The V&A Schools Programme


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Speaker: Cara Williams, Schools Programme Manager, V&A Museum - An Equal Share - devising successful collaborative schools projects with designers inresidence. Hear how the V&A Schools Programme, DesignLab, engages with teachers and the V&A Residency Project to create in-depth creative projects.

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  • Going to talk about developing DesignLab - a new programme for secondary students and teachers at the V&A How we used the residency programme to do this and how this has led on to different kinds of creative collaborations The challenges of devising a programme for Secondary schools and how we’ve responded to them through looking at a couple of case studies of successful collaborations. Through this explain what I mean by ‘an equal share’, and show the importance of having buy-in from all involved in the project to ensure best possible outcome and a positive experience for all and primarily the students.
  • Just going to give you a bit of background to the V&A schools programme. Before the Sackler centre we had very limited space for practical education programmes and so our focus up until that point had been developing resources to support self-guided visits, gallery based taught sessions and teachers cpd. The opening of the Sackler Centre and the launch of the V&A residency programme gave us the perfect chance to develop a new practical programme for schools. So, in preparation for the opening of the sackler centre, research and planning was carried out into the development of a new practical programme of workshops and events for students. With of key focus of the V&A being design some research was carried out by the Learning department and the Royal College of Art with a group of teachers about using museums. They felt that while traditional subjects such as History and Art & Design were well provided for, D&T was largely overlooked.
  • And so, along with the opening of this centre, DesignLab was launched with the aims to engage students with design collections, professional designers and the creative industries. These key aims are linked to the strategic objectives of the Learning department and the museum as a whole.
  • DesignLab started as a series of experimental workshops with the Sackler Centre designers in residence. We were very lucky to be able to take advantage of the residency programme supported by the Paul Hamlyn foundation and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The residents are appointed by members of the Learning dept based on their proposals for engaging with the V&A’s collection and crucially, the visitors. Before they take up residence at the museum we establish who the designers are most interested in working with rather than dictating to them and this is essential for making sure they engage fully with the project. The most successful to date have been those where the designers have found the process to actually have an impact on their own process and work. These are photos from animation and jewellery workshops, which we ran with residents Jo Lawrence and Dorothy Hogg in the very first year of the programme. The model for DesignLab workshops which started with these very first residency collaborations was that it should be a joint developmental process with the designers, museum educators and the schools to make sure we were getting the best out of the collaboration for everyone involved. Teachers are involved as much as possible in the development of the brief so that it meets classroom objectives or complements projects or particular modules they are studying in school. We then use these collaborations as a testing ground in the ‘Lab’ before deciding whether to put them into the core programme, so in effect these collaborations are serving as distinct projects in their own right but also as professional development for our designer educators and museum staff and a means of developing our core programme.
  • Now I want to take a look at some of the collaborations and look at why they were successful and how we developed them into the core programme. This is Lau Jianhua, a product designer from China. We ran a series of lamp design workshops with Lao. We then use these residency workshops to put into our core programme of workshops - decision based on what will translate best into a shortened 2.5hr session led by the V&A’s designer educators and what will appeal most to students and teachers. So now we offer a lighting design workshop for example.
  • Lao was extremely generous with his time and his knowledge – a great example of someone who was fully engaged with the collaboration. He was primarily interested in people to influence his design. Here students are in Lao’s studio finding out about his process. We found that his process translated really well into a shortened workshops setting or the classroom. He was fascinated by exploring materials around him and repurposing everyday materials into objects and products - which was a perfect fit for a schools session. He used simple origami, straws, packaging and lollypop sticks to create lampshades. He was extremely generous and left us design sketches and prototypes, like you see here, to share with the students.
  • Use of his sketches Also, blogging while at the V&A so we know use this to capture and pass on some of his ideas and concepts
  • Now going to look at one of the collaborations which we are hoping to translate into a half-day workshop from Sept as part of the core programme. Link to Medieval and Renaissance galleries – Juliana’s residency culminated in fashion show in the galleries – so we decided that’s what the students would also do. Mirroring the same process Teacher buy in - work back in school, research incorporated into their sketchbooks, direct link to their coursework Important to also gauge the skills of the students and teachers beforehand. In this case the teacher was able to help the students with their garments back at school which helped enormously. Visit to the studio
  • Example of Juliana’s sketchbook and students research from the Med Ren galleries
  • Working with Juliana, the teacher said it has inspired and challenged her students. She said the experience made the students work at a much higher level.
