching challenges in New Zealand education and build a unique textile design practice. In 2007, she was a finalist in the New Zealand wearable art and design competitions Westfield Style Pasifika and Cult Couture. Since completing MTeach in 2008, Deb has focused on eco-sustainable textiles and natural dye processes. A foundation member of Aotearoa Felters, she has exhibited works in New Zealand, Australia, Manila and Hong Kong. Deb’s textiles, with her students’ work, were showcased at a New Zealand Trade Festival in 2008 in Manila alongside fashion and business companies trading in Asia.

Kelly McDonald

Lecturer in Jewellery
BN (Monash), BVisArts (Sydney)

Kelly has a wide background for her jewellery teaching at Whitireia, having worked as a jewellery tutor in Sydney, 1999-2004, exhibited in a range of solo and group shows in both Australia and New Zealand, and worked on props and models for Big Primate Productions in Wellington.

Peter Deckers

Lecturer in Jewellery and Contextual Studies
MTS (Vakschool Schoonhoven), MFA (Hons) (Elam), DipTeach

Peter studied art and jewellery making in both the Netherlands and New Zealand. He is very active in his own art practice, making collections for national and international exhibitions. His philosophy in arts education is that each individual (student) is unique, therefore has potential for artistic expression. His passion for jewellery and the arts transfigures lessons into experiences.

Peter is both a contemporary artist and a craftsperson. Ideas that make distinctive connections with jewellery are the inspiration for his work, and a recent 20-year survey exhibition at Pataka, Porirua highlighted his interest in language, through a series of engaging pieces displayed with accompanying sound. He exhibits with dealer galleries throughout New Zealand and the world. His work, philosophy and ideas have also been the subject of a book, Choices of the Hand, a survey of work from New Zealand jeweller Peter Deckers, introduction by Stevan Eldred-Grigg, published by First Editions, Wellington (supported by Creative New Zealand).

Mel Phillips

Tutor in Practical and Advanced Photography – Camera Awareness, Flash and Studio lighting, Alternative Processing and Portfolio
BAppA (Visual Arts and Design)

Mel Phillips came to photography when a patron of his restaurant found they couldn’t pay for their meal, so left him with a camera instead. At the same time, one of the kitchen staff wanted to set up a darkroom in the kitchen – and he did, and then so did Mel. With an art background, Mel could draw and paint, so the camera was a natural extension of those skills. He studied at Wellington Polytechnic, finishing first the Certificate in Photography, and later the Agfa Bursary.

Mel joined a prominent Wellington photographer in his commercial studio, where the business of photography became a reality. Setting up his own studio less than a year later, he rapidly became a key player in the commercial photographic arena in Wellington.

Almost simultaneously, Mel began teaching photography. His skills as a chef translated into photography when he discovered an old photography book that included recipes for alternative photographic processing. Unable to resist any recipe, Mel was soon elbow deep in dangerous chemistry. This lead to a position teaching antique processes to students at Wellington Polytechnic. A mixture of teaching and commercial photography has been his staple diet ever since.

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