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.

 


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


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, [email protected]