Sites, scents and a sense of self

Looking back at Spring School 2017

GSA Highlands & Islands recently hosted the annual Spring School at the Creative Campus.

The seasonal schools for postgraduate research students – Winter, Spring and Autumn – are an important part of our innovative modes of distributed delivery.

InDI’s Master of Research and PhD students make up the Creative Campus Cohort. Students with shared interests work together to evolve Design Innovation methodologies.

Spring School is designed as an opportunity to not only bring the cohort together and build the relationship of the group but to deliver the skills required to be a world class researcher.

This year’s programme included a range of workshops aimed at developing critical writing and research skills. Students engaged in activities based around crystallising their research processes, articulating their own position within their context of inquiry, and reflecting on the multisensory elements of the methods and approaches that they are developing and applying.

A workshop ‘Artefacts, Sites and Processes’, hosted by Dr Frances Robertson and Mairi Mackenzie, involved object-orientated exercises, including a ‘smell walk’, a sense-driven journey around the Altyre Campus. Each student was also asked to communicate our practices and research contexts through the analysis of everyday objects. 

pots spring school

Objects chosen by the Spring School students to represent their practice. Image credit: Rhona McNicol

Stationary spring school

Objects chosen by the Spring School students to represent their practice. Image credit: Zoe Prosser

Here PhD student Anna Spencer reflects on her experience of the event.

There is a different quality to the cohort schools – being surrounded by a local community to that of being surrounded by your academic peers. This is the fifth school I have attended and I think I am now learning how to navigate them and make the most of the experience.

“Spring School 2017 had a clear developmental arc with specific moments of challenge and input along the way which demonstrated a depth of consideration to the cohorts’ current positions. In particular, the pairing of M.Res. students with PhD students in line with areas of common interest was really rewarding and offers a good precedent for how overlapping cohorts can interact over time with students clustering around shared themes.

“The emphasis of the week was to develop confidence in our sense of self – our practice, our position in the research and how we present this through our writing. Through contemplating site and scent we creatively explored the world views and assumptions we bring to our research. In order to better understand what is right in front of you, it must be viewed indirectly. It can be really liberating to look at your current research and practice through an entirely new lens.”

To read more about Anna’s work and the rest of the PhD students, see our PhD student page. More information about the M.Res. students is available here.

And you can also read about our programme of Seasonal Schools.

Lorianna Smell walk

Lorianna Paradise explores Altyre Estate during the Artefacts, Sites and Processes workshop. Image credit: Rhona McNicol


Water and Textile Interdependency in the Circular Economy

Forres workshop to explore sustainability in the textile industry

Our researchers are hosting a special workshop in Moray on Friday, looking at the development of the circular economy.

The event – Water and Textile Interdependency in the Circular Economy – brings together a range of experts for a day of panels and workshops. There are still places available – you can register here.

The workshop, at Horizon Scotland in Forres, is organised by The Glasgow School of Art in partnership with Aurora Sustainability, of Forres, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

In a circular economy, resources are used and re-used for as long as possible.

Dr Isabella Guerrini de Claire, of Aurora Sustainability, said: “In the sessions we will discuss what it will take to remove barriers, create incentives and unlock global sustainable growth within the textile and materials industry, while reducing or purifying water consumption.

“The businesses that will prosper, in a future of scarce resources, are the ones who master to distinguish between competitive, collaborative and systems innovation. This is key to drive growth, share risk, increase resource efficiency and become more sustainable.”

Scissors and materials

Surplus textile. Image credit: Louise Mather

You can read more of Dr Guerrini de Clare’s work here. She will also chair one of the panels at the Friday event, as will InDI researcher Dr Paul Smith.

Among the guest speakers at the Friday event are Diane Duncan, Head of Low Carbon at HIE; Fleur Ruckley, Project Director of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group; and Lindsay Green, of Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

The morning session includes a series of panels, while in the afternoon there will be a practical workshop involving a circular economy business toolkit for the textile industry – created by Aurora and GSA.

It builds on the Re-Mantle and Make project, which challenged designers to make a circular collar using surplus material donated by local companies. You can read more about Re-Mantle on our blogs or on the project website.

