Where are they now?

Celebrating Ten Years of Top Designs at Melbourne Museum

Former Top Designs students have gone on to do some incredible work within design related fields. Top Designs is a path into broader design networks and careers for many students.

The following former exhibitors have photographs of their current work represented in the exhibition.

Warwick Perrin

Top Designs 2009 – Visual Communication and Design, St Leonard’s College

An aptitude for sketching and creating led Warwick Perrin to study industrial design at RMIT University, Melbourne. Graduating in 2012, Warwick has developed concepts and product designs for electronic devices, interactive interfaces, and public furniture over the course of his degree.

Since 2003, Warwick has found inspiration and acquired significant knowledge of silicone rubber molding and metal fabrication skills from working part-time at Perrin Sculpture Foundry, a fine-art foundry in Melbourne. Proficient in the processes of cast sculpture, Warwick has honed his skills in the method of lost-wax casting for one-off and limited edition artworks and designs in bronze.

Warwick’s major project for the Interactive Systems studio explored the design and development of a musical interface for the creation of experimental percussive sound generation. This project looked into the expressive possibilities of interactive sound in design.

As an emerging designer Warwick aims to foster an artisan approach to design and establish himself within the Australian and International design industry through combining his passions for ideas, designing and making.


Kathleen McKinna

Top Designs 2008: Food and Technology, Toorak College, Mount Eliza

"Since finishing high school I have completed Certificate IV in Patisserie at William Angliss Institute, which along with industry placement hours, gave me the qualification of Pastry Chef. This lead me into a current part-time job as a pastry chef in a patisserie on the Mornington Peninsula, work that has enabled me to refine my skills and gain further valuable experience.

Once I finished my pastry course I transferred across to Academy Sofitel, at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, to further complement my hospitality skills. This is where I am currently studying the Advanced Diploma of Hospitality management. In the course I am given both theory and practical hands on experience within the hotel. Along with my studies I also work as a waitress in a small restaurant on the Peninsula, which has given me great insight into how the industry works on a small scale, in great contrast to the work I am doing at the Sofitel. I have been able to enhance my pastry skills by catering, producing various types of desserts and pastries, at special functions held at the restaurant and for private customers. This I especially enjoy because I can be creative. 

I will continue to learn and develop my skills, while I’m young, by gaining as much industry experience as I can. In the future opening a catering business will allow me to add more creativity and depth to my ability, with the view to eventually opening my own patisserie."


David Ward

Top Designs 2008: Media-Film, Caulfield Grammar School, Wheelers Hill

Since participating in the 2008 Top Designs exhibition, David Ward has undertaken and completed studies for his Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment (Animation) at Qantm College, Melbourne.

During his course he created visual effects for the short film 'The Body Watchers'. He also created his first animated short film, entitled 'Ewe Snooze, Ewe Lose', which was selected for the YoungCuts Film Festival in Montreal, Canada, and nominated for best 'Under the Radar' short film in the 2010 St Kilda Film Festival.

After completing a semester-long internship at Melbourne post-production house MRPPP, and a subsequent stint as a freelance artist, he took up a full-time position as a 3D artist for TV commercials at their South Melbourne studio in 2011. Since then, MRPPP has joined with Method Studios, part of the multi-national Deluxe brand. While working at Method Studios, David has worked on numerous high profile TVCs featured locally and internationally, with clients including Birdseye, SBS, Fox Sports, Kellogg's, Coles, Telstra, Holden & Fanta.



Genevieve Kulesza

Top Designs 2007: Design and Technology, Glen Waverley Secondary College, Glen Waverley

A lifelong fascination with colour, creatures and creating led Genevieve Kulesza to a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) degree at RMIT University, where she graduated with First Class Honours in 2010. Genevieve has received national recognition for her designs, presenting her graduate collection ‘Swarm’ at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2010. Leading global trend-analysis website WGSN described her designs as an ‘exuberant… explosion of colour and texture’. In 2010, she was awarded second place in the National Finals of the Triumph Inspiration Lingerie Awards. Genevieve was also selection for the prestigious National Graduate Show, a highlight of the 2011 L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival. Her designs were exhibited in Melbourne Museum for the Top Designs exhibition in 2007 as well as the Retrospective in 2009. 

After completing an internship in 2011, she continues to live and work in Berlin as a freelance Fashion Sales Agent during Paris Fashion Week and a Production Assistant. She currently works with fashion labels c.neeon and Starstyling, and enjoys printing her own textiles in her spare time. Genevieve revels in exploring a range of art and design pathways extending far beyond the realms of fashion.



Isabel Young

Top Designs 2006: Visual Communication and Design, Wangaratta High School, Wangaratta

Isabel Young grew up in King Valley NE Victoria, attending Wangaratta High School where her VCE subjects were Art, Photography, Graphic Design and Wood Technology. A toss up between Ceramics and Textile Design, Isabel chose a Diploma in Textile Design at RMIT which she completed in 2009. She was a Warwick Dreamweaver award finalist and Silk Trader award finalist. Currently working part-time at Rodriquez screen printing warehouse, she has enrolled in the Advanced Diploma of Textile Design. Isabel plans to start up her own textile design workshop.


