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RAE 2008

Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design


Postgraduate Students Work with Leading Manufacturer

Students of the Design Research for Disability MA course at The Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design have joined forces with Mountway, a leading manufacturer of products and accessories designed for independent living. The students presented their work along with working prototypes earlier this year, greatly impressing the Mountway team. As a result, the company is now investigating some of the designs and manufacturing costs, and organising trials and customer feedback to see if the designs can be implemented.

Mountway set the students practical challenges for their course module on Design for Production. The students were given a brief to work on three design projects, taking into account anthropometrics and ergonomics as well as manufacturing processes, materials and cost. As part of the project, the students visited the company’s centre in Tredegar, Wales to learn about its manufacturing process.

Menna Hughes, Mountway’s product marketing manager explains: "It is fantastic to have been involved with the design course. Not only did the students clearly get the benefit of experiencing a real life brief, but it was fascinating for us to see the creative ideas the students came up with, and how they approach what can often be very challenging briefs. We always involve healthcare professionals in our own design projects and sometimes we have to explain to them why some of their ideas cannot be adopted due to manufacturing difficulties and costs. I think the course is an excellent opportunity for healthcare professionals and designers to learn from each other to help produce innovative and aesthetically pleasing designs for independent living."

Smadar Samson, the course leader said: "The association of a market leader with over 25 years of experience in the industry and students with occupational therapy and design backgrounds has been beneficial for both parties. What was most challenging was the pressure to deliver design solutions under production and cost constraints. Unlike less hands-on design courses, where students’ solutions are often divorced from strict manufacturing and marketing constraints, London Metropolitan students have had a great opportunity here to experience realistic product development, where conjuring slick computer modelling solutions only, would not be good enough."

Student Dana Demin, an occupational therapist specialising in equipment prescription, found the collaboration with Mountway "an extremely useful learning opportunity." Speaking about the project, Dana said: "Working to the company’s briefs gave real insight into how to design creative concepts within the set limitations. The collaboration gave me the opportunity to use the skills gained from working as an occupational therapist and learn new skills in computer modeling and presentation. I also learnt about materials and their limitations."

The Design Research for Disability course is one of a suite of seven successful MAs in Design subjects at the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design. Students on these courses are presently working on live projects with clients such as Orange, the Evening Standard, Coutts London Jewellery Week and many others.

April 2, 2008

back to News & Events Archive: April 2008

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