For more information on Friday’s event, visit


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.


Gearing up for XpoNorth

Our adventures at Scotland’s creative industries festival

Everyone at InDI is getting excited about Scotland’s ‘leading creative industries festival’, XpoNorth held in Inverness next week.

The Glasgow School of Art has a packed schedule of panels this year – covering heritage, design, branding and virtual reality.

It’s a great event for the north and everyone had a fantastic time last year when GSA took centre stage at the opening ceremony in the Ironworks, Inverness.

As we prepare for this year’s festival, we thought we’d cast our minds back to the highlights of last year.

Around 400 people packed into the city venue for a night of networking, fashion and digital displays.

The crowd at the XpoNorth 2016 opening party in the Ironworks. Image credit: Hannah Laycock

The crowd at the XpoNorth 2016 opening party in the Ironworks. Image credit: Hannah Laycock

The two-day festival was launched in spectacular style with a series of catwalks featuring designs by GSA fashion students. Models walked through the crowds wearing creations from the students’ white shirt and black silhouette project. The 2nd year students were delighted with the opportunity to display their work in front of so many people.

Meanwhile, heritage work by the GSA’s Digital Design Studio (DDS) (now the School of Simulation and Visualisation) was the backdrop to the evening’s entertainment. A huge screen projected the studio’s work on historical buildings and objects, while the audience was able to explore the technology used at the DDS exhibition.

One model walking through the crowds at the opening party. Image credit: Tim Winterburn

One model walking through the crowds at the opening party. Image credit: Tim Winterburn

Members of the audience also enjoyed displays about the work of the Institute of Design Innovation (InDI) under the Creative Futures Partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, as well as the Creative Campus and the GSA’s postgraduate teaching programmes.

Don McIntyre was our keynote speaker earlier in the day, discussing the emerging discipline of Design Innovation. He’s back this year, chairing a panel with Matteo Alessi, of Alessi, and Lorna Macaulay of the Harris Tweed Authority.

Our panels on design and storytelling prompted lively discussion among the audience, while Dr Paul Smith and Fergus Fullarton Pegg’s work on digital fabrication, including 3D printing and scanning, attracted lots of interest in the technology playground.

You can register for Xpo North on the website.

And you can also find out more about the Glasgow School of Art in the Highlands and Islands here.

XPONorth panel

Don McIntyre on an XPONorth panel in 2016. Image credit: Paul Campbell


InDI at XpoNorth

Our third year at Scotland’s leading creative industries festival

The team at InDI is really looking forward to being part of the line-up for XpoNorth in Inverness next month. Dubbed ‘Scotland’s leading creative industries festival’, this international showcase in the Highlands attracts people from all over the world.

This is the third year that the GSA has contributed to the festival. InDI has been in partnership for many years with funders of XpoNorth, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

This year, InDI’s Dr Gordon Hush and Don McIntyre host panels, which will include figures from across the world of design such as Matteo Alessi, of Italian design house, Alessi.

Matteo Alessi

Matteo Alessi

The GSA’s School of Simulation and Visualisation also has a significant presence with the SimVis team taking part on panels addressing themes around the future of heritage centres and the best use of Virtual Reality. The SimVis team will also present an array of games, demos and 360 films in a Virtual Reality showcase.

Our press release about the event will tell you more about what’s in store. And you can find out more about XpoNorth here.

We hope to see you there!

*Featured image shows Don McIntyre (left) on an XPONorth panel in 2016. Image credit: Paul Campbell.

Dr Gordon Hush portrait

Dr Gordon Hush will host a panel at XPONorth. Image credit: Paul Campbell

Designing the future from Rome

Highlights from the EAD Design for Next Conference

Seven of InDI’s design researchers have recently returned from the European Academy of Design’s Design for Next conference in Rome. Our tenacious team presented nine papers at the event. Here, Dr George Jaramillo shares some of the highlights:

“The ochre buildings of the Corso. The throngs of tourists at the Spanish Steps. The immensity of the Campidoglio. When a city contains beautiful architecture, art, food and people, it should be difficult to keep yourself within an auditorium to take part in a conference. Yet, last week gave us an exciting and intellectually stimulating experience at the EAD12 Design for Next conference.

