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MA Disruptive Design — Overview

This MA design programme is unique in the UK. Its focus is on design that is transgressive, operating beyond subject silos and without borders. The subject focus of traditional design disciplines is dissolved, allowing you to engage with new thinking about contemporary issues and the local or systemic impact that design can have on the world.

Our MA Disruptive Design programme develops creative thinking and the cross-disciplinary exploration of ideas, where students propose new concepts, problems, schemes and design proposals that will shape society and impact upon lifestyles.

Working at the interface between physical and digital design processes, the programme encourages innovation with an understanding of contemporary shifts in sustainable, ethical and open design principles. Sustainability and ‘jugaad’ or frugal innovation are critical dimensions of this programme.

Made@EU participant Adriana Ionascu’s work explores connections between design, craft and digital making.

As a global consumer society, we currently use twice as many resources as the planet can sustain. How will designers continue to improve life experience within the planet’s means? This programme challenges creative makers and thinkers to propose new responses and solutions to such questions through design practice. 

You will be designing the future and will engage with critical questions: what is it that people need in material, physical, social, cultural and spiritual terms? how and through what media will they access these things? what is the future of private, common or corporate ownership in material culture? what is the social or ecological consequence of global material consumption at the end of the product life-cycle? 

This is an ideas-driven programme, devised to assist you in developing your unique creative position in relation to product design and society. 

You will engage in design thinking and research-centred projects, developing conceptual thinking and visual literacies through iterative design. 

You will develop a critical framework that will enable you to assimilate diverse ideas, work with complexity and ambiguity, and respond to commercial demands.

Find out more about the Graduate School.

Work by Essi Peuhkuri, MA Disruptive Design graduate 2019.

MA Disruptive Design — Modules

The comprehensive Masters structure, which is shared across our specialist programmes, enables our postgraduate students to focus on creative strategies and processes through three sequential modules which support you in investigating, testing and developing your ideas. The core tuition focuses on training, research methodology, critical thinking, design, practice-led research methods and professional and conceptual frameworks, with an opportunity for negotiated study under specialist supervision for MFA and MA by Research students. All of our programmes have access to outstanding workshop facilities in the college.

By combining modules with specialist assignments and personal project proposals, you will be able to achieve depth and specialisation within your subject area, while at the same time becoming equipped with robust approaches, methodologies and techniques that can be applied across the commercial, social and public sectors.

All students are asked to submit an initial statement on application to the course. This sets out your ideas for the MA or MFA programme you have selected. Creative practice is about change and development, and this statement will form the starting point for a dialogue about your work.  The first module on the MA examines the role of research methods in creative disciplines, where the focus will be upon refining your emerging research proposal to ensure that it can act as a robust framework for your study. The second module supports you to identify the kinds of collaborations and public-facing opportunities that will strengthen your identity as a creative practitioner.  The final module of each programme may be submitted as a dissertation or as a practice-led research outcome and exhibition, depending on which pathway best suits your concerns as a creative practitioner.

Find out more about the Graduate School.

MA Disruptive Design — Staff

Kevin Jenkins

Kevin Jenkins
MA Module Leader and MA Subject Tutor

Kevin is an MA qualified product designer with 20 years commercial experience. He has always been fascinated by form, design, new technologies and materials. Alongside heading up our Product Design & Innovation programme, Kevin also runs Box and Pad Ltd, consulting in product design, furniture design, product visualisation and design development with clients in the UK, USA, Europe and the Far East. 

Box and Pad has designed products and fixtures and managed design development for projects for BT, The National Trust, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Topshop, New Look, Haagen Dazs,  various colleges, hospitals and academies.

He won Innovation of the Year at the British Sign Awards 2016 for his Shimmerdisc design. 

Jason Marks

Jason Marks
MA Module Leader and MA Subject Tutor

Jason is a designer exploring the links between the crafted object and the possibilities afforded by 3D printing and other technologies. He has a degree in 3D Design, specialising in ceramics and an MA in Design from Central St Martins. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Ceramics Manufacture.

His work has been widely exhibited and is held in public and private collections internationally. He also undertakes architectural ceramic commissions. He is passionate about ceramic materials and strives, through the use of technology, to produce new forms and appropriate motifs for the 21st century.

Jason has taught at a range of levels. He teaches across the 3D Design Crafts programme and delivers specialist teaching in computer aided design. He also works in our Fab Lab.

Dr Kim Bagley

Dr Kim Bagley
MA Module Leader and MA Subject Tutor

Kim studied a BA (Hons) Visual Art and an MAFA, both specialising in ceramics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She completed the first practice-led PhD in Ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham in 2014.

