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Carl Nielsen was born in Australia in 1930. He completed an Industrial Design Diploma at Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT) in 1952. He moved to Sydney, first working as a photographer, then in furniture and construction and then as a design assistant at Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) Ltd. After a few years working in London, Nielsen returned to Australia to set up his own design business in 1960. In 1965 Nielsen was elected Federal President of the newly established Industrial Design Institute of Australia (DIA) and he also began teaching at University of New South Wales (UNSW). In the 1970s his company became Nielsen Design Associates Pty Ltd (NDA) and produced many notable products. His spouse Judy Sternberg worked at NDA as a director/business manager. Nielsen became more involved in design education and in 1976 he was appointed as Head of Industrial Design and Principal Lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts (SCA). In 1984 he and his wife Judy resigned as Directors of NDA though the company continued. Nielsen completed a Masters degree at SCA before the design school was amalgamated with the Sydney Institute of Technology to become the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Nielsen was appointed Associate Professor in the Design Faculty at UTS. In 1990 Nielsen was a founding councillor of the Australian Academy of Design and in 1992 he was elected Life Fellow of the Industrial Design Institute of Australia. Nielsen retired from teaching at UTS in 1999, and was appointed an Adjunct Professor from 2000-2003.

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