Life at the Creative Campus: the teaching studio

MDES student blog

An insight into learning and teaching on our MDES programmes

It was always part of the plan for the Creative Campus in the Highlands and Islands to bring postgraduate students to the region for Design Innovation programmes.

There are currently three Master of Design Innovation programmes based in the north: Transformation Design, Collaborative Creativity, and Interaction Design. Information on the courses and how to apply is available via the links.

A small group of students are pioneering the MDES Design Innovation at the Creative Campus during this first year: an exciting time for all involved.

But the location offers unique opportunities for the group.

MDES teaching studio

One of our MDES students Poopak with tutor George Jaramillo in the Forres studio. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Studio lead for this session is Leigh-Anne Hepburn, a Research Fellow who works with the Experience Labs. Here she tells the InDI blog about some of the students’ recent activities.

“Our Forres-based students attended Winter School 2017 in January, working alongside their Glasgow counterparts for the first time. This was a great chance for them to meet others going through the same experience.

“After this busy two-week event, they went straight into their Stage 2 group project and were tasked with writing a brief. This is a critical design skill and offered a unique opportunity for them to shape the direction of their study.

“Under the theme, Innovation from Tradition, the group considered the individual concepts developed during Winter School – of transient communities and the role of third sector volunteering – and worked to develop a shared direction.

Student presenting to group

MDES student Yara presenting her team’s project at Winter School 2017. Image credit: Paul Campbell

“This is essentially a live project and the students are encouraged to go out and actively engage with local stakeholders. Luckily the people of Moray are very receptive to the musings of MDES students!

“As an international group, they were particularly interested in exploring the refugee experience of moving to Forres and the potential role volunteering could play in supporting community integration. After identifying key stakeholders, the students build a strong connection with partner organisations during their field research.

“When you are working with participants who are enthusiastic about design – and who can see the real potential for change it offers – you want to deliver the best possible outcome and create some value in return. Our students had the chance to do this when they ran their first co-design workshop, ‘Designing your volunteer experience’ last month. Created in partnership with tsiMORAY for the organisations’s conference for the third sector, Join the Dots, the workshop was attended by more than 20 people. Delivering a participatory workshop is an exciting and immersive experience and our students were delighted that it went so well.

Scenario tool

One of the scenario tools created by the MDES students for the workshop. Image credit: Leigh-Anne Hepburn

“Every rich story and anecdote gathered during field research offers new insight and it’s tempting to keep listening instead of moving towards designing solutions. This is especially true of the fast-paced 12 week project that the students have embarked on. However, after this intense period of research, our students have begun to identify the key insights and are designing some exciting final concepts.

“In the middle of all this, we travelled to Glasgow to join the wider MDES student and staff cohort for interim reviews. These presentations give students an opportunity to share the journey of their project and emerging design concepts, receiving some essential critical feedback and peer review in return.

“And in addition to the studio project, the students have also begun working on their specialisms, with expert input from teaching staff across GSA. It’s a real team effort.”

Recruitment is ongoing for our MDES programmes starting in September 2017 in Forres and Glasgow – and there are funded places available. Click here to find out more on the GSA’s website.

Also, the GSA and Digital Health & Care Institute are offering a limited number of funded places on the Master of Research programme to students exploring health-related topics. Find out more on the GSA’s website.

MDES students conference workshop

MDES students who led the workshop at the tsiMoray conference. Image credit: Leigh-Anne Hepburn

*Featured image by Paul Campbell

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This post was written by InDI

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