The presentation ceremonies are that final moment of student life when you can finally forget all worries, deadlines, coffee and sleepless nights. The hard work is over and has paid off: time to enjoy being congratulated by your family and friends and having your picture taken while wearing a rectangular cap for posterity. This year’s Design postgrads had their day of pictures, joy and rectangular hats yesterday morning, so we’d thought I’d be a good idea to take the pulse of the event and mingle with the crowd at the post-ceremony reception in the tents on College Green, just to hear in what state of mind are the Masters of Arts (or Research) in Design saying their goodbyes to Goldsmiths. Did they enjoy their studies? Would they recommend their course to newcomers? Do they have exciting future projects waiting for them?
It wasn’t easy to identify Design students amongst so many happy graduates celebrating their achievements, but luckily we eventually found Svenja Bickert and Linda Kwon, who studied for an MA in Design Futures. As its very name says, the course encouraged the students to think about the future of design, and also to apply a critical way of thinking. Designers aren’t necessarily used to writing essays and reflecting on their work in writing, said Linda and Svenja, but during their MA they were challenged to do so and they welcomed the challenge.
The MRes Design course is based on independent study, you rely very much on yourself- graduate Olga Noronha told us- therefore it is very important to love what you do. However, you can always go and ask for help from your tutors when needed. Olga thinks that the course she attended is a good choice for people who want to pursue a PhD afterwards, as she is about to embark on one as well. “I love books too much!” she says. Olga is a jewellery designer and you can check out her work on her website.
Holger Klapperich (MA Design: Critical Practice) found the international environment to be one of the main benefits of studying here- everyone brought in a completely different perspective. His time at Goldsmiths opened his mind to a new way of seeing design. For the final exhibition of the course, Holger devised a vending machine that delivers a can at a delayed pace, but with better performance and offering a more positive experience for the user, as a comment on our current society where nobody has patience for delays. You can see more of what Holger does at holgerlee.com.
Rebecca Steiner was on the MA Design: Critical Practice course too- she loved it, she says, and would definitely recommend it to others. Rebecca’s proud mom added that she is also a Master in Designing Children in the 21st century- and she was so convincing that the undersigned asked for feedback about her course as well. When questioned about what she will be up to next, Rebecca told us that a lot of the good things that have already started to happen for her will continue, including running a course at Bath University and presenting her thesis project in a conference, and she directed us towards the online forum WhyMake.
Marente van der Vack, who finished an MA in Design and Environment, comes from an industrial design background, and she was used to a straightforward process of going through the necessary steps and ending up with a product. However, her studies at Goldsmiths brought her to a different way of thinking the design process, one that involves considering sustainability- “the way we live nowadays isn’t sustainable”. This adds a deeper dimension to what being a designer means, explained Marente, even though you might have started out with a different idea about it- perhaps you expected it to make you famous. Her thesis project was focused on seemingly useless objects that people nonetheless keep for their emotional value and involved repairing the objects together with their owners.
These are, of course, just a few of the Design postgrads who celebrated their graduation yesterday, but eventually we had to leave the tent and let them enjoy their big moment with their friends and families and a glass of sparkling wine. After all, it’s not every day that one gets to be the center of attention in such a manner. Hopefully, all the Goldsmiths Design graduates, the ones mentioned above and the many, many others we didn’t get to talk to, have great things lined up for them. More information about this batch of students, their final projects and graduation show (which took place in September) can be found on their collective website, How Come? We expect to hear their names again!
Photos by Kathryn Darling