Oya Demirbilek

Professor of Industrial Design Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture

Oya Demirbilek has a passion for enhancing the lives of everyone, especially the ageing population. Her research and teaching focus on designing meaningful products and creating better futures for all. She is particularly interested in co-design and using design research methods to help industrial designers define real problems, empathize with people’s needs, and create inclusive designs.

Oya’s research work is two-fold. One is investigating ways to capture people’s perceptions of product semantics and design language about products and brands. The second is exploring and finding ways to make old age physically and emotionally more comfortable for all. Her research areas include empathy, inclusive design, and co-designing with real people.

As a teacher, Oya is dedicated to sharing her knowledge about design research methods, inclusive design, and empathy. Her teaching methods help students build their confidence, find their research direction, and articulate their design process and values in the context of enhancing their empathy towards people and environments.

Oya has held various leadership positions at UNSW, including Associate Dean of Education at the Built Environment, Discipline Director for Industrial Design and Program Director for the Master of Industrial Design and the Master of Science (Industrial Design) Postgraduate Coursework Programs. She was also Assistant Professor at the Middle East Technical University (METU). In addition, she held an instructor position in Product Design at the prestigious Art Center College of Design (Europe), La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland (1989-90).

Oya is an award-winning designer, having exhibited her jewellery design work in Istanbul, Ankara, Paris, and Sydney. In 2010, she was an International Jury Member for the Turkey Industrial Design Awards. Oya holds two PhDs in Industrial Design from Bilkent University, Ankara, and Marmara University, Istanbul, a Master’s by Research in Building Sciences, and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from METU, Ankara.