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps. Image credit: George Jaramillo

“From hearing talks on design democracy to the paradox of design thinking to developing the concepts of space architecture, the conference has opened up some refreshing discussion within the design realm. I particularly enjoyed hearing a talk by Craig Bremner on the Museum of the Future and how we can relate to the artefacts that are made and what it means to make a collective archive that may or may not be on display.

“For me, the key part of attending conferences is to share your work with others who may have differing opinions, as well as create new connections face to face. In this sense the conference provided a great forum for this exchange of information, especially in making new connections, for example, I’ll be picking up conversations with researchers from Sheffield Hallam about the use of digitally augmented heritage and archived collections.

Five of the InDI team in Rome

Our team taking in the sunshine after Day 1. From left, Cara Broadley, Michael Pierre Johnson, Mirian Calvo, Paul Smith, George Jaramillo. Image credit: Sneha Raman

“In regards to our own research, the concept of enlightened evaluation within evaluation complexity and the work of negative capability helps to further our own work.

“Overall, this conference encounter was a great way to share our research meet new people who are doing incredibly fascinating things and to create meaningful international links across our innovation world. I look forward to the next event in two years time in Dundee.”

You can find out more about the papers our researchers presented here.

To find out more about the InDI team, please check out our staff profiles.

Inside view of EAD12

EAD12 Design for Next: a well attended event. Image credit: Sneha Raman


Spreading the word about our latest design research

Where to hear InDI staff during Rome design conference

InDI is buzzing with excitement just now as our researchers have had papers accepted at an esteemed design conference, and will be presenting them later this week.

We are really proud of our design researchers and the valuable work they do in the field of Design Innovation. The European Academy of Design conference, Design for Next, offers an ideal platform to share research carried out by our team, covering a selection of our projects including:

The Creative Futures Partnership: a partnership between GSA and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which brings together GSA’s distinctive strengths in creativity and innovation with HIE’s economic and community development expertise.

– The Experience Labs: a core element of the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), this project provides a safe and creative environment where researchers, businesses, civic partners and service users can collaborate on innovative solutions to the health and care challenges facing our society.

The teams papers include reflections on how bespoke design tools were used in workshops with people in the Northern Isles, a critique of alternative and creative evaluation techniques and the preliminary findings from an Experience Labs project with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

Design for Next takes place in Rome from April 12-14 and will be attended by hundreds of international delegates. The EAD was formed in 1994 and promotes the publication and dissemination of research through conferences, the publication of proceedings, newsletters and journals. It seeks to improve European-wide research collaboration and dissemination of design research.

There are nine different tracks at the Rome conference: aesthetics, economy, education, environment, health, industry, society, technology and thinking. The fact that our researchers are featured across seven of these subjects illustrates the breadth of our work. In total, seven researchers are flying to Rome to present nine papers, but as you can see below many more of the InDI team have been involved in the writing process.

As well as providing a platform for sharing InDI research with a wider audience, events like these are an opportunity to make new contacts, which potentially lead to new ideas and new collaborations.

The event takes place at the Faculty of Architecture of Sapienza University of Rome, in Valle Giulia next to Villa Borghese, one of Rome’s biggest public parks.

EAD Design for Next, Rome

You can hear our researchers at:

Day 1 (Wednesday April 12)
Room 12: 2.35pm –3.35pm*
Design for social sustainability. A reflection on the role of the physical realm in facilitating community co-design – Mirian Calvo* and Annalinda de Rosa

(all local times; presenter in bold)

Day 2 (Thursday April 13)
Room 1: 2.15pm – 3.35pm
Materiality Matters: exploring the use of design tools in innovation workshops within the craft and creative sector in the Northern Isles – Katherine Champion, Cara Broadley and Lynn-Sayers McHattie

Room 2: 9.30am-10.30am
Digital Makers Networks: globally connected local manufacturing – Paul Smith

Room 5: 10.40am- 11.40am
Design-led approach to co-production of values for collective decision-making – Sneha Raman, Tara French and Angela Tulloch.

