24.09.2014 - Meet an Expert @ LCC

Around Easter time I went to London College of Communication to take part in a symposium event discussing graphic design in education, its current status within key stage 3 up to level 3 and what we felt as teachers, tutors and lecturers we have to develop and deliver in order to make a success out of the subject. Part of that event was team working designing what we considered "the perfect lesson" that identified the key components of learning. 

At the event and part of my team was MA student Maria Morote, She had started her MA in Graphic design that January and was at the event just to discuss her idea of graphic design and a postgraduate student and ideally like us all to make connections. During the event I had an opportunity to discuss with Maria her current MA status, the topic she was researching into and for someone who wants to complete an MA themselves, find out what the process was like. That connection has stayed with us and Maria and I discussed that we would keep in  contact and that I would be more than happy to support her MA in any way as her subject at that point was "tattoos, the ideas behind, the mark making processes, and the underlining subject of them". 

Well Maria contacted me last week and asked me that at this stage of her MA she was asked to source an expert, someone who she considered could look at her current body of work, reflect and interrogate her and have a real in-depth and informal discussion about how this project could now take off. I was privileged to be asked as an expert to come to LCC and meet up with her and really take a look at what the project was and where it was going. We discussed 101 ideas of where practical solutions and initial experiments could start to take her research out of a page, looking at the work she had produced to date, using herself in many cases as a subject with tattoos, scars and other marks made on the skin. Have a look at Maria's blog has she reflects and documents hers MA daily.

The project has got some real potential now and me and Maria will be keeping our contact going whilst she begins to explore some of what I questioned and recommended. Part of our deal was that Maria is now going to come to South Essex College as a guest speaker and discuss with my FAD students the context of completing a BA and moving onto an MA, especially with her background "coming from France" she has lots of beneficial information and creativity to pass on. 

20.09.2014 - TENT London

Since working at South Essex College I have visited TENT London every year. The design exhibition held at my favourite venue "Truman Brewery" is a great opportunity to see a spectacular range of designers and artists whose ideas and work are at the fore front. This year TENT blocked itself in nationalities which really allowed you to see the connections and characteristics of a particular nation. A really well considered plan that from a visitor point of view and especially with students gave you a visual opening into the culture. 

This year also felt bigger than ever, every corner featured a stand and I got the general impression that exhibitors were happier and definitely more interactive than other years. I wanted to focus on meeting some really diverse and interesting designers who may be willing to come and visit the college as a guest speaker, I am in conversations with some ATM but one in particular Tracey Tubb whose work featured hand crafted origami wall panels was really excited about the prospect of visiting and working with design education. 

TENT is one of those pop up design festival that can truly impact on your year, especially form a lecturer point of view, as you Can build a frame work and projects in and around what you saw taking wide inspiration form materials and media used, context and sub-themes and you start to see particular trends that you may be able to expose to the students. 

One aspect that was brought to light this year was the use of technology, in particular the designers form the Tokyo section who have just embarrassed the digital world with apps, 4D technology and interaction art that kept the audience at a stand still. If you didn't get a chance to visit TENT all is not lost as the website contains a full list of all those exhibiting and links to their individual practice. I am looking forward to seeing when Tracey can come and work with my students and will definitely be posting up the results.

08.09.2014 - Foundation Diploma 2014/2015

And so it begins, a new term and a new cohort of students. To think that a year with the new team has already passed is scary to say the least, it was time to see what the new ones were like and to start making our initial developments with them to transform them in lateral thinkers, professional communicators and highly exploratory and experimental creative students. 

I always enjoy part of FAD, its rotational nature with students getting a taste for each of the pathways on offer. With the growth in numbers this year we were able to offer 5 groups and add fine art 2D to our options. The rotational stage also allows staff to really deliver some exciting activities with the students. Building on from the success of last year we discussed as a team that we wanted each rotation to last two weeks to allow scope for additional tasks and to discuss other aspects of the pathway.

The 360 project will now last a total of ten weeks and will give students a real eclectic mix of evidence all of which has the potential to slip straight into the portfolio. Alongside this visual recording and contextual studies has also began with experimental mark making and some rich informal lecture delivered by maria on topics that connect our drawing work and educational trips.

17.07.14 - UAL Origin Awards night

OK, so can you remember me discussing that UAL had selected Ryan Christy from our FAD course to exhibit his work at Chelsea College of Arts? Well tonight was the awards night, the two exhibition spaces were filled with anxious students, supporting family members and friends, lectures and other visiting staff, UAL directors and examining body members and of course everyone was graced with the presence of Sir Grayson Perry who gave an incredible speech about pushing boundaries, continuing your art journey and in his own words "Don't get off the F**king creative train". Well what more is there to mention other than "RYAN WON!" Yes South Essex College FAD has once again found its place in London, making other institution aware of what we are capable of. In my opinion this year could not have ended in another way! an incredible night for myself, and Ryan who undoubtedly deserved to win "hands down"

A few pictures from the night and obviously a cheeky photo with Ryan and Sir Grayson

7.07.14 - "Your Studio" @ The Design Museum

"Your Studio" is regular event held at the Design museum for students of all ages studying an arts related subject. Its purpose is to examine and discuss key figures within the world of design, get close and personal with the museums collection of prestigious design artifacts and products and implement different ways of being creative including the design process, pitching ideas, and identifying a good design. 

The Design Museum however scheduled in a special event for teaching staff to come and try this out, looking at their current exhibition designers of the year, discussing current design education and planning a design proposal based upon a live brief. It was a opportunity for myself and colleague/friend Maria Swepson to let our hair down now that the academic year was over and become creative again, we examined a collection of design objects, proposed exciting opportunities in response to our "everyday problems" brief and then participated in a group discussion started by one of their recent "designers in residence" winners. Maria also hinted to me at joining the panel where we discussed approaches to being creative, our own education and how we deliver design and other ongoing issues.

3.07.14 - Curriculum Manager in Art and Design post

I can now announce that as of this new coming academic year, I will be undertaking the new role as acting as Curriculum Manager in Art and Design. This position is a great opportunity for me to enhance my skills in employing beneficial changes and recommendations to the department and focusing on a new set of challenges. The post will run for 12 months where I hope to really embrace and develop dramatically throughout this period. I am very grateful for the opportunity and am looking forward to the challenge.

20.06.14 - Teaching Graphic Design in schools

This Friday I attended a UAL symposium event held of the London College of communication where a selection of teachers delivering GCSE up to FAD discussed the versatile approaches and successfully ways of teaching graphic design. The event also held a series of talks form UAL staff and designers focusing on their studio practice, their design education and what they expected form young graduates. 

The event was extremely important with recent changes to the curriculum being delivered in schools and with myself teaching on a higher level course, ensuring that what was being delivered prior to this was relevant and offered students the correct experience and skill set before embarking onto a Foundation Diploma or degree. We were sectioned off into groups to discuss each of your own delivery sty;es, workshop practice and general comments on how we approach design education. We were then asked to present our findings in  scheme of work depicting skills to be obtained, how we felt this was a strong approach and what the fundamental of design education were. Throughout the night there was important information, disagreements and laughter all of which is to be expected when you place a collection of lecturers and teachers in a small space of who all consider what they deliver to be "correct". 

The night ended we an overall study of everyone's schemes and some discussed that they would consider carrying this forward into the new academic year as a prototype to consider differentiation of levels and to then analyze the results that could then start a new symposium event. Any opportunity to break from the building, meet and network with others and constantly learn about what is changing in design education is a beneficial day. I have considered the possibility of writing a brief that tests the differentiation between levels of students with my own department, this is something that was recently discussed at our department meetings and tends to be an ongoing topic that is flagged. This could be a great opportunity to put some of what has been discussed to a practical test and really explore what students require, need and can achieve at their current level. 

I can only feel that this topic and post will be revisited and continued.

16.06.14 - UAL Origin Awards

Every year the University of the Arts London hold a competition entitled "Origins" that promotes the exceptional work produced amongst institutions that deliver UALFAD. It is an opportunity for each institution to come together and look at what one another has produced as well as earn some accreditation if picked as a winner. This year we sent forward 1 student from each of our selected pathways that was then reviewed by an awarding body panel and narrowed down to one, who would then exhibit their FMP piece at Chelsea college of the Arts. Not only is this a once in a lifetime opportunity for the lucky student but their was vouchers to be won if selected and the awards on the night were to be presented by Turner prize winner Sir Grayson Perry. As a team we didn't announce any nominees until the shows private view and then emailed each individual student is they were successful in selection. I was fortunate enough to have my pathway student Ryan Christy selected by UAL to exhibit if "alternative furniture concept" and to represent the UALFAD based at South Essex College. A very exciting moment at the prospect of winning against some amazing and large institutions up and down the country. Fingers crossed.

13.06.14 - Demarcation "Private View"

After two intense weeks of pressing an existing site, reworking the interior, building an exhibition space and installing all the students work we have finally made it to the private view of this years end of year show. The team have worked incredibly hard and with a professional head on at all times. The two spaces give a consistent overview of the challenge and dedication to the arts and focuses on a variation of topics and trends uncovered and exhibited using versatile media. The show was busy from the start with a crowd waiting to enter. You could feel a real sense of proud with the students discussing their work. The show will now continue to run for another two weeks opening its doors to all to view, interact and purchase. Here are some photos of the exhibition space before it was filled with buzzing creatives.

6.05.14 - Demarcation FAD end of year show

We are pleased to release the following information and invite out promoting this years UALFAD end of year show. This year we have secured two shops "side by side" located in Southends Royals shopping centre. This will be a fantastic opportunity for the students to exhibit their work within the public realms as well as giving Southend locals something new and refreshing to come and enjoy.