An investigation of emerging issues in the retail design industry and the implications for curriculum development in tertiary interior design education and practice

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This thesis explores the implications for interior design practitioners and educators of emerging issues in the retail industry. Because of the changing nature and significance in the retail industry of marketing, brand, communications, and consumer behaviour, retail designers are facing a range of new challenges, and are finding that they require new skills and new areas of knowledge. The emerging issues in the retail industry have implications also for interior design educators and curriculum developers, as retail design is generally considered to be a specialised field within the discipline of interior design. The methodology adopted in the thesis includes an exploration of emerging issues in the retail industry through a review of available literature, followed by two investigations that explore the attitudes and needs of the retail industry in relation to interior design. The critical analysis of results from the investigation reveals the challenges facing interior design practitioners and educators and, in the concluding chapter, some strategies for meeting these challenges are suggested. The methodology of 'participant observation' is employed in the thesis because of the author's twenty years of experience as an interior designer working in the retail industry, and additional experience as a lecturer in interior design at the university level.
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