Chris Murphy

Top Designs 2005: Visual Communication and Design, St Leonard’s College, Brighton East

"Midway through high school I discovered a strong passion for creativity, and began my progression towards a career within the design industry.  After graduating from St. Leonard’s College in 2004, my visual communication design folio was selected to be exhibited in the Top Designs exhibition of the same year.  The following year I began my Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) at Swinburne University of technology and graduated in 2008.  During my studies I worked as a freelance designer, and along with two of my peers began exploring the idea of establishing our own design studio. 

In early 2009 this plan came to life as Motherbird, a young Communication Design studio. Our work includes; Art Direction, branding & identity, advertising, print material, signage, illustration, photography web and digital design for a diverse range of clients working on both large and small projects. 

Over the coming years our objectives are to continue developing as designers, further establish ourselves within the Australian and international design industry, and keep having fun with design."



Mia Timpano

Top Designs 2002: Media – Film exhibitor, Melbourne Girls’ College, Richmond

Mia has been a writer for a juggernaut of magazine titles, including Frankie, Russh (Australia & Japan), Cosmopolitan, Empire, Republik (Romania), Jmag and Men’s Style. She has also thrown words together for book publisher Allen & Unwin, Fremantle Media (producers of Masterchef, Idol, Neighbours etc), Renegade Productions (producers of Rockwiz etc.) and a toy production company in Singapore. She has been a lecturer for Swinburne University, a presenter for Triple R FM and speaks five languages plus English, which is ironic since she hates speaking to everyone and has no friends per se. Her latest document subject is Megadeth.

"What Top Designs signified to me personally? I actually wanted to make Top Designs with a kind of raging psycopathic intensity, which may sound excessive, but there really was no greater achievement at the time, so it was basically a fireball of victory over everyone."


Darcy Prendergast

Top Designs 2004: Media – Film, Mowbray College, Melton

From his humble beginnings drawing on the living room walls, to making clay body parts to entertain mates in art class, Darcy Prendergast’s skills have grown enormously. Practically raised by stop motion cartoons, Darcy mixes a gritty animated style with a twisted sense of humour to form a juggernaut of entertainment and controversy. Being one of Melbourne's most exciting young directors, he continues to travel the globe in some of the world’s largest film festivals. Now running his own clay animation business ‘Dee Pee Studios’ in Melbourne, Darcy continues to push the boundaries of Clay Animation to unnerving new heights… We still haven’t figured out if that’s a good thing.
Darcy was a lead sculptor, assistant animator and model maker on 'Mary and Max', Lectures at RMIT BAIM, 2 time Annecy selected director, Nescafe Big Break winner, Animation director of several short films.


Katherine Horseman

Top Designs 2001: Visual Communication and Design, St Paul’s Anglican Grammar, Warragul

From age 11 when she first subscribed to Vogue Living, Katherine knew that Interior Design was her passion. She graduated from St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School, Warragul in 2000 and exhibited in Top Designs and performed in Top Class. She also represented Victoria for costume design at the National Shakespeare Festival in Canberra, 2000. In 2001 she was accepted into RMIT University and after taking a year off to complete a performing arts course in 2002, graduated with a Bachelor of Design, Interior Design in 2005. Katherine began working at the National Gallery of Victoria as an Assistant Exhibition Designer in 2006 and has since progressed to the role of Exhibition Designer. During that time she has enjoyed collaborating on many large exhibitions including Australian Impressionism and Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now and has more recently lead her own projects including No standing only dancing: Photographs by Rennie Ellis, which received a highly commended award in the 2009 Dulux Colour Awards.

"I’ll never forget walking into Top Designs and seeing my work on display; in that moment all of the hard work of the past year, the time spent developing and refining my ideas, it was all worth it."


Susannah Wimberley

Top Designs 2004: Media – Photography, Frankston High School, Frankston

Susannah Wimberley is a freelance photographer based in Sydney who works as a stills photographer and preview assistant in the film industry and in digital post production. After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Photography at RMIT University, Melbourne Susannah has worked as a Preview Assistant on Baz Lurhmann's Australia (2008) and on Wolverine: Origins (2009). Recently she has worked as the stills photographer for numerous Australian short films and video clips including The Scare's Could be bad (2009), Philadelphia Grand Jury's The Good News (2009), The Clearing (2009) and Mongrel's Creed (2009). She also is currently working on a series of high concept portraits of contemporary Australian performers.

"Being selected for Top Designs provided me with the confidence to pursue my passion for photography as a profession."


Stephen Backway

Top Designs 2003: Systems and Technology, Upwey High School, Upwey

"Systems and Technology provided skills and knowledge that were highly useful for my Engineering Degree. My final year thesis was to build a Vector Network Analyser which is a tool utilised in radio frequency engineering to measure the performance of radio equipment. The practical skills learned during Systems and Technology greatly assisted me in the design and construction process. Following on from my Bachelors of Engineering, I started working for the then Department of Infrastructure (DOI) (Now renamed to the Department of Transport [DOT]) in the Rail Engineering Graduate Program (REGP). As part of the REGP, DOI provided time and paid for me to study a Post Graduate Diploma in Railway Signalling, by long distance education through Central Queensland University. Also as part of the REGP I was seconded to various organisations to get practical railway signalling experience.

The Victorian State Government in recent years has endeavoured to improve level crossing safety. As such a lot of my field experience has been the installation and testing of level crossing controls. Through the last 3 years I have been involved with various upgrades to the control system, including the removal of Spencer St signal box."