Winter School 2017: Working with Moray businesses

Sharing our students work

Here the InDI blog showcases two of the student projects started at Winter School 2017. The projects are now ongoing as part of the curriculum within the GSA’s Masters of Design Innovation Programmes.

This year’s theme is Innovation from Tradition, which explores how past tradition can inspire future ways of working, and the role that design can play.

Students will continue their studies and collaborations for the next three months around themes relating to life and work in the Highlands and Islands and Moray.

A student looking at Winter School projects

Contemplating the Winter School 2017 work. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Theme: Community and Economy
Community groups:  tsiMORAY (Third Sector Interface Moray) and FACT (Forres Area Community Trust)

MDES Design Innovation and Citizenship student Juan Pablo Ortiz explains how his group approached this theme:

For the two weeks of the Winter School I was placed in a group with two other students from my specialisation and two students from the Masters in Forres.

The first week was dedicated to understanding what they do and how they work: the varied and complex system of the third sector and its particular activeness and importance in the area.

Having this mapped out, both conceptually and geographically, we identified volunteering and communication as the areas to focus on.

Group of students

MDES Design Innovation and Citizenship student Juan Pablo Ortiz and his group at Winter School 2017. 

During the second week, we defined a question as a starting point for our second stage project:

How could current knowledge transfer systems be transformed for the enablement of more sustainable and inclusive volunteering in Moray?

Over the last two days, we planned and built an exhibition to show our findings. We created a frame with three maps of Moray representing the theme and our findings. The maps covered three aspects related to the theme:

– Individual: represented through a diffused map using tea bags as a metaphor of the individual knowledge that spreads in the right conditions, and the dialogue tool to allow conversations.
– Organisational: represented through a map with strings of different thickness as the links between the organisations, showing also how this covers geographical areas.
– Macro: represented through a map with important fact and key words for the Moray third sector and economy.

Students' teabag installation

The exhibition piece made by Juan’s group. Image credit: Paul Campbell

What I enjoyed the most about the Winter School was how immersive it was in terms of sharing at a global scale (all the visitors and students from other schools) and at a local scale (the organisations we worked with and the places we visited), and see what is being done around this emerging field of design and its potential.

Debbie Herron, of FACT, said: “We were very excited to be invited to be part of the GSA’s Winter School, as it gave us the opportunity to meet those students that are studying locally as well as those from Glasgow.

“The questions asked and the work the students did enabled us to look at our work differently too and it was very interesting to see how things developed over the Winter School.

“We saw how the students all came at the different projects in such creative ways and the final presentations certainly gave us more information about our area and highlighted new ways of consulting and collecting information from our community. I certainly will be using the techniques in the future.”

Theme: Music and the Arts
Business: Knockando Woolmill

Music and The Arts has a rich history in Scotland and hand-made artefacts and song are intrinsically linked to many Scottish traditions. The scope for design opportunities and innovative solutions within this field was obvious in the project context of “Innovation from Tradition”.

Knockando Woolmill students

Students working with Knockando Woolmill getting ready for the presentation. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Students from Service Design worked with Knockando Woolmill. Here, Amy O’Meara shares how their collaboration will inform their future studies relevant to the region.

Through Winter School we worked with Knockando Woolmill, an 18th-century wool and textile mill within the Spey Valley. At the site, we were led on a comprehensive tour and met with some of the staff.

Coming out of the visit, a key insight we noticed was that Knockando functions as both a traditional production site while also being a tourist and heritage attraction, and as such there is a delicate balance within Knockando as a business. Further investigation may also involve what relationship Knockando has within the local community, in terms of engagement with local citizens.

We finished Winter School with a research question that aims to investigate the balance between tourism and production at Knockando. We aim to incorporate our theme of ‘music and the arts’ in terms of craft and production, in order to make it relevant to our them.

Knockando Woolmill spindles

The Knockando Woolmill project. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Emma Nicolson, Marketing and Merchandising Manager from Knockando Woolmill said: “It has been fantastic to work with the international students for their Winter School project, and have them explore the Woolmill site. It was interesting to see their interpretation of the Woolmill through their fresh eyes, and the potential challenges they identified in their exhibition.

“It will be exciting to see how the students expand on their initial research, and what modern design solutions they might suggest for our historical site.”

For more information, check out Knockando’s blog

For more information on Winter School please contact Dr Gordon Hush, g.hush@gsa.ac.uk

 

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