  • Culminated in fashion show in the med ren galleries with a professional photo shoot with a member of the V&A photography team. Teachers and students viewpoints – in depth evaluation carried out So we ask teachers to give us Translating this into 2.5hr session? Keeping the authenticity? Focusing on research and ideas development and experimentation with fabric – going to run another collaborative project with Juliana based on the current Yohji Yamamoto exhibition and use this in a similar way as a testing ground for further developing ideas for a core fashion workshop.
  • This leads me on to my next section – seeking out other opportunities. As a model DesignLab development initially started as a collaboration with the Residency programme. Since it has been established we have started to broaden out the creative collaborations and run several projects linked to temporary exhibitions. As I’m sure is the case in your museums and organisations, part of the funding proposal focuses on audience participation and engagement. Through this we run successful designer collaborations with schools which have also fed into the core programme. We have picked out exhibitions such as telling tales which looks at contemporary practice and been lucky enough to work with some of the designers involved in the show. We keep this linked to the idea of working with contemporary designers so that students can engage directly with their process. On top of that it’s good publicity and we can use this to push our programme.
  • This is a chair design workshop led by furniture designer, Gareth Neal, who had a piece in Telling Tales. Again, this was very successful and so was put into our main programme of workshops.
  • Working with Gareth allowed students to have access to his design process and find out where he gets his ideas and inspiration from. Queen Anne Chair, ca.1725 Anne Chair, 2009 Gareth Neal combines traditional techniques and forms with modern technology. Carved/ milled with a CNC machine the Queen Anne-style console 'sits' within its digitally rendered case.
  • One of the main aims of DesignLab is to introduce students to the creative industries. So each year we host Creative Quarter which has talks and workshops from leading industries experts and last year we had over 3000 young people taking part. We’ve had speakers and workshop leaders from Norman Foster, the National Theatre and the British Fashion Council. And this is how we teamed up with Seymourpowell. I invited them to speak at the event in 2009 and because of the success of that they decided to offer to support us in a longer term way.
  • They have since gone on to support us in many ways including creating a product design workshop, Design Pro Yes, many companies have corporate responsibility but it would be too cynical to say that’s the only reason Seymourpowell decided to get involved with the V&A schools programme. The founders, Richard and Dick both passionately believe in design education and it’s crucial to pair up with people who share the same goals. Challenge: schools justifying schools trips – collaborations with respected professional design companies and a museum can strengthen the case for a visit. We are joining together the museum’s historical look at artifacts and objects along with the current professional practice at Seymourpowell, both of which are included in NC and post-14 programmes of study. How did we develop the partnership? Put together an initial proposal of ideas for them to consider including, devising a workshop, running masterclass sessions, leading a teachers symposium, producing an online resource and putting on an exhibition together – amazingly the only thing they didn’t want to do was the online resource – and it looks as though this will be a possibility during 2011/12.
  • Designer educators at the V&A met with designers from Seymourpowell and had their own unofficial CPD session at their studios. These where then used to develop the ‘masterclass’ sessions at the V&A with the designers which then went on to inform the core workshop, design pro, in the regular programme.
  • Naturally, it’s essential to make sure there is a natural link between your collections and the collaborating partner and that it fits comfortably into the workshop or project. So for example, in Design Pro we are allowing students to access the actual design process used and seymourpowell and therefore we didn’t want to wedge in the collections if that wasn’t the way they work.
  • Then during one of our planning sessions with the designers we found out about we found out about their design for a new Nokia range Who do you think inspired the design for this Nokia phone?
  • Paula Zuccotti, Head of Research told me that designers came along to the V&A to the Arts & Crafts exhibition when this phone was in the early stages of development and took away postcards of William Morris prints to feed into their designs.
  • So in the development of the new brief we asked the designers to choose one object each from the V&A collections that they would use to inspire the re-design of a kettle. This is what they chose. We now use these during the workshops to show the students and demonstrate getting inspiration from design around us.
  • So after using the collections to get inspiration, it’s back to the studio to brainstorm their ideas and come up with a design solution
  • Then it’s the pitch Process of translating the SP process into a half day workshop: Quick user profiling and design ideas, brainstorming, Simple 3d rigs & pitch – this, although it looks crude, is how Seymourpowell work initially – they mock up what they call 3d rigs out of anything they can get their hands on in the studio (bits of card, paper, tape etc) – we’ve condensed a 5 month process into half a day and given the students a flavour of the professional process.
  • Seymourpowell have told us how they have benefited as designers for them being involved – the designers have all spoken about how reflecting on their practice and sharing it with the students has given them a new perspective on their work. Video of Paula
  • Skills sharing with D&T teachers Ran the Design Pro workshop with 45 teachers – eager to find out about the current design practice and take ideas back to the classroom In 2011/12 programme we will be hosting a series of masterclass sessions for teachers with Seymourpowell to spread the word and the ideas!