Day 3 (Friday April 14)
Room 5: 10.40am-11.40am
CO/DEsign: conversational tools for building a shared dialogue around analysis within co-design – Michael Pierre Johnson, Jen Ballie, Tine Thorup, Elizabeth Brooks and Emma Brooks.

Room 6: 2.15pm-3.55pm
Living on the Edge: design artefacts as boundary objects – Michael Pierre Johnson, Jen Ballie, Elizabeth Brooks, Tine Thorup.

Room 9: 9.30am-10.30am
Well Connected: what does design offer in the complexity of the blood donor experience – Tine Thorup, Jen Ballie, Marjan Angoshtari.

Room 12: 10.40am-11.40am
Sustainable Design Futures: an open design approach for the circular economy: Paul Smith, Jen Ballie, Lynn-Sayers McHattie.

Room 17: 2.15pm-3.35pm
Harmonics: towards enlightened evaluation – Katherine Champion and George Jaramillo.

Click here to see the full programme.

And watch this space to keep up to date with how our researchers get on! And don’t forget to follow all the latest snippets on our Twitter account: @InDI_GSA

Re-Mantle and Make: Fashioning a way to a circular economy

The story of Re-Mantle

InDI’s Re-Mantle and Make project wrapped up last week with an event at MakLab in Glasgow.

The InDI team was delighted with the way that designers took on the challenge of using local surplus textiles to design a prototype circular collar that could be worn with different garments.

The project was a six-month feasibility study researching the potential for developing a circular economy within the textile manufacturing sector. In a circular economy, resources are used and re-used for as long as possible.

Designers and researchers gathered to celebrate the success of this short project and view the results of two ‘Re-Make-A-Thons’.

Designer reusing red textile fabric with Dr Lynn-Sayers McHattie

The Re-Mantle and Make project: reusing textile fabrics to explore ways to develop a circular economy in the textile manufacturing industry

Find out how the team got on in the film of Re-Mantle and Make:

Re-Mantle and Make: Design for the Circular Economy from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.

More on Remantle and Make

The GSA secured funding for the study from the Royal College of Art, London, which is leading a larger project: Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing, a two-year research initiative funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This wider piece of work explores the role of maker spaces in redistributed manufacturing.

Designer using a sewing machine to reuse surplus textiles

Making new from surplus while designing ways to develop a circular economy

InDI’s work was in partnership with Kalopsia Collective – a micro-manufacturing unit based in Edinburgh, and MakLab Maker Space in Glasgow.

And you can read about the Re-Make-A-Thons, in Glasgow and Forres, on the Re-Mantle website.

A Re-Mantle showcase

See the results of the Re-Make-A-Thons

The Re-Mantle and Make project is approaching its end and to mark the finale, the team is showcasing the results of the two Re-Make-A-Thons held earlier in the year.

The project is a six-month feasibility study into researching the potential for developing a circular economy within the textile manufacturing sector. In a circular economy, resources are used and re-used for as long as possible.

Participants at the events in Glasgow and Forres were asked to use surplus materials from a range of well-known Scottish textile manufacturers to make a prototype circular collar that could be worn with different garments.

The exhibition will showcase the items that were made. A last minute venue change means that the event will be at MakLab, Charing Cross Mansions, 30 St George’s Road, Glasgow, tomorrow (Friday March 17) from 6.30pm-8pm.

Forres Re-Make-A-Thon

The scene at the Re-Make-A-Thon in Forres earlier this year. Image credit: Louise Mather

The Glasgow School of Art secured funding for the study from the Royal College of Art, London, which is leading a larger project: Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing, a two-year research initiative funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This wider piece of work explores the role of maker spaces in redistributed manufacturing.

InDI’s work is in partnership with Kalopsia Collective – a micro-manufacturing unit based in Edinburgh, and MakLab Maker Space in Glasgow.

For more information, contact Dr Paul Smith, [email protected]

More information on Re-Mantle and Make is also available on the project website and our previous blogs.

Exploring graduate employability at Singapore Design Week

What do employers want from today’s graduates?

Part of our team’s work at InDI involves attending high profile conferences and events to spread our knowledge and make new links with international design experts. This week marks one of these major events: Singapore Design Week.

Running from March 3-12, there are more than 100 events taking place during the festival, which is now in its fourth year. Organised by the DesignSingapore Council, around 50,000 people are expected to attend over the 10 days.

The Glasgow School of Art’s Singapore campus is closely involved as one of the partners and has organised a graduate employability symposium, running on Friday. The full programme is available here.

InDI Design Director Don McIntyre will chair the final session of the day, a discussion panel called ‘Roles, Skills and Recruitment: What do employers want?’

The symposium takes place at the Singapore Institute of Technology’s (SIT) Temasek Polytechnic campus on Friday March 10, from 2pm-7.30pm with networking and refreshments until 9pm. Registration is free – you can sign up here:

Singapore Design Week

The event will explore the current state of graduate employability in Singapore and how careers in the creative industries will evolve. It aims to discuss questions about the roles available for graduates and early career designers in Singapore’s creative industries and how they can contribute to developing an innovation-led economy.

A host of speakers has been lined up, including a number of GSA alumni who will reveal their different experiences in the jobs market since graduating.

Chris Hand, Programme Director of GSA’s Singapore campus said: “I’ve heard comments from several major players in the last week that ‘there’s never been a better time for design in Singapore’, and that certainly chimes with everything that’s going on here at the moment.

“DesignSingapore Council and the Economic Development Board here are really working hard to set the agenda and achieve the goals set out in the Design 2025 Masterplan. To have such recognition at government level for the important roles that design can play here is hugely inspiring, and I’m excited to see how GSA can contribute to both educational and economic development, now and in the future. We hope this symposium will be the start of an on-going dialogue in Singapore.”

The keynote speaker is Vinson Chua, the senior assistant director of the DesignSingapore Council. Vinson oversees the human development programmes, manpower planning and skills framework for the design sector.

Jayce Tham

Jayce Tham

Among the graduates sharing their experiences are: Christine Lim, Junior Art Director, DDB; Gideon W. D. Kong, independent designer/researcher; Mayguss Wee, Designer, ONG&ONG; Cheng Zhai Wei, Marketing Executive, Aalst Chocolate. The session moderator is Terence Heng, Deputy Programme Director, SIT.

And the discussion panel will include Chris Godfrey, GSA Architecture alumnus and the Global Principal of HBA Residential; Jin Kang, Vice-President of Experience Design at OCBC Bank; Jayce Tham, Chief Businesswoman at CreativesAtWork

Alongside the symposium, there is a chance to see a preview of June’s GSA Singapore Degree Show. The Work In Progress exhibition will showcase the work by final year students on the BA (Hons) Communication Design and Interior Design programmes.

The show will be on from 11.30am-10pm.

Singapore students - Work in Progress

Making a difference to business

Continuing Professional Development programmes for organisations

InDI’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes help organisations create cultures of innovation and develop creative capability. Here, Design Director Don McIntyre tells us how InDI’s design-led CPD programmes make a difference to businesses.

Don McIntyre portrait

Don McIntyre. Image credit: Louise Mather

Design-led CPD for businesses

Many organisations face similar systemic challenges as they look to the future. They may need to address complex issues that no company or government can tackle alone; adapt in the face of digital disruption, or create conditions for a new business to thrive.

Historically, innovation approaches have been found in disciplines such as management and engineering. In recent times, design has become a recognised strategic capability for individuals, organisations and even countries looking to deal positively with uncertainty, ambiguity, paradox and complexity.

Our programmes

Our CPD programmes in Design Innovation help businesses create lasting cultures of innovation. By tailoring our approach to each organisation, we create practical learning plans that are suited to organisational context and staff needs. We collaborate with partners to deliver courses that last anything from a day to a year, including:

– An introduction to design innovation

– Project-specific training and coaching

– Leadership development programmes

Organisations and individuals learn, think and act differently as a result of our programmes, delivering tangible results for their businesses.

‘We have seen up to six-figure savings in some of our products through cutting back on waste issues… [We are] quicker at making a decision and acting than before’

John Lupton, CEO, Scott & Fyfe

John Swinney MSP with Scott and Fyfe chairman Nick Kuenssberg and CEO John Lupton opening innovation space

John Swinney MSP with Scott and Fyfe chairman Nick Kuenssberg and CEO John Lupton at the opening of the company’s innovation space.

Learn more about our work with Scott and Fyfe during the Creating Cultures of Innovation project.

If you’d like to find out more about our CPD programmes please contact:

Iain Aitchison, Programme Director, InDI

[email protected]


Don McIntyre, Design Director, InDI

[email protected]



Leapfrog into summer

Thinking about coming to this year’s Leapfrog Summer School?

Applications are now welcome for the 2017 event, which will share methods and insights around effective engagement.

The Summer School, which will be held at Lancaster University (where InDI’s Leapfrog partner, Imagination Lancaster is based, aims to develop early career researchers’ capabilities. Discussions will also focus on how to capture value and evidence the impact of their approach.

The application deadline is March 24. More information is available here on the Leapfrog website. You can also read more about the Leapfrog project here.

Find out what happened at last year’s Summer School in Forres by watching this film.

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

A special visitor to GSA Highlands and Islands

Deputy First Minister John Swinney tours Altyre studios

The GSA Highlands and Islands Creative Campus had a special visitor yesterday as the Deputy First Minister John Swinney toured the facilities outside Forres.

He was accompanied by Moray MSP Richard Lochhead and the pair were shown round the complex by Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam OBE, Deputy Director (Innovation) of the GSA and Director of the Highlands and Islands Creative Campus, and Dr Gordon Hush, Acting Director of InDI.

Among the projects presented to Mr Swinney was the Experience Labs, which has recently worked with local secondary pupils on a campaign to promote breastfeeding. Mr Swinney also heard about the new prosthetic greaves project, which aims to explore the emotional value of different aesthetics for prostheses. He also met MDES and MRES students based at the campus and saw work from the recent Winter School.

You can read more in the press release at

Tara French and John Swinney with prosthetic greaves

Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Dr Tara French examine items from the Prosthetic Greaves project by Naturally Useful. Image credit: Hannah Laycock

Another chance to Re-Mantle and Make

InDI researchers are offering another opportunity to take part in the Re-Mantle and Make project.

Designers are invited to sign up for the second Re-Make-A-Thon, this time at the GSA’s new Highlands and Islands Creative Campus in Forres.

The project is a six-month feasibility study into researching the potential for developing a circular economy within the textile manufacturing sector. In a circular economy, resources are used and re-used for as long as possible. Designers with an interest in these themes are particularly encouraged to join in.

Women with piles of material. Re-Mantle

Participants in the Re-Make-A-Thon get to grips with the materials. Image credit: Louise Mather

During the first Re-Make-A-Thon in Glasgow, textile designers from across Scotland were given a brief that asked them to transform surplus materials from local textile manufacturers into a prototype circular collar that could be worn with different garments.

They spent a day working on their designs, with some fascinating results. You can read more and see pictures from the day-long workshop on the Re-Mantle and Make website.

Now the team is preparing for their next session, which will take place at Blairs Steading, Altyre Estate, on Thursday February 2, from 9am-7pm.

If you are interested in taking part or would like more information, please contact Zoe Prosser, [email protected]

More information on Re-Mantle and Make is also available on our previous blog.

The Glasgow School of Art has secured funding for the study from the Royal College of Art, London, which is leading a larger project: Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing, a two-year research initiative funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This wider piece of work explores the role of maker spaces in redistributed manufacturing.

InDI’s work is in partnership with Kalopsia Collective – a micro-manufacturing unit based in Edinburgh, and MakLab Maker Space in Glasgow.

Presenting the designs at Re-Mantle and Make

One of the designers presenting their collar designs. Image credit: Louise Mather