If architecture is frozen music, have I created Devices of thawing? – Reflections on moving a design project from academic to professional terrain

Article by BA Design alumnus Matthew Edgson

When I was notified on the 20th June last year – whilst exhibiting my third year project at the 2016 Goldsmiths BA Design show – that I had the opportunity to expand the work for a more public platform, I was initially apprehensive. The nine months spent developing the project had been a fatiguing coalescence of enjoyment, frustration and discovery. Was I prepared to endure that once again whilst subjecting the work (and myself) to a much wider, and possibly harsher, field of scrutiny? It turns out I was. In fact, all of the enjoyment, frustrations and discoveries that shaped the recent developments of my project have actually galvanised what I learnt whilst on the Goldsmiths BA Design course – not just regarding design as a practice but how I, as a designer, should operate as I transition from the academic landscape into professional terrain.

The project in question, titled ’Building The Cinematic’, stemmed from analysis of existing cinematic work, the majority of which has an anthropocentric (human based) focus. Architecture exists in the background. A large part of the project looks to shift this paradigm; teasing out the sensual, encompassing qualities of architecture using the format of cinema. Buildings are reframed as filmmaking resources through a series of camera rigs, manifestos and films projected directly onto architecture. Architectural input defines cinematic output. Alongside this, the project navigates a series of legislative frameworks regarding filming in London (particularly around the built environment), establishing a critique of those regulations.Read More »

HYPHEN show 2017: Tasreen Rahman turns difficult debates into comics

Comics are generally not taken very seriously as an art form, outliers such as Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-winning “Maus” notwithstanding. But perhaps they should be: visual storytelling is an excellent tool for making a wide variety of topics more accessible and easier to understand. For her BA Design graduation project, Tasreen Rahman created a comic book based on conversations about difficult, controversial issues:

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Dash MacDonald: “ I’m continually surprised at how great Goldsmiths Design students are”

Dash’n’Dem project: “Bedford Voices”

Dash MacDonald is one half of Dash’n’Dem, a design partnership whose work challenges conventions, emphasising creative collaboration and critical engagement with politics and society. Dash has been an associate lecturer at Goldsmiths Design for the past two years, and he recently joined the permanent teaching staff of our department as a third year studio tutor; he will also be involved in the Politics and Participation studio of our new, post-disciplinary MA programme. We’ve interviewed Dash to find out more about his approach to teaching at Goldsmiths:

How did you decide you wanted to join our department?

I started here as a second year studio tutor, and I think that was what really cemented me wanting to get a permanent post. The second year of the Design BA at Goldsmiths is really exciting in terms of connecting Design to the world and thinking about different scales of social, political, economic engagement. Working through that as a studio tutor, and seeing how smart the students were, and how exciting the work they were producing was, made me want to be part of that culture. That year, we worked on a live project with the Centre for Investigative Journalism, looking at public finance initiatives, and how design intervenes in the public understanding of public finance initiatives. I was managing that live brief with Liam Healy and the CIJ, and that showed me the potential of working in Goldsmiths, and the fact that there are so many other interesting research centres and areas here makes it really exciting in terms of what can happen in the future.Read More »

Graduate Design Scheme Professional Development session with Adrian De La Court

The Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) and the Design department at Goldsmiths recently delivered the first Professional Development session for our Graduate Design Scheme. The Design graduates who are currently part of this program had the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of Adrian De La Court, MA Lecturer in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at ICCE.

The purpose of this session, and future ones, is to prepare and advice our graduates in aspects related to entrepreneurship, freelancing, financial models and management in the Creative Economy.

Adrian De La Court is the Director of SYNAPSE, a programme delivered through ICCE and Goldsmiths to develop and encourage entrepreneurial and creative thinking and action in students, practitioners and industry specialists. Adrian is also a trained life coach, and still works as a freelance business consultant, arts consultant, development advisor, director and choreographer and visual artist.

Here is what some of the graduates who attended thought about the session:

Julie L. Parisi:

“The session was very challenging and it made me think of my practice in a very concise and business-oriented way. It forced me to articulate and reflect what my profile is, and where I want it to go. The workshop was very clear and direct and challenging in a good way. It was great that it was done in a small group and a very active workshop. Yes, this was a good start to make me understand and be confident in my own practice and as a practitioner.”

Amanda Millard:

“The session got me thinking about what effect I want my work to have in the world, in a new way. It did help me to articulate my professional goals and how my designs relate to that, as well as better incorporating my ethical aims into my business plans.

We discussed how the products/services we want to make into a business can have an impact in the world, who they will impact, how we can reach these people, and what we offer that is not already available. This is a useful framework to filter my ideas to make sure my designs are truly benefiting people, and to help me avoid getting too lost in my own personal tastes and wants.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, I thought the session might be more technical, but actually I think it took the right starting point to focus on refining the product/service itself before moving on to more technical aspects of starting a business, because that is the very thing everything else rests on. If you don’t get that right, then the rest is a waste.”

Erica Jewell:

“The session encouraged us to think deeply, not only about what our practices are, but why we do the things we do and what impacts we wish to have. As I often have difficulty expressing “what I do”, identifying the reason I do what I do helped me better define my practice. I learned that I am motivated by both learning and teaching in my work, and that the primary impact I wish to have is spreading knowledge and making difficult topics more accessible to outsiders.

It was very useful to be asked difficult questions and to be forced to more narrowly define my work and my interests. One of the reasons I work as a designer is because I enjoy moving between subjects and themes, learning about new topics for projects along the way. While the session allowed me to better understand this about myself, I also became aware of how this lack of specificity could be problematic in finding consistent work.

It was helpful to consider the marketability of our work as designers with many different practices. We were encouraged to think about methods for reaching potential clients, building a network of other practitioners and clients, and considering workflow in order to have continual, consistent work. It was also helpful to think about the risks involved in our specific approaches to design.”