News Teaching

Nature Conservation Council partnership with Master of Design course

In response to student feedback in the Master of Design program, I have been looking for ways to increase industry engagement and experience in the Interaction Design specialisation. Many Masters students are studying with one eye on employment, and so it’s particularly important to make sure the skills and knowledge they are developing is going to be relevant for current industry practice.

Similar to the partnership I have developed with Studio Messa for Integrated Project in the Bachelor of Design program, I have established a partnership with the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) for students in the final Interaction Design specialisation course for Masters students: Tangible Interfaces and Interactive Displays.

We were fortunate enough to have NCC Chief Executive, Chris Gambian and Organising Director, Jacqui Mumford deliver a real world brief for the class: to propose an interactive experience for visitors to the NCC 65th anniversary dinner to be held later in 2020. Students were tasked with not only pitching an experience that would be interesting and engaging for the attendees of the event, but also communicated and celebrated some of the key events in the history of the NCC.

Each work also had to reference the central themes of NCC campaigns: nature, climate and people power. The scope and subsequent feedback provided by Chris and Jacqui of the NCC was fantastic in giving students a taste of working for a real client, with real constraints. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams to develop lighting sculptures, table-top tangible interfaces, interactive lighting projections and educational games.

News Teaching

Studio Messa partnership in Integrated Project course

For the second time this year, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with Studio Messa to develop a project brief for Bachelor of Design students in the Integrated Project course. Previously run in the Summer Term 2-week intensive format, students in Term 2 approached this interdisciplinary brief over 11 weeks.

As an experiential design agency, Studio Messa is a great fit for Design students who have developed individual praxis and specialisation over the past 2 years or so in their degrees. The Integrated Project course is often the first chance they have to come together in teams, where a range of skills and interests is leveraged to create ambitious and interdisciplinary work.

Studio Messa Director, Peter Pengly and Creative Director, Kate Blank have been truly generous with their time and offered students some amazing insights into the realities of the industry. Peter and Kate gave students the following brief, with the timely challenge of also responding to Covid-19 limitations:

Establish a social or cultural issue that you would like to explore and create an immersive experience to convey key messages on that issue to at least 50 people. The experience should be brought to life through the lens of Studio Messa’s ‘A Curious Mind’ ethos, and enliven curiosity and discovery on your chosen theme with those who interact with it.

Studio Messa design brief ‘thematic’.

Students certainly ran wild with this brief. We saw educational installations to engage homeless populations with local communities; pop-up spaces to communicate the realities of coffee sustainability and farmer exploitation; guerrilla artworks to bring awareness to the impact of climate change; and large-scale celebrations of the history of Vietnamese diaspora in Australia.