Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Technology students get creative!

Regular readers of this blog will know that at MoDA we always get very excited when artists and creative people take inspiration from the museum collections.  We've recently been working with Middlesex University MA/MSC Creative Technologies students on a collaborative project devised jointly with RedLoop, the University's centre for design & innovation.  The project has now ended so we thought we would tell you a bit about it. 

The students were given a brief to develop a site-specific 'digital intervention', enabling users at the University's Hendon campus to gain access to and engage with MoDA's collection. The brief was to design an 'intervention' that would provide inspirational, educational and 'potentially magical' experiences for users, whilst working sensitively with the chosen site.

This brief came about in response to MoDA's new approach to sharing the collections, 'Online, On Tour & On Request', within which we seek to take advantage of innovative digital means to making the collections more available to students, researchers and the public.  MoDA's website showcases the collections, and touring exhibitions travel to other venues around the UK.  However it is difficult to find suitable spaces to display museum objects around the Hendon campus due to concerns about security, environmental stability, light and humidity.  So the brief was to help us to meet one of our priorities for the coming year to find new ways to make parts of the collections visible on campus.

So to start the project the students were first introduced to some of the highlights of the collection by our curator, Zoe Hendon.  

Suitably inspired, the students were given eight weeks to formulate their ideas, undertake further research and finally pitch their ideas by means of a formal presentation.  

Everyone listened carefully to the presentations and the feedback

Overall we were very impressed with the ideas for 'digital interventions' put forward by the students.   They showed a good understanding of the exciting technologies available, and made some innovative suggestions about how they could be used to show parts of MoDA's collections in different locations on the Hendon campus.  

Students gained from the experience of working for a 'real life client', to a specific brief, and of pitching their ideas to a panel.  Magnus Moar, MA course leader, commented:

'The students really appreciated the opportunity to take part in the challenging and interesting project devised by MoDA and RedLoop. They were able to work in groups to create several innovative concepts, some of which may be developed further as part of their future studies.The MoDA and RedLoop staff were very generous with their time and advice. The students particularly appreciated the insightful feedback they received.'

It's not often that we get the opportunity to work with science and technology students.We really enjoyed being involved and hope to do something similar again next year.  We enjoyed working with the students, and we're hoping develop some of their ideas further so that we can put them into practice. 
Watch this space for further developments!

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