Alongside teaching and research, Kim has developed her own practice in sculptural and installation-based ceramics that explore and comment on social issues in South Africa and the UK.

Kim has taught at UCA Farnham, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, 318 Ceramics and Surrey Adult Learning. Kim has worked as a research associate at the University of Westminster as part of the Ceramics Research Centre – UK.

Kim contributes to teaching and learning across the 3D Design Crafts programme and delivers specialist teaching in Ceramics and Contextual Studies.

Dr Stephen Felmingham

Dr Stephen Felmingham
Head of School | Critical + Cultural Studies and MA Subject Tutor

Stephen Felmingham is an artist and educator and has lectured extensively in drawing, painting, print and contemporary art practice on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across the UK, including University College Falmouth, Norwich University College of the Arts and Leeds College of Art. He studied at Middlesex University and the University of the Arts London (Wimbledon) where he completed an MA in Drawing in 1999.

He was nominated a member of the LAND2 Research Network in 2009, was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in the same year and was a finalist in the Celeste Art Prize, New York, in 2010. He speaks regularly both on drawing and art and design pedagogy and his work is represented in collections nationally and internationally and he has exhibited widely in the UK and in Europe.

Stephen exhibited The Violet Club in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art in 2014, a body of work made in response to the Cold War bunkers of the Royal Observer Corps that still exist, abandoned, across the UK.

Dr Natalia Eernstman

Dr Natalia Eernstman
MA Subject Tutor

Dr Natalia Eernstman is an artist, educator and researcher, specialising in (community) learning through artful and performative means.  She is a senior lecturer on the MA Creative Education: Making Learning and runs (research) projects in the field of creative education, community-engaged art practice, intergenerational learning and environmental art. She works in communities and with universities, often around climate change and bridging (social) science and art.

With over 10 years of experience Natalia is a skilled facilitator and she has run large-scale site-specific art events. She was part of the Education Department at Wageningen University in The Netherlands and holds a PhD from University Arts London / Falmouth University. 

Current collaborations are with the University of Gothenburg in a project called ‘Imaginative Disruption’. And she is in the process of setting up a CIC that connects children and their families in creative, collaborative learning to translate debilitating feelings of eco-anxiety in agency. She is also involved in organising the biennial symposium Making Learning at Plymouth College of Art.

The staff listed on this programme are correct at the time of writing. Students will be notified if there are any changes to key staff (i.e. Programme Leaders and Lecturers).

MA Disruptive Design — Student Work

MA Disruptive Design — Students Say

MA Disruptive Design — Careers & Alumni

Alumni of our Graduate School pursue careers in the fields of fine art, craft and design, as practising artists, teachers, curators, and as gallery, theatre and technical professionals. Others go on to prepare for doctoral study, and set up viable projects as socially engaged and community-based practitioners.

Our programmes offer professional skills development to support our students as they progress within industry, self-employment (in the Creative Industries sector) and further Level 7 and 8 studies. The second module offers an opportunity to test out the practices being investigated by individual students within an appropriate, live setting.

MA Disruptive Design — Entry Requirements

MA Disruptive Design — Resources

We continue to invest in our resources, workshops and studios, having spent over £12 million in the last five years on capital projects alone. We have recently invested £8 million in integrating 21st century and traditional creative techniques and processes within an outstanding craft, design and fabrication workshop complex. This new facility offers Computer Aided Design and Manufacture (CAD/CAM) within our Fab Lab, alongside Printing, Printed Textiles, Ceramics, Glass and Small Metals workshops.

In addition, computers campus-wide are installed with graphics, media and design software. We offer dedicated Painting, Drawing, Fashion, Photography, Film and Animation studios. We also house a public facing Gallery on campus, with national and international exhibitions and a programme of visiting artists.

Our Library provides specialist Media, Art and Design and Fine Art materials, and our intranet-based Managed Learning Environment gives you access to online support and information.

Facilities include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Ceramics and Glass Workshops

With a glass furnace that works at 1,100 degrees, 10 potters wheels, resources for hot, warm and cold glass processes, a plaster room for mould making, 16 kilns, a well-stocked glaze mixing area and individual studio space, our Ceramics and Glass Workshops have a real ‘wow’ factor, rivalling any art school around the country.

Our Photographic Studios.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fashion Studios

This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.

Our Glass Studio in our Ceramics and Glass Workshops.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, an historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best printed textile workshops in the UK.

Our Drawing Studios.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Our FabLab.

CNC Milling Machine in our Woods and Plastics Workshop.

Our Fine Art Printmaking Studio.

Find out more about the Graduate School.

MA Disruptive Design — Interview

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