Each Studio takes a post-disciplinary approach to practice, where tools, techniques, media and methods are appropriated and adopted in response to the demands of a project. The studios will help build collaborative and material skills through project based learning where collective investigation is carried out alongside both faculty and visiting experts.
The Studio structure allows the programme to adapt over time in response to the changing nature of the design field and the world around us. Therefore the Studio offering is subject to change. The following is an indicative list of studios offered in previous years. You should motivate your application through a first and second choice from this set of Studios:
Communication & Experience
This studio focuses on investigation and communication, acknowledging a clear interdependency between 'content' (that being investigated) and 'container' (the exploration of the means of communication). Following a process of critical engagement with socio-cultural-political-curatorial concerns, we encourage the exploration of new formats and languages of communication using all means and media, through an interplay of space, performance, objects, film, sound, gaming, activism, language etc. The work we support seeks to engage with the public, not as an audience, but as co-respondents, co-authors and co-inspirators.
Fashions & Embodiment
This studio facilitates conversations between making and unmaking, global and local, ethics and aesthetics, object and system, bodies and clothes. We challenge accepted boundaries and perceptions to explore fashion as a mode of collective agency. This requires questioning the relationship between fashion and consumption and generating knowledge and approaches that foster the transformative capacities of fashion and dress. We aim to broaden and reposition fashion practice through rethinking the relationships between garment, image, text, body and context to explore innovative ways of thinking, making and doing fashion.
Speculation & Techniques
The ‘Speculation and Techniques’ studio investigates ways in which we can understand our history, present and future through temporal entwinement encompassing products, technologies, infrastructures and architectures. The studio's mission is to understand how these entities can be understood and contrived through process, method, practice and ‘ways of doing’.
In this studio, ‘Speculation’ is understood as a fundamental act present in all forms of practice. It is an investigation of ‘what might be,’ drawing directly from other practice-based disciplines such as literature, and film but includes the approaches of performance, theatre, music etc.
We acknowledge but are not limited by ‘speculative’ as a genre of design. We embrace speculation broadly as an active state that can be inclusive, and participatory and has impact and potential beyond what is understood as ‘speculative design’. In short, we will be looking at the techniques, processes and approaches that can activate speculation expansively, inclusively, experimentally and playfully to further understand what these approaches can achieve as reflective and provocative possibilities for pioneering practice.
Interactions & Experiments
This studio explores inventive approaches to design and design-led research. We understand that the doing of design is connected to the making of the social world. We develop experiments that explore the interconnectedness of the designed social world, focusing on interactions between people and non-humans, such as technologies, infrastructures, policies and animals. We then work within these interconnected relationships to develop new interactions through material responses, and through this, bring about new approaches to designing. To support this, we draw on material from design research and science and technology studies (STS). We activate our ideas in collaboration with specialists and in response to practical activities, field trips, seminars and workshops.
Spaces & Participation
This studio locates design, in an active and transformative capacity, within complex spatial-political networks. We focus on ‘ways of acting’ within systems of control, exploring relations between the physicality of space, people and use that begin to negotiate and shape behaviours, and (inter) actions in responsive and innovative ways - from the personal and intimate to architectural and planetary. We embrace the complexities of contested spaces, often hidden behind a language of efficiency, improvement and regulation to explore power relations in the arrangements and movements of the systems and structures we inhabit.
Culture & Ecologies
The Culture and Ecologies Studio considers the role of design (as both an outcome and a practice) in the formation of cultures, or ‘worlds’. Considering ‘ecologies’ as the messy collections of, and interdependencies between, matter, artefacts, and species grounded in particular spaces and timeframes, the studio supports designers to critically reevaluate the socio-cultural-material systems of which we are a part.
Through the facilitation of interventions, events, adjustments, research and workshops, the studio fosters a practitioners’ ‘response-ability’, allowing for practical engagement with questions concerning design’s ethical responsibilities to the planet, environments, and cultures (both human and non-human). These responsibilities are seen not as barriers, or things to be ‘overcome’ or ‘solved’, but rather departure points.
The studio expands design into its wider fields of consequence and embraces alternative forms of knowledge production and radical creative practice.