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.