Horses don’t make good designers.

Today as usual we had another inspirational talk for our Change By Design module, to open the morning of lectures we had a fellow DJCAD student, Douglas Kinnear, talk about his experience as an undergraduate design student specialising in jewelry. From the off he was a likable character who seemed moderately comfortable talking to a crowd of tired students first thing on a Friday morning.

He began talking about his expectations starting at the uni from doing and HND in art and Design at College, he describes his focus as having ‘blinkers’ on. This i could definitely relate to with past experiences at other institutions, confusing tunnel/narrow vision with determination and ambition while missing the big picture. After several years of dotting around various schools and different teaching styles as well as gaining and impressive pile of rejection letters from art schools across the country -I entered this course as open mindedly as I possible could. Almost will to take anything that came at me even if it wasn’t what I wanted to do, just to get somewhere in education, almost settling for Textiles over fashion. If anything I have learned over the last few weeks of the course it is that at this fantastic design school the course and what you study is what you make of it! Which I think is the point Douglas was trying to get across.

Douglas continued to talk about his ‘hallelujah’ moments when he realised not everything had to be strictly jewelry to relate to his craft. For his fourth year project he began working on the concept of medicinal jewelry: Something which would distribute medication while not looking like something which would instantly have a stigma attached ‘oh, what’s wrong with that person’. He began to see the wood for the trees so to speak, that design was about everything and anything around us which inspires us that can be changed for the better or taking an existing product/idea and using it in a different way to create something completely new.

His main point throughout his short talk was how to appreciate what we are being taught and to ‘absorb’ ALL the information given to us, not filtering out what we believe to be irrelevant to our chosen specialism. See everything as being relevant.

Be a sponge – Not a horse.

More notes from Friday to follow, there is a lot which has to be said reflecting on professor Mike Press’ excellent and awe-inspiring lecture.


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