In pictures: Design Innovation students unveil their projects in Moray


Return of the Winter School projects

The spirit of Winter School returned to the GSA’s Highlands and Islands Creative Campus this week with. Glasgow-based MDES Design Innovation students travelled north to join their Forres counterparts for a special session to present the outcomes of their group projects.

The projects started at Winter School in January when teams of students worked with community groups and businesses from the Moray area to explore the theme of Innovation from Tradition. You can read more about Winter School and what happened in our blogs from the event, or watch the film here.

The local organisations were invited back to the campus this week to see the outcomes, give their feedback and discuss how the findings could be used in the future. The event on Tuesday involved presentations from 12 groups, covering subjects including arts, music, food and drink and the third sector.

There was also an exhibition of the project summaries, which were exhibited in the GSA’s Reid Building last month.

Presentation audience

The audience at the MDES student presentations at GSA Highlands and Islands. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Forres-based MDES group with community organisations

The Forres-based MDES students with Jackie Mclaren, of tsiMORAY (third from left) and Debbie Heron, of FACT (third from right). Image credit: Paul Campbell

Projects proposed included immersive visitor experiences at Knockando Woolmill; a service to match volunteers with suitable experiences, a whisky subscription box and a festival to encourage more civic participation.

The community and business organisations were impressed to hear the progress that the students had made.

Knockando Woolmill student group

Julie Schack Petersen and Junyuan Chen with Emma Nicolson, Marketing and Merchandising Manager at Knockando Woolmill (centre). Image credit: Paul Campbell

Students presenting Johnstons of Elgin project

Puja Parekh and Andrea Farias present their project, Re-imagining Johnstons of Elgin. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Now the students are in the final stage of their programmes: their final solo project. Their work will continue throughout the summer, culminating in their projects being shown at Graduate Degree Show on 1-8 September.

To find out more about studying Design Innovation, visit our Teaching pages.

Student project summaries on display

Project summaries on display at GSA Highlands and Islands. Image credit: Paul Campbell


Design Innovation students return to Moray to present their projects


Businesses and community organisations looking forward to hearing progress after Winter School

The Glasgow School of Art’s Design Innovation Masters students will present their end of semester projects at the GSA’s new Highlands and Islands Creative Campus later this month. The projects address a range of issues relating to Moray businesses and communities.

People from Moray-based organisations will attend the presentations on Tuesday 6th June to give feedback and explore how students’ ideas can be taken forward in the future.

The group of 22 students includes the first cohort to have attended the GSA’s Altyre campus since it opened last year.

Knockando Woolmill project

Student presentation material from Winter School 2017. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Students have addressed the theme of “Innovation from Tradition”, and have worked with a number of businesses and community groups including Knockando Woolmill, Johnstons of Elgin, and tsiMORAY. Students worked in teams to address various areas such as Craft and Making, Spirituality and Belief, Music and the Arts, and Community and the Economy.

They addressed research questions including:

– How can Johnstons of Elgin leverage its history, traditions and assets to generate new value?

– How can volunteering act as a two-way bridge between Syrian New Scots and the Forres community?

The Innovation from Tradition theme was launched during Winter School 2017: the GSA’s pioneering annual teaching event held at the campus.

Student presentations Winter School 2017

Material from the students’ presentation at Winter School 2017. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Students on Design Innovation Masters programmes worked alongside counterparts from Köln International School of Design (KISD) in Germany, and the Royal Academy of Art & Design (KADK) in Denmark, to frame research questions related to the local Moray community.

Through their studio work, students went on to investigate the role of ‘social design’ to engage with people, and the role of designers as innovators in the service of wider society.

Emma Nicolson, Marketing and Merchandising Manager at Knockando Woolmill, said: “It has been great to continue working with the international students and have them trial ideas at the Woolmill. It was interesting to see the interaction of the public with the prototypes they installed, and I am looking forward to seeing their findings in the final presentations.

“It will be exciting to see the full journey the project has taken from the initial research we saw back in January.”

Jackie Maclaren, Operations Manager at tsiMORAY, added: “Having met and worked with students from The Glasgow School of Art over the last few months, staff at tsiMORAY look forward with great interest to the outcomes of their projects. It has been truly refreshing and inspiring to have been involved with their creativity and innovation. We look forward to continued partnership working.”

