The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

Spotlighting human centric design: Winners at DIA’s Graduate of the Year Awards

Graduates’ portfolios embodied their commitment to harnessing design as a force for social improvement at the DIA’s Graduate of the Year Awards 2023.

Spotlighting human centric design: Winners at DIA’s Graduate of the Year Awards

Work by Joanne Odisho.

We love getting behind emerging design talent and the DIA Graduate of the Year Awards (GOTYA) is one of our favourite annual programs, recognising the country’s most promising designers – handpicked from a pool of 163 remarkable nominees. Human centric design stands at the forefront of the program, with the graduates’ comprehensive portfolios embodying their commitment to harnessing design as a force for social improvement.

DIA embarked on an immense journey, collaborating with over 40 universities, institutions, and design departments across the nation. From the 73 shortlisted candidates, nine extraordinary young designers have now claimed their stake in the Australian design scene.

“GOTYA is a critical program as it connects Australia’s emerging designers and unites them with our most respected educators and designers from leading design practices,” says Jo-Ann Kellock, CEO of the DIA. “The graduates presented projects with an expansive scope and ambition, spanning diverse mediums. They proposed human-centred design solutions focusing on behaviours, technology, our environment and our impact on emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing.”

This year’s graduates also demonstrated a keen understanding of sustainability and responsible design practices. Their designs focused on ideas of repurposing and environmentally friendly ways of thinking, exploring approaches which critically engage with the identity and cultural impact of design.

The graduates presented a variety of concepts, technical drawings and prototypes, as well as a demonstrated understanding of commercial viability which underscores their potential to thrive in the design industry.

The GOTYA 2023 panel of jurors consisted of industry figures, including Alena Smith, Csilla Csabai, David Smith, Evan Reeves, Harriet Sutherland, Jack Flanagan, Jan-Marie Jaillei, Jayden Lim, Kate Bednarz, Nicole Gemlitski, Paloma Hodgins, Peter Lambert, Sally Evans, Sara Horstmann, Spiroula Stathakis, and Timothy Wilkinson.

Here we share the Australian Graduates of the Year Awards 2023 Major Category Winners:

  • Gabrielle Versace – Interact Category Winner, Higher Education
  • Isobel Baker – Use Category Winner, Higher Education
  • Joanne Odisho – Use Category Winner, Vocational
  • Kate Masters – Place Category Winner, Vocational
  • Sandra Srun – Place Category Winner, Higher Education
  • Zoey Portilla – Interact Category Winner, Vocational

State Graduates of the Year Awards 2023 Winners:

  • Elena-Dea Burger – WA Graduate of the Year
  • Jamieson Davis – SA / NT Graduate of the Year,
  • Joanne Odisho – VIC / TAS Graduate of the Year,
  • Liam Georgeson – QLD Graduate of the Year
  • Sandra Srun – NSW / ACT Graduate of the Year

The excitement is not over yet, with the Madeleine Lester Award 2023 recipient to be announced on 2 November in Sydney, coinciding with the Designers Australia Awards 2023 major category winners and the President’s Prize recipient.


GOTYA is the DIA’s premier program for emerging designers, designed to support and celebrate exceptional Australian designers as they embark on their professional journeys. Initiated in 2005, this program offers tertiary institutions and design graduates invaluable, real-life feedback from experienced designers and industry figures.


Zoey Portilla.

We think you might like this article about INDE.Awards The Graduate winner Sam Hodgens.

INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed