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]


Five minutes with a Winter School expert: Catherine Morel

Catherine Morel is Professor of Marketing in the Culture and Communication Department at Audencia Business School in France. Catherine has collaborated with InDI over the last two years to develop an exciting MSc programme in Management and Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy. Led by Audencia in France, the programme and has been co-designed with InDI.

The programme launches in September 2017. GSA faculty members will teach one-third of the classes – and the two-week international Winter School, is a highlight of the programme.

Straight off the podium having delivered an inspiring keynote presentation at Winter School 2017, Catherine tells us more about the themes she addresses, and why Winter School helps deliver innovative business education for those in the creative industries.

Catherine, welcome to Winter School. Your keynote met a very warm reception, what did you share with the students?

My colleague Sandrine Stervinou and I wanted to share our research interest for cooperatives in the Cultural and Creative Industries. We have been studying them in France and we believe that they could be an answer for young creative practitioners. Co-ops are usually resilient and sustainable businesses.

These co-op businesses give a chance to those who want to escape precariousness and isolation whilst developing management and business skills in a collective, democratic and creative environment.

A collaboration between a business school and an art school may surprise some, can you tell us why it makes good sense?

I strongly believe that hybridity is the future of higher education. The fast-changing world in which we live calls for a wide mix of skills and competencies. Students will acquire them through renewed curricula which break subject and discipline silos. For instance, business students need to develop creative skills to deal with ambiguity whereas design and art students acquire this competence quite early in their learning. Design students could benefit from the ways we teach our students to analyse business environments and management issues. A blended business/design programme like the MSc we designed together with The Glasgow School of Art will enable students to change thinking caps on a regular basis.

And why is collaboration at the Highlands and Islands Creative Campus important to you?

The Highlands and Islands and Moray gives us a great platform to initiate projects – research or otherwise – which are relevant to rural regions internationally, and explore the role of cultural and creative industries in supporting the development of these areas.

I already have students asking when they can come!

What does the Winter School format offer you that is unique?

The School will be a pivotal moment on the Masters programme calendar as students will move their projects from theory into real-life entrepreneurial practice. Wearing a design hat, they will be plunged in a different cultural environment which will prepare them to ask the right questions for their collaborative entrepreneurial activities and career.

Finally, if you could sum Winter School up in three words, what would they be?

Am I allowed more than three?…

…humanity, trust, conviviality, open-mindedness, relaxed, family feel, flow, creativity, space

Catherine Morel lecturing at Winter School

A packed Winter School audience for Catherine Morel. Image credit: Jane Candlish

What next?

Further info on the Management and Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy (Programme subject to validation)

Find out more about Audencia Business School

Check out Catherine’s radio programme – Cash and Culture – which is supported by Audencia Foundation through the Audencia Research Lab.