After taking a tour of the Design workshops with Senior Workshop Tutor Andrew Weatherhead, it’s easy to understand why students tell me about how much they love this space. It’s filled with a sense of wonder and innovation, and Andrew Weatherhead’s enthusiasm about the tools and technology available is contagious.
“The workshops reflect the interdisciplinary nature and creative critical practice of the programmes themselves”, he says. Unlike other universities, where students are specifically taught furniture design, for example, here they can and are encouraged to try their hands at a bit of everything. Whatever your material of choice, you’ll find some tools to help you experiment: there’s a room for heavy metals, one for woodwork, one for clay and other soft materials (where we found some tiles of green ceramic freshly out of the kiln, made by a student from the soil of her homeland), a room for textiles (where 3rd year student Hefin was busy putting together a woolen space suit for his final project) and, of course, the student favourite- the digital lab. Continue reading “A tour of the workshops with Andrew Weatherhead”
Behind a red door in a very old building works Olivia Alice Clemence, our BA Design graduate whose work has made it to the pages of Wired recently. She shares a small and cozy studio with two other creative people, where she was kind to invite me for hot tea (in a Michael Jackson-printed cup) and a chat, on a rainy evening – because we can’t leave all the good stories to Wired, can we?
I had barely stepped inside and Olivia was already showing me the tools and ingredients of her craft: the distilling kit (custom-made for her) that she uses to capture scents, and her cabinet of around 60 wonderful and unusual smells bottled in small glass containers. The principle and instruments of the steam-distilling process are very old discoveries, but to untrained eyes like mine it looks as if I’m taking a peek at a bit of magic and alchemy. She allowed me to get a whiff of one of her recent works, a perfume designed for the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. “What’s in it?” I ask, unable to pin down the unusual tones hidden under the pleasant surface. She tells me: the combined smells of beer, coffee, peanuts, carpet, wood, Subway sandwiches…the essence of the Centre itself in a nutshell (or, a glass vial). Continue reading “Olivia Clemence doesn’t take smell for granted”
It’s not a secret for anybody trying to make a living out of creative work: having a good idea is just half of the road- the even more difficult part is turning your idea into money. Second year BA Design student Emily Gardner (who goes by Nemii) had some work she wanted to sell, she knew other students and friends had marketable products of their own, but she didn’t know of any possible route or opportunity of marketing them through the university. So she took the matters into her own hands and The Design Marketplace was born, an organisation that Nemii started from scratch as a personal project and that she still runs mostly by herself. Continue reading “All about The Design Marketplace with Emily Gardner”
Moving into new research territories, Peter Rogers and Juliet Sprake presented a series of projects that focus on user generated content for tours and guides at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester. Since 2005 they have been working through several projects to develop understanding of user generated content in museums and sites of special interest in ways that give voice to the visitor. In their talk, “A tale of Two Workhouses”, Pete describes a current project, Vantage Points, a smartphone service that records and classifies features of heritage buildings at risk- such as Strand Union Workhouse in London. The project aims to build contextual information about at risk buildings and thereby contribute to saving/archiving them in the face of erasure. They are conducting a series of experiments to build a service that enables different kinds of users to generate content about a building at risk by:
- Finding the best vantage point of a building at risk, taking a photo and sharing access information;
- Finding, recording and publishing details of the close-up fabric and conjencturing about their identification and importance;
- Augmenting and linking with other online sources of data.
The outcome should hopefully provide enough location date on site to be able to provide an informative tour of the building or site.