Amy O’Meara, who is on the Design Innovation and Service Design programme, said: “Winter School was an immersive learning experience, which saw us engaging with various heritage organisations across the Moray region. The relationships we forged with these businesses, such as Knockando Woolmill and Johnstons of Elgin, either led directly to exciting design collaborations or informed how our project took shape throughout the term.

“Innovation from Tradition was the overarching theme that acted as a catalyst to propel our projects forward and also motivate us to extend the limits of our practice. Exploring how traditions could be innovated in the contexts of our projects was challenging but also hugely rewarding, giving meaning to our roles as Design Innovation Masters students.”

GSA Highlands and Islands

GSA Highlands and Islands. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Design Innovation lecturer Dr Brian Dixon commented: “Many of our students have explored aspects of the Scotland’s rich social and cultural heritage that are often taken for granted or overlooked. For example, the production of wool and cashmere, or community volunteering. As the projects have developed, we’ve found that, in many cases, partner organisations have really benefitted from the opportunity to reflect, take stock and recognise the potential of what’s already there.”

And to find out just what happened at Winter School please watch our film. There’s also more information about the two-week event in our collection of blogs.

You can find more information on our pages about the Design Innovation Masters programmes and GSA’s new Highlands and Islands Creative Campus.

 


Bridging the volunteer gap


An update on the Forres students’ project

Our pioneering MDES Design Innovation students in Forres have reached another milestone in their studies – completion and presentation of their Stage 2 project.

This is the project that has its roots in Winter School, when Masters students from GSA worked with local businesses and community organisations.

The students worked to a research question of: “How can volunteering act as a two-way bridge between Syrian New Scots and the Forres community?”. They then engaged in an immersive research and design development phase with local groups. During this time the focus shifted from refugees themselves to volunteering practices in Moray.

You can read about the earlier stages of the project in our previous blog, Life at the Creative Campus: the teaching studio.

During their research activity, the students identified that the number of organisations in Scotland that rely on volunteers has rapidly increased and it is not uncommon for job seekers to find themselves being “voluntold”, i.e. forced to take a volunteering placement in order to receive their benefit package.

MDES volunteering

The Forres MDES students do some volunteering.

The students identified that this is in opposition to the very ethos of volunteering and that having not freely elected to volunteer, voluntolds are difficult to place. This creates challenges across recruitment, engagement and retention.

Addressing the challenge

To address this challenge, the students proposed a series of design concepts before finally refining their idea. Here one of the students, Finn describes their proposal in more detail:

“Bridge was designed to meet the challenges of ‘voluntelling’ as experienced by Scotland’s third sector. 

“Bridge is a service for connecting volunteers and volunteer organisations, through mini-experiences: short taster sessions offered by an organisation. It uses digital moodboards, an emotive collage of volunteer’s skills and interests or of an organisation’s experiences and values, to create an audial and visual profile. This profile can then be used to match or recommend mini-experiences based upon personal preferences, creating the opportunity for people to make an informed choice about which organisations they would like to work with and bringing freedom back to Scotland’s voluntary sector. 

“Volunteers placed within a context that they identify with and enjoy are more likely to make a valuable and sustainable contribution. Similarly, reducing the challenge of recruitment and retention of suitable volunteers could potentially have been both financial and time-saving impacts for organisations. 

“Bridge has an easy-to-use interface and can be downloaded as an app or used at pop-up events. As volunteers build up their portfolio of ‘mini-experiences’, this contributes to their work experience profile and can support them in future job-seeking.”

Communicating a concept is an important design skill and the students worked hard to refine their project into a clear and articulate message that was presented to the wider teaching and academic cohort at GSA’s Creative Campus.

Next steps

It’s now hoped that the idea could be disseminated by Scotland’s Third Sector Interface Network.

In addition, the students have recently submitted their project process journals (PPJs), a reflective record of their individual personal journal through the project for final assessment. The PPJs document the highs and lows of design activity, including any thoughts, ideas and decisions made throughout the 12-week project and are an important part of the learning experience.

