Through my involvement with the BA/Bsc Product Design course at Bournemouth University (BU), I have fairly recently become more aware of the Arts University (AUB) as well.
Both universities occupy different parts of the same campus, and have distinct yet complementary personalities.
AUB occupies a collection of interesting buildings in a village-style setting, from the iconic blue rotunda drawing studio, to the workshop block built from stone-filled gabions. The landscaped spaces between makes it very human. Moving around the ‘village’, the various disciplines from Architecture to Theatrical make-up, Model making to Animation are revealed through the many widows that flank the quad.
Having recently been to AUB’s degree show, there is no shortage of talent and skills. The quality of work is high, and in this digital age I was impressed with the way ‘craft’ is encouraged, whether in the binding of books in Visual Communications, or in the making of theatrical costumes. AUB represents a creative hub, where collaborations between say photography and theatrical make-up are encouraged.
Clearly it is not just about the buildings, but for creatives, environment is especially important to attract, cluster and inspire groups of talented people committed to their art.
I have always thought that one of the most compelling aspects of design is that it marks the cross-over between science and art. Imaginative exploration, combined with engineering rigour is vital in R&D. In my experience, they seemed were slightly competing disciplines. However today they are collaborative. It was interesting therefore to attend the Festival or Design and Engineering at Bournemouth University a week after seeing AUB’s show.
Covering a wide range of disciples including Design Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Design and Product Design, at BA/Bsc and M/Des level.
As a result, the work on show was very varied and some of it theoretical and less visual. It is hard therefore to make direct comparisons between courses, except that there seemed in many students work, to be a strong sense of social, environmental and professional responsibility.
Clearly these graduates have their careers in front of them and will continue to learn and develop. They should be driven by wanting to make better things, in order to make things better.