If you’re in Dundee this weekend, come along to the opening of the Master of Design degree show. This year’s students will be showing off their final projects, and there are some really interesting and inspiring ones, showing off the diversity of design research and practice.
You can see explanations of all the projects on the MDes website, Some of my personal favourites include Ceara McCurdy’s Spoonful of Movies, a project taking film editing and story telling in to primary schools; Danielle Hu’s Making Culture, another school-based project that let children explore Japanese culture through the making and decoration of kimonos; and two interactive projects from Jamie Shek and Ryan McCleod – the former exploring how social networking tools can help charities improve active participation among donors, and the latter a tool to help people with speech difficulties add nuance to their computer-based communications.
A feature of these projects is that they are “real” – students haven’t just created things to stick on walls in response to a brief, they developed their own projects and worked with the people they would affect. Yue Xu, for example, got stuck in to the local community, helping them to regenerate local land in to a community garden. Ryan worked as a personal helper to one of the people he was designing for. Danielle and Ceara ran lessons and workshops with children, parents and teachers. Liwei Liu got Dundonians practicing tai Chi outdoors (as she puts it, Dundee is Scotland’s sunniest city after all!) and, particularly impressive, Emma Gault trained to be a suicide prevention counsellor to get to understand her target audience better.
Now I’ve mentioned those I want to mention them all so you’ll have to go and visit the site, or come along on Saturday when the course director, Hazel White, will talk about the projects in more detail. Some of the students will also be running workshops, so if you want to make your own origami kimono, come along!
The MDes programme at Dundee is one of the most inspiring courses I’ve come across – now obviously I’m biased, but it really does develop imaginative designers from a range of backgrounds (we’ve got graduates in jewellery, interactive design, graphics, stage design and more) all ready to use their abilities to make a real difference in the world, often far removed from their original discipline.
The exhibition opens on Saturday 28 August and runs until 3rd September, and also includes DJCAD’s other taught postgraduate programmes.
On the Saturday, there’ll be project talks, coffee and cakes (though not if you get there after me) from 11.00 until 12.30. And then at 1.00pm until 2.00pm there are workshops on kimono printing and social gardening. I might pop along and try my hand at a bit of printing…
As if that’s not enough there’s an evening event on Friday 3 September from 6-8pm where you can talk to the students and staff over a civilised glass of wine.
The exhibition and talks are all open to the public but it would be particularly good to see new Level 2 students there. Come and say hello if you manage to get along.