The Alternative Artschool is conceived a critical tool through which to argue for design education’s inherent, but conflicted, socio-cultural value: a staff-student collaborative project through which design’s futures can be articulated in a spirit of creative and intellectual disruption. As an inter-disciplinary school within a school this nexus of debate and speculative propositions exploits the opportunities of studio culture to ask difficult questions about design. Although open-ended this educational heterotopia has a precise and determined function, to consistently make the case for design through research and design as research.
First meeting // A group of level 5 and 6 design students met to discuss alternative modes of design education yesterday. We gathered questions and proposals relating to government funding of the arts, university branding, design and the wider public, interdisciplinary and collective agency. We discussed new media and spaces for the graduate show as a creative project instead of following conventional formulae. We decided to write a manifesto making our hopes and intentions public as an invitation for greater participation across the design community. The next meeting is 28th October in London.
Second meeting // We decided that:
1. The AA should be for all those involved in the project and not directly beneficial to the course/s or college.
2. We need to define who we are and what the AA represents for us, in the form of a bullet-point manifesto (below)
3. AA meetings should be in or near our institution so that more students from other design disciplines can attend. That London meetings are good but only for inviting speakers, events and staging discussions with industry advisors.
4. That the team want to design a typeface/visual identity for the AA this year.
5. A Wall in the Platform Gallery Kingston should be booked and used as a project space/noticeboard to raise awareness internally and invite more students from the Design School.
6. A Facebook group should be set up (controlled – no images/designs, just as a place to share notices).
7. An AA website should be set up as a continuous presence.
8. Have the Website and identity resolved (even as a holding page) by 23rd November: Manchester UCAS fair.
9. Draw on alumni as supporters but also to help with ‘Contacts Tree’.
10. Current team to set up next meeting.
AA bullet-point manifesto // The Alternative Artschool is:
1. Connecting courses
2. In tune with the world
3. An invitation to collaborate
4. Freeform creative thinking
5. A space for transdisciplinary conversations
6. An ideas exchange