Meet Karen Barrett, new MA in Interaction Design student

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Today, we hear from a student on the MA in Interaction Design programme, Karen Barrett:

What is your background? What did you do before studying here?

My academic background is in psychology; I finished my degree in Applied Psychology at home in Ireland in June 2013. I had a brilliant three years studying in Cork but I knew by the end that I didn’t want to continue down the route of becoming a psychologist. I have always had a passion for design and felt I needed to incorporate this into my next steps.
In my final year at UCC I interned with an architect who was developing a responsive built environment for nursing homes, this gave me a taste of how psychology and design can fuse quite nicely together. I also got inspiration from my former lecturer who works with an inter-disciplinary digital interaction centre called Culture Lab in Newcastle.
I came to London last January; I’ve wanted to live here for as long as I can remember so I moved over as soon as possible! I worked in a graduate type role with a Learning and Development company until starting in Goldsmiths. This was a great experience; it was invaluable to get a taster of the real working world but I’m very happy to be back to student life!

Why did you choose Goldsmiths and why this particular course?

I was first attracted to Goldsmiths because of my course, MA Interaction Design. I searched high and low for a MA I was really excited about and Goldsmiths hit the mark for a couple of reasons. It was one of the first design courses I found that sought people from either a social science or design background. I think this inter-disciplinary mix has so much potential; a hothouse for great ideas!
I didn’t know a massive amount about Goldsmiths when I was applying but as soon as I visited campus I knew that I could really love it here. As well my lecturer from UCC spoke very highly of the staff here which boosted my confidence.

How are you feeling about your choice now after you’ve started? What are your expectations for what’s to come?

So far, so good! I feel very lucky to be part of a really supportive group of staff and students. There’s a collaborative vibe of helping each other out so we can make the most of our time here. The creative buzz around campus is brilliant. I was nervous before starting because I knew I lacked some of the technical skills that my classmates would have but I’ve been reassured by how helpful staff and fellow students have been. I expect our course work will increase and I’m in for a pretty hectic and challenging year but, I’m excited and ready!

And finally, what’s the story of the item you have in the photo from the MA Intro day?

This necklace encompasses lots of things I love. It was given to me by a brilliant friend who I’ve known since I was tiny. It came from a flea market in Cork and so it always brings back fond memories of living there. And perhaps most importantly, it’s a teapot! I’m a big fan of a good cuppa.