Todays workshop kicked off with some physical and mental exercises, with Graham Cooper (L.S.M) getting participants up on their feet in a series of activities designed to highlight the strength of collaboration and positive thought, in addition to demonstrating how we use different sides of our brain for creative and rational thinking. Not only was this a bit of fun, it was also highly relevant to discussions we have been having about learning styles and approaches to creative thinking throughout the week.
Next up we had Clive McCarthy from Interactive Design (A.A.D), who discussed an art installation / piece of critical design he was involved with a few years ago, which attempted to visualise popular ‘trending tweets’. The project attempted to turn Twitter into a pure visual trending engine by wiring an Phidget board to a series of L.E.D lights. The 6 bulbs each represented a particular subject which would ‘light-up’ each time a ‘tweet’ would be published regarding that subject. By juxtaposing more serious ‘newsworthy’ stories (such as the crisis in Syria, The Arab Spring, etc.) alongside ‘pop culture’ references (like Justin Bieber), the trending engine highlighted the absurdity of contemporary networked communications, as the pop culture references would generally receive a far higher amount of ‘trending’ activity. Clive was keen to underscore that student work should always set out to ‘question’ – that creative design should be informed by a critical research question.
In line with the open and flexible approach to teaching that underpins the co_LAB ethos, throughout the week students have been asked to make suggestions for possible workshop content via a shared Google Doc. One of the most popular requests was for more information about application development and design. In response to this, James Field (L.S.M) presented a case study of an application he has recently designed (more information about concept development can be found on James’ brilliant blog), and gave some invaluable advice about the importance of market research for developing design concepts.
James also gave some advice for designing team posters, which the teams will produce in tomorrows workshop. These posters will represent the output for all group concepts, and are due to be exhibited during the forthcoming ‘As Above, So Below’ event. The rest of the day focussed on further concept development, with lecturers ‘dropping-in’ on group discussions to deliver feedback and advice.