June 03, 2010

LJMU Art and Design Degree Show 2010

LJMU Art and Design Degree Show 2010

Event type: Conference Date: 2010-05-28 Map

Running from last Friday to tomorrow (so get down quick if you want a look around), the degree show for the Liverpool John Moores Uni at the Art and Design Academy has been showing work from students of architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design and fashion. I called in for a look round on the first day but only took in the architecture, interior design and product design sections before exhausting both my available time and stamina. Not that it was a huge chore, but more that there's a lot of work to peruse.

I'm afraid this isn't going to be a particularly in-depth review of the individuals work, more a collection of thoughts on the show as a whole. The architecture work in particular got me quite riled up and it would take far too long to unpick and marshal my thoughts into a cohesive blog post, but it was mostly to do with the fact that parts of Liverpool had been chosen (obviously) as the sites for the designs and there seemed to be a lack of thinking about how to integrate into the surrounding area - the idea put forward by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen that one should "Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context - a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan." Lots of big sites being redeveloped (one of the briefs had been a design for a mini-city in Edge Hill, adjacent to the area I was talking about recently!) with the usual boring apartment blocks clustered around some "iconic" tower or civic building. I don't know if that's a problem with the state of architecture; with the briefs that the students are working towards; the fact they're working in groups (for the Edge Hill brief at least); or a lack of ambition and experimentation from the students themselves.

I should stress that there were lots of little bits of interesting and good work spread among the show, and you'd need to be particularly brave to do something really different when you're worried about your mark. I think my beef is more with architecture and the course than the individual students.

One thing that would be useful would be for the student briefs to be shown somewhere in the show. Almost all of the pieces I viewed, across all disciplines, were obviously different students responses to a given brief. Particularly as there were few students around to ask, it would have helped me understand the work if I could find out what they'd been tasked with doing. I think the interior design section did cover that to some extent, although that might've just been contained within one of the student's pieces.

Another thing that surely is essential in this day and age is an online presence. Or even just sticking your name somewhere prominent next to your work! There were plenty of stands where it was hard or even impossible to find out whose work you were viewing, and many more had just a mobile number or an email address. That's fine if someone wants to get in touch with you right now, but it precludes any further investigation into your portfolio and makes it hard to share details of your work with others. So, Dahlaina Jones, Paul Richardson, Tim Spencer and Thomas Kenny - if any of you happen to read this - I thought your product design work was interesting enough to pick up one of your business cards, but I can't show anyone else what your work is like because you haven't included any web links. Contrast that with Leigh Adkins, whose work can be found over here.

Maybe the course could require an online part to the submission and provide a few lessons on getting things online? It would be an easy few marks to acquire for the student but would set them up for life after uni...

Posted by Adrian at June 3, 2010 09:02 PM | TrackBack

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Hi Adrian

Thank you for your comments, I am goin to make my work availible to view on the internet soon so I will be in touch with the link.


Posted by: Thomas Kenny at July 9, 2010 11:14 AM

Hi Thomas,

That's good to hear. I think it's an important part of getting your work out there and promoted. Let me know when you've got something up and I'll update the blog post.



Posted by: Adrian at July 9, 2010 01:29 PM
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