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New mace designed for Dubai graduations

Monday, 06 December, 2004

University of Wollongong honours student Clare Cochrane has designed UOW in Dubai's new mace, to be used for the Dubai graduation ceremonies. The mace, made of glass, mild steel and gold, has been designed to represent sand dunes, falcon wings and a dome. Historically, the use of a mace dates back to the middle ages and was carried before or placed near a magistrate or other dignitary as an ensign of authority. At graduation ceremonies, the mace leads the academic procession. A mace is usually made of silver, gold and/or oak and depicts various University symbols. From its modest beginning in 1993, UOW in Dubai has grown to facilitate approximately 1,800 students enrolled in a range of English, undergraduate and postgraduate programs. UOW in Dubai is an English speaking facility located in the United Arab Emirates (found between Saudi Arabia and Oman with a coastline along the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman) where students receive the benefit of a western education with access to the considerable resources of the University of Wollongong. Project manager, Clare Cochrane, says that in considering the design of the mace, it was essential to represent a link between the Australian and United Arab Emirates cultures. "The University of Wollongong and the UAE are committed to development, progression and innovation; it is as such that the mace represents an interwoven balance of power and dynamism," she said. Clare said that the mild steel in the mace is representative of strength, power and knowledge while the fragments of wings in flight symbolise the flight of learning and the acquisition of wisdom. "The design of the wings was based on the falcon, a majestic bird of prey strongly associated with the UAE and its people. It also represents UOW's commitment to independence," she said. The dome image on the mace is representative of a shelter or a cover, and a place to draw wisdom and knowledge from.The mace is also crowned with the University's coat of arms. "The principal elements incorporated in the Arms of the University are the blue of the sea, the gold of the sand and the red of the Illawarra flame tree." The mace took six weeks to create, with the help of Creative Arts Technical Officer Didier Balez who was responsible for the metalwork and forgery, and Elke Wilkens who was the glass artist for the project. "Dallas Hall made and designed the box that the mace lies in," Mr Balez said. "The wood is red ceder and was salvaged from a building in Sydney. We found an engraving on the wood with the year of 1882 -- a year in which red ceder was logged in the Illawarra. Evidently, it's very old wood." Jimani Engraving in Dapto also assisted in the project.

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