Blythe House project: chaos and radical containment?

blythe house research session archiveThe Blythe House project being undertaken by Central Saint Martins MA Design students and CSM staff and the Victoria and Albert Museum, is motivating for a number of reasons – one of which is its experimental and collaborative nature. The project itself has been described in earlier posts, and will be documented periodically as part of the research process.

Whilst the MA Design students’ rigorous critical engagement in the Blythe House project is underpinned by ‘the deviant traditions of studio and conservatory’ (Schon,1987:17), this article will consider the larger institutional setting – the educational system within which the project is undertaken. By taking time out to acknowledge the landscape, we, the staff team, are putting into practice Donald Schon’s ‘reflection-in-action’. Continue reading

Digital literacy: this way for tassels and pompoms!

Photograph at Blythe House, Victoria and Albert Museum 2014

Living in a perpetual upgrade culture, where technological obsolescence is the norm and our personal digital devices have become ubiquitous and mundane artefacts, has huge implications for 21st century art and design archives, and for art and design education. It is with this in mind that students and staff from Central Saint Martins today embarked upon an experimental project set at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which explores designerly relationships with mobile technologies as part of the creative research process. In doing so they are contributing to the ongoing discussion about what digital literacy means in a contemporary art and design setting. Continue reading

Physical and digital learning spaces

CSM clear dayA criticism of personal digital technologies is that they can distract students in class. However, as the statements below illustrate, physical settings can also be awash with distractions that hinder learning and teaching. With Art and Design higher education institutions facing increasing demands on their physical spaces, it’s worthwhile asking ourselves whether the very technologies we criticise might actually enable new models of learning and teaching, and provide better environments online than some of the physical locations we are using at present. Continue reading

Kenyan artists and designers: Digital aspirations

Kenya, group exploration of digital technologies

Kenya: group exploration of digital technologies

Having recently spent an intense and rewarding time exploring the relationships between artists/designers and digital technologies in Nairobi, Jo Morrison was struck by the similarities between their experiences and those of students at Central Saint Martins. Continue reading

Smartphone: intimate, incidental, and indispensible

FaceTime on the 76 bus to Kings Cross

Personal mobile devices provide immediate location independent access to information, and are used as powerful creative tools by arts and design students at Central Saint Martins. The relationships that they have with their smartphones are evolving and multifaceted, yet at the same time students often perceive this mobile device as a mundane object, failing to acknowledge the many roles it plays in their lives. Smartphones are central to the ways in which many students are navigating their daily experience, eg waking up to the Marimba ringtone, international video-conferencing on the bus, and using any number of mobile apps to consider physical space. The smartphone appears to be an endlessly pliable technology that has glided into, and altered, our social and cultural processes. Continue reading

Digital literacy: presence literacy and ethics literacy?

CSM learning spaces

Insights emerging from the current exploration of ways in which students at CSM use personal digital devices as part of their daily ‘living and learning’ are already challenging prevailing assumptions, as well as informing discussions around what digital literacy means within an arts and design institution. Continue reading

BA Textile Design: nomadic and connected learners

social media at the loom

As part of an ongoing study into the ways in which personal digital devices are used by CSM students within their daily ‘living and learning’, a cohort of BA Textile Design students shared their experiences. This article acts as a pithy interpretation of the data, and pulls out some insights for further investigation. Continue reading

Smartphones: ‘connecting to the rest of the world’

Illustration: technology and imagination

Much is reported of the staggering adoption of mobile technologies worldwide. In particular the smartphone is influencing our behaviours in all manner of ways, and for many university students it has become an essential part of their everyday lives. These personal and portable devices are now inextricably involved in how we experience the world.

As educators, how could we, or should we, view smartphones within an arts and design context? Are they extensions of the studio, a form of prosthetic that alters our body schema, or a distraction that renders actions invisible and disturbs continuity and flow?

As part of a study into the ways in which personal digital technologies are incorporated into arts and design education, a second year cohort of CSM undergraduate students has provided insights about their relationship with smartphones.

Continue reading

A multiplicity of presences

Although it seems as if we have never been without social media, location aware technologies, and apps to organize many aspects of our lives, we are in fact just at the beginning of our relationship with digital technologies and networks. Continue reading