The Bigger Picture of Design

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Design practices do not exist in their own little bubbles. They exist in relation to the ‘bigger picture’ of the world we live in. To address the many cultural, social and environmental issues that designers must consider, CSM runs the collaborative ‘Bigger Picture’ project for second year students in the Autumn Term. Design students from Product, Graphics, Ceramics and Architecture work together, and use a blog to work towards a collective understanding of big issues.

In this article, Sarah Kante looks at what the Big Picture is for designers, as well as how blogs might mediate collaboration.

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Online learning: mutuality and desire

 

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism, LCC

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, LCC


I was struck by the comment of Sarah Kante, a recent UAL graduate, who explained, “What really is missing in an online learning environment are the creative physical environments, the people we meet, and of course, the technicians we all rely on so much.” Coincidentally, the previous evening I had read an interview with CSM technical specialist Billy Dickinson who, when asked about his biggest creative inspiration, replied “The students. It’s inspiring to be constantly surrounded by new ideas and be challenged to support them in finding different ways to realise their visions.”  Whilst not wishing to provide a schmaltzy article about an apparent love-in between students and technicians, I do want to highlight how important these reciprocal creative and respectful relationships are, and how vital they are to a successful and socially constructed art and design Higher Education (HE) experience.

Yes, the calibre and commitment of CSM’s technical staff is impressive; they are as good as it gets. But what I want to take for a wander in this post is the concept of mutuality – the active role of the social situation in the spatial context. However, the focus will be the virtual learning environment, i.e. the digital space, so I’m going to shift attention from the emotional creative relationships in the 3D workshop space, and ponder whether the form of social solidarity that Sarah and Billy expressed can be fostered and sustained in an online art and design learning environment. Continue reading

Exploring online learning for art and design

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As we are well aware, digital technologies have impacted massively upon the ways in which students learn, and how they engage with one another and with the University. The learning landscape is morphing, and technologies are playing an instrumental part, e.g. the rapid expansion of online learning provision through MOOCs, the phenomenal use of YouTube as an informal learning platform, Google’s new Helpout offering, and an array of other online initiatives – all available across multiple personal devices.

In this turbulent world where much formal and informal learning is undertaken online, Sarah Kante takes a swift look at MOOCs, e-learning, and ponders: what is a good online learning experience, and how can it be applied to art and design courses?

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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

Considering ‘university futures’: post one, of many…

Punch: Sky Signs of the Times: 6 Sept 1890.

Punch: Sky-signs of the Times: 6 Sept 1890.

Considering the current radical disruptions, eg economic, socio-technical and environmental, when imagining the future university do we assume a continuity between the past, present and future, or is our present so disturbed or ‘messy’ that we should reframe entirely? What are the set of assumptions that we might use to explore the future university, and what are the core questions for higher education? And, as this blog explores digital literacy, what are the implications for future ‘digital pedagogies’? It is within the realm of the digital that this article is located. Continue reading

Digitising the Museum at Central Saint Martins

Untitled photograph by Fagner Bibiano, 2008

Untitled photograph by Fagner Bibiano, 2008

For many years now the prevailing message to the cultural and heritage sector is that digitising collections is good. Good for access, good for reaching out to new audiences and good for communicating with young people (who if you believe the rhetoric are completely disinterested if it doesn’t come with an app). Judy Willcocks, Head of CSM’s Museum, asks ‘Should we be celebrating or commiserating?’  Continue reading

CSM MA Interim Show 2014: work in progress

Work In Progress 2014The New Year and new term kicked off with a reminder that CSM final year students are half way there, as four MA courses showed their ‘Work in Progress’ at this year’s interim show. MA Textile Futures, MA Industrial Design, MA Communication Design and MA Narrative Environments exhibited their projects at the end of CSM’s Street – to gain insights, feedback and critique from colleagues, students, staff and visitors. Here, second year MA Innovation Management student Rita Fernandez describes the work of some students who are exploring relationships with digital technologies. Continue reading

Visual Literacy – is a picture worth 1000 words?

Exhibit in the Aho Art Gallery, May 31, 2006 Image by New Media Consortium on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nmc-campus/)

Exhibit in the Aho Art Gallery, May 31, 2006
Image by New Media Consortium on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nmc-campus/)

Literacy grabs the headlines every now and then, and whilst this is a major political and social issue, the type of literacy we are exploring here is slightly different.

Visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of images. This is based on the idea that meaning can be communicated through images, and that they can therefore be read.

In this article, Sarah Kante looks at visual literacy in the digital age. With most of the tools and media we interact with on a day-to-day basis relying heavily on images, are words taking a backstage? Is 21st century communication mainly visual and if so, is this an issue for society at large?

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The Digital Economy and Innovation

Barbican visitors play 'Donut Pong', by digital production studio Special Moves and Joe Scarboro - Image: Authors Own

Barbican visitors play ‘Donut Pong’, by digital production studio Special Moves and Joe Scarboro – Image: Authors Own

Digital technologies continue to disrupt what was once the core of many businesses: retail has long been shifting to the virtual marketplace, print media has and is responding to the way information is accessed and consumed, and new tools and technologies are re-shaping the way nearly all products are, and can be, designed and produced. More and more, traditional industries and businesses are learning to understand the importance of digital, and with it, their user and audience. With this realisation, the design profession has received much attention for its ability to identify and translate human factors – more specifically the underlying need and desirability – that then drive the digital experience.

Within this landscape of possibilities, design is poised to sit alongside (not behind) technology and science in the research and development of new products and services. How then is the digital economy shaping the way design is being adopted and championed in the non-creative sectors, and what could CSM graduates bring to this new market place? Continue reading