  • How can you access the workshops if it’s not possible to visit the museum? We want each collaborative experience to be accessible by future students and teachers We set up a Flickr account which documents all of the workshops and projects we have run to date. These are designed to work as stand alone resources that you can use in the classroom.
  • This is the one that complements the Design Pro session As I’m sure you are aware the V&A website has had a makeover and was relaunched last week. The Schools Flickr account is embedded into the new site and it is hoped, following an audit of all the current online resources, that we will be able to use all the content generated from the creative collaborations to date to create new interactive web resources to go along side the programme.
  • Advertise Open Studios to schools so they can experience the designers working space and meet and chat with them
  • Another way of capitalizing and maximizing the experience is through having a display. For example, we currently have a display about the Seymourpowell collaboration in the Sackler Centre looking at the work that has been produced over the last year. It sets out the same design process as the one in the Design Pro workshop and invites visitors to take part in the same challenge – therefore increasing the numbers benefiting from the partnership. Design solutions and work can then be uploaded to the V&A flickr site.
  • So, once the DesignLab model was set up, the museum decided to roll it our nationally with a project called Design for Life. With the V&A as the lead partner we worked with 5 regional and 10 local museums with the aim to share good practice in design teaching. As a legacy to the project, the museums have produced a series of resources for teachers which will be published online this May. You can see draft versions of these at lunchtime.
  • The V&A Schools Programme

    1. 1. An Equal Share Devising a successful programme for Secondary schools through creative collaboration
    2. 2. DesignLab - the background
    3. 3. DesignLab Ethos <ul><li>To engage young people with Design collections </li></ul><ul><li>To offer first hand experience of working with professional designers </li></ul><ul><li>To open up career pathways into the Creative Industries </li></ul>
    4. 4. The DesignLab Model
    5. 5. Lamp Design
    6. 6. Accessing Lao’s design process
    7. 7. Translating Lao’s design process
    8. 8. Core DesignLab Workshop
    9. 9. Fashion Residency
    10. 10. Fashion Residency
    11. 11. Fashion Residency
    12. 12. Fashion Residency
    13. 13. Seeking out other opportunities: Temporary Exhibitions
    14. 14. Working with Chair Designer: Gareth Neal
    15. 15. Using the V&A Collections to Inspire Design
    16. 16. Seeking out Other Opportunities: Special Events
    17. 17. Seymourpowell Collaboration <ul><li>“ Seymourpowell shares the V&A’s desire to excite and inspire students and teachers of Design & Technology in fresh and unique ways.” </li></ul><ul><li>Tim Duncan, Seymourpowell </li></ul>
    18. 18. Seymourpowell Workshop - Design Pro
    19. 19. Meaningful connections to museum collections
    20. 20. Using the V&A Collections to Inspire Design
    21. 21. Inspiration: William Morris
    22. 22. Meaningful Connections
    23. 23. Developing Design Ideas
    24. 24. Presenting design solutions
    25. 25. Mutual benefits
    26. 26. Capitalising on the collaboration: Teachers events
    27. 27. Online Legacy
    28. 28. Online Legacy
    29. 29. Open Studios
    30. 30. Design Pro Display 18 April - 7 Sept 2011
    31. 31. <ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>A major V&A initiative 2008-2011
    32. 32. Things we’ve learnt <ul><li>Ensure buy in from all parties - equal share </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the designer show specific interest in working with your audience? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the teacher fully engaged with the project? Do they have the time to commit to it? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop collaboratively with teacher and designer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure the design process translates easily into workshop setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link with current classroom projects / coursework </li></ul></ul>
    33. 33. Things we’ve learnt <ul><li>Meaningful connections </li></ul><ul><li>Find out how the designer uses your collections in their process </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure there are meaningful links to your collections and they are not simply an add on </li></ul><ul><li>Make the design process real for the students </li></ul><ul><li>Seek out a range of collaborations </li></ul><ul><li>Residency programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibitions </li></ul><ul><li>External companies </li></ul>
    34. 34. Things we’ve learnt <ul><li>Creating a legacy and capitalizing on the collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Record everything </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Photos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videos and interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Carry out in depth evaluation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With teacher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With designer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Give the project an online presence – make use of free websites such as Flickr & Youtube </li></ul><ul><li>And lastly, keep focused and be patient </li></ul>
    35. 35. DesignLab Display: 18 April – 7 Sept 2011
    36. 36. Cara Williams Schools Manager V&A Museum