The students are now working towards further dissemination of Bridge: first, a group exhibition to be held in Glasgow on May 22 with their MDES counterparts in Glasgow, and a final presentation on June 6 that will welcome the businesses and community organisations back to see the final concepts that have been developed.

To find out more about our MDES programmes, visit our Teaching pages on our website.

MDES student presentation

The MDES students giving their presentation at GSA Highlands and Islands. Image credit: Jane Candlish


Why you should visit this Moray social enterprise


Join a new collaboration with the community on Saturday

In our recent blog about the Teaching Studio at the Creative Campus in the Highlands and Islands, we discussed how our students are beginning to form strong ties with the local community.

Collaboration with local businesses and organisations is a central aspect of the MDes Design Innovation programmes, and provides invaluable experience for the students’ future careers.

Now, an event on Saturday (April 15) shows how GSA’s design students and local citizens can work together. Moray Waste Busters is hosting a pop-up café at their premises near Forres from 10am-3pm.

Here Finn Fullarton-Pegg, studying Design Innovation and Transformation Design at the Creative Campus, tells the InDI blog more about the project.

Finn Fullarton-Pegg

“Moray Waste Busters (MWB) is a fascinating organisation to work with. Their business model takes used household and garden items, ensure their quality before resale, and pours the proceeds back into the local community: turning trash into social capital.

“MWB has plans to diversify their re-use/recycle operation to cover more than furniture and electrical equipment, as well as continuing to provide a fun day out for their customers.

“As part of a wider collaboration between InDI’s Fergus Fullarton Pegg and Waste Busters, I’ve spent the past two months working with some of the staff. Together we’ve been exploring their visions for Waste Busters’ future, and the role that design can play in bringing those visions to life.

“One common suggestion among staff has been to open a café in partnership with another local social enterprise, Ray’s Opportunities. This organisation has a similar ethos to MWB, providing disadvantaged adults with the opportunity to learn a trade in a community café.

“The possibility of opening a café at MWB raises important questions, including: ‘Will this add to, or detract from, the familiar Waste Busters experience?’ At this point, design practice urges us to be adventurous, to prototype early and discover the successes and failures of ideas quickly.

“So on Easter Saturday (April 15), Moray Waste Busters is teaming up with Ray’s Opportunities to host a pop-up café for the public.

“The two social enterprises are working together to combine the adventure of bargain hunting with Ray’s delicious coffee and cake.

“As well as promising to be a fun day out for everyone who comes down, the café is also intended as a platform for engaging the public in Waste Busters’ future plans.

“And it’s an opportunity for the staff at Waste Busters to experiment with what kind of cafe they would like to see on their site in the future. All the furnishings and adornments will be taken from the venture’s extensive store of secondhand items. None of us know what the café will end up looking like but I think we can expect something eclectic, kitsch and vintage.”

The event takes place at Moray Waste Busters on Saturday from 10am-3pm.

To find out more about our MDES programmes and how you can apply to study here from September, click here.

Moray Waste Busters pop-up cafe poster


Life at the Creative Campus: the teaching studio


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


Seasonal Schools: an innovative teaching method


Research and Teaching on location at the GSA Highlands and Islands

InDI is proud of its teaching and research activities that support postgraduate students, researchers and academics. They offer an excellent chance to meet others in your field and learn about their experiences.

With the deadline for applications for Summer School 2017 in Lancaster extended until April 7, we’re reflecting on our Seasonal Schools and what they offer the people who take part.

InDI offers two main seasonal schools throughout the year: Winter School and Summer School.

Summer School

Organised by the Leapfrog team, the Summer School programme aims to help early career researchers to develop their skills. The three-day event includes a programme of lectures and discussions as well as sharing work and ideas.

Last year’s event was the first and took place in Forres, exploring action research with delegates from across the UK and overseas.

Leapfrog Summer School on the beach.

Leapfrog Summer School on Findhorn beach.

Applications for 2017 are open until Friday April 7. The event, from July 11-13, will take place at Lancaster University, where our Leapfrog partners, ImaginationLancaster, are based. The programme, titled Exploring Community Engagement for Research: Power, Impact and Collaborationwill share methods and insights around effective engagement and evidence the impact of these approaches. Professor Rachel Cooper OBE, Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy at Lancaster University, will give a keynote.

