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.