Creative Communities: expanding conceptions of digital literacy

blog materialsThere is no collective understanding of what is meant by digital literacy within Art and Design Higher Education. Yes, we use the term, it is part of the educational lexicon, simultaneously it can be a funding theme, a staff development activity, and a catch-all for safe, acceptable and discerning practices online. With the term ‘digital literacy’ so pervasive and already embedded in multiple ways across many educational institutions, one could understandably question whether it is it important to have a common conception of what digital literacy means within an individual art and design institution? Continue reading

Learning and Teaching Day 2015: creative teaching and risk

risk innovation 2I’m currently reading a book that reveals the findings from a two-year research study into those who ‘hack the city’ – i.e. trespass without causing harm to anyone or anything. I have been reminded of an exploratory project I undertook with an international cohort of researchers at CHI 2014. We experimented in ways to reveal the hidden urban infrastructure and to enable citizens to recode their normalised routines in city space through creatively exploiting the system’s fractures. We called this ‘surprising the system’.

To transgress and take risks, to creatively circumvent rules and expectations, and to probe disciplinary boundaries are at the heart of what goes on in Central Saint Martins’ teaching spaces, such as workshops, seminars and libraries. Continue reading

Interdisciplinarity: translating design

Copyright Bob Corish, 2014

Copyright Bob Corish, 2014

Bob Corish graduated from Central Saint Martins’ MA Communication Design in 2008. Since then he has been working at Microsoft Research Cambridge where he collaborates with specialists from multiple disciplines, including computer scientists, technologists, sociologists, psychologists and more. In this post Bob reflects upon his experience of interdisciplinarity, and the act of communication and the art of translation in a non-design based setting. Continue reading

Digital literacy: alternative virtual learning environments

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

In order to continue the exploration of digital literacy within an art and design HE setting, this post focuses on online distance learning. In particular it mulls over alternative perspectives and seeks fresh ‘ways-in’ that may help to adjust our collective e-Learning spectacles.  As such, it is hoped that a stroll around virtual learning environments (VLEs), and alternative online environments, will prove useful. Desire and virtual communities are the conceptual areas framing this swift adventure. So, one question might be ‘are there valuable insights to be gleaned from alternative virtual spaces that could influence the ways we provide for students online at Central Saint Martins?’ Continue reading

Disruption: art and design higher education futures

Neocraft_Humanising-the-machine-by-Frances-Norris_01Bower and Christensen came up with the term ‘disruptive technologies’ in their Harvard Business Review article, ‘Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave’ (1995: 43-53). Disruptive technologies can be viewed as early stage catalysts for change, and fundamentally destabilising of an existing equilibrium – be it a method, technology or product. Today, one such technology heralded as being disruptive is 3D printing*, or 3D manufacturing. In part, what is considered disruptive depends on its context and the scale or type of change; let’s remind ourselves that humanity has a long history of technologies causing radical global change (e.g. wheel, steam engine, Jacquard Loom, Gutenberg printing press, internet).  Whilst 3D manufacturing has yet to happen to any form of impactful scale, and indeed may not do so, its very concept allows us to imagine the implications of post-industrial manufacturing for the ways we might wish to develop future Art and Design higher education (HE). Central Saint Martins’ students are already creating possible scenarios, by connecting the present and the future. Continue reading

Insights and interpretation: CSM Degree Show 2

Hearts Melted at CSM's Degree Show 2 - Image: Ningyi Jiang

Hearts Melted at CSM’s Degree Show 2 – Image: Ningyi Jiang

The dust has settled and the 2013 Central Saint Martins Degree Shows are over. With work ranging from fashion to architecture in Show 2 the sheer amount of projects presented was enough to make any visitor experience sensory overload. To fully appreciate each space the show was best explored in stages, but when taken in as a whole overarching themes began to emerge. These themes could change depending on ones interests, but for me the focus on memory and a sense of nostalgia was strong. As technology becomes more and more pervasive in our lives, this preoccupation with understanding and preserving memory and the craft of yesteryear can be seen as the design graduates response to this growing phenomenon. While the rate at which technology evolves becomes more rapid, molding and shaping the way we interact with each other and the products and services we use, design will play a crucial role in allowing us to adapt. Continue reading

Digital/Material Relationships: CSM Letterpress Workshop

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Upon entering the CSM Letterpress Workshop I felt like I’d gone back in time. A stark difference to the aluminium MACs and flat PCs in the digital printing space set just on the other side of the glass partition. With the smell of ink and wood, textured colours, and sounds of the American south playing overhead the workshop’s atmosphere fills your senses. After this first wave of nostalgia had passed, it soon became apparent that the workshop was anything but stuck in the past. Continue reading

Emerging digital-materiality workshop: discussion one

Lady with hole, Souzou Exhibition

Lady with hole, Souzou Exhibition

How do we use ‘time passing’ as a conceptual tool for web development? Can we create and present digital objects that have reciprocal aesthetic relationships with their material counterparts? How do we enact our journeys of curiosity when experiencing an exhibition digitally, or physically? These are just three questions that arose from Central Saint Martins’ recent workshop exploring digital-materiality with the Wellcome Trust. Continue reading

Wellcome Trust Souzou Workshop: Digital-Material Relationships

Comparing artist's work to Manga characters

Comparing artist’s work to Manga characters

In order to explore aspects of contemporary digital material interplay within a museum and gallery context, the Wellcome Trust hosted and co-facilitated a workshop, with Central Saint Martins, at their headquarters in London. As a result, in front of me is a heap of orange fluorescent sticky notes.  On each sheet is an interpretation, by postgraduate students, relating to Wellcome’s highly acclaimed Souzou exhibition. Continue reading

Emerging digital-materiality workshop

bm door carvingWhat constitutes digital literacy depends on the setting. Within an arts and design institution whose students and staff are largely engaged in artefactual critique, understanding the interplay between digital and materials – and the synthesis of these seemingly different worlds – should be seen as an aspect of digital literacy. Continue reading