Delegates will take part in a series of presentations, discussions and workshops to enrich their understanding and applications of community engagement in a wide range of research contexts.

This video of the 2016 event gives a flavour of the Leapfrog Summer School:

Leapfrog Summer School 2016: Action Research, Engagement, & Co-​design from leapfrogtools on Vimeo.

You can find more information about the 2017 event and download an application pack on the Leapfrog website.

Winter School

As you can tell from our recent blogs, Winter School is an action-packed and high profile event.

The two-week residency at GSA Highlands and Islands involves students from our own MDES Design Innovation programmes as well as students from Köln International School of Design (KISD) and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK) in Copenhagen. The international element is boosted by faculty from all over the world, who provide enlightening talks for the students.

Winter School 2018 will also involve students from Audencia Business School in France. Audencia and InDI have collaborated to develop an exciting MSc programme in Management and Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy. Led by Audencia, the programme launches in September 2017. GSA faculty members will teach one-third of the classes – and the two-week international Winter School at the GSA Highlands and Islands Creative Campus, is a highlight of the programme.

Jenny Houldsworth speaks to Winter School students

Jenny Houldsworth from Johnstons of Elgin speaks to Winter School students

The students explore a theme relevant to the local context and work with businesses and community organisations to gain insight into the topic. Working in groups, they explore a design research question. For GSA students, this is the first step in their Stage 2 project.

You can see what we got up to at Winter School 2017 in this video:

Winter School 2017 from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.

For more information about Winter School, please contact Dr Gordon Hush, [email protected]


Watch Winter School 2017: the official film


Relive the spirit of Winter School

Our new film gives you a flavour of our recent Winter School, which brought together around 100 leading international design experts, researchers and students to the GSA’s Highlands and Islands Creative Campus in Moray. 

It shows all the sights and sounds – and the people – who took part in the hugely successful event. There’s some spectacular shots of our new campus and even a bit of ceilidh dancing!

Led by InDI, Winter School is one of the highlights of the GSA’s academic calendar. The two-week programme, which runs every January, includes lectures, workshops, research and joint projects with local businesses and communities. Students and academics explore themes rooted in the local context but with global resonances.

The theme this year was Innovation from Tradition, which explores how past tradition can inspire future ways of working and, in particular, the role that design can play.

Our guest speakers travelled from across the world to take part, including Portugal, Italy, the US, India and Singapore.

Postgraduate students from the GSA’s Masters students on Design Innovation and Communication Design programmes were joined by students from Köln International School of Design (KISD) and KADK (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation). 

Winter School 2017 from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.


Design Innovation student projects launched following Winter School


Sharing the results of our work

Winter School 2017 may have drawn to a close, but it is only the beginning of the journey for many of the students who took part. Student projects, which were developed at the Winter School, have now launched 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.

Knockando Woolmill project

Student work from the project with Knockando Woolmill. Image credit: Paul Campbell

The Winter School saw around 100 leading international design experts, researchers and students from across the world come to the GSA’s Highlands and Islands Creative Campus to frame research questions and projects relevant to the region. Students from Köln International School of Design (KISD), and KADK (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation) joined GSA students to work with local businesses and communities to develop project themes.

A host of businesses and community groups took part including:
Findhorn Bay Arts
Johnstons of Elgin
Pluscarden Abbey
Ballindalloch Distillery
Knockando Woolmill
The Altyre Estate
Piping at Forres
Forres Area Community Trust
Third Sector Interface Moray
Forsyths
The Burghead Clavie
Findhorn Foundation
Gordon & McPhail
Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere Project

Students addressed a variety of themes with local people:
– Music and the Arts
– Community and Economy
– House, Home and Hearth
– Food and Drink
– Spirituality and Belief
– Community and Economy
– History, Fantasy and Myth

Hear what Jenny Houldsworth, Culture and Communication Manager at Johnstons of Elgin, had to say about working with the students:

Why Winter School 2017 was full of “happy surprises” for one business from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.

In our next blog, we’ll share two of the students project with you. Other Winter School blogs can be found here.

To read more about Winter School and our other Seasonal Schools, see our pages on InDI web.

 

Community and business representatives arrive for Winter School

Community and business representatives who worked with our Winter School students. Image credit: Paul Campbell