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.