Festivals, Fairytales and Myths (2011–12)

In 2011–12 the Global Studio project was on the theme of Festivals, Fairytales and Myths. The project explored how this theme can become part of ‘day to day’ cultural practices. In order to explore the above within a broader cultural context this project was conducted between students from a number of following participating universities:

More than 150 students and 12 supervisors have participated in this international project. The breakdown is indicated in thee table below.

Table depicting number of groups and students involved in the 2012 Global Studio

Participating partners on the 2012 Global Studio project on the theme of Festivals, Fairytales and Myths

The 2012 Global Studio project revolved around the theme of ‘Festivals, Myths and Fairytales’. Though occurring globally, Festivals, Myths and Fairytales are bound to local communities of people and specific geographic locations. Currently, “localism” features heavily in the popular culture of much of the developed world. Many regions are attempting to combat the relentless 'homogenisation' of Globalisation through reclaiming 'local' ways of living and seeing the world that have been claimed to be traditional and imbued with historical significance. The events, rituals, foods, clothing, tales and music which can go to comprising “the local” are seen to have a strong sense of authenticity, can claim additional experiential value and can thus demand an inflated cost to the consumer.
In developed markets where consumers can get hold of seemingly limitless quantities of fungible commodities, there is currently a strong demand for products and services which are perceived to have more esoteric roots, and are connected in some way to more “real” ways of being. This explains the growth, for example in the Slow Movement, consumers’ desire for vintage clothing and resurgent culture, and the growth in festivals and community events. These more desirable means of parting with one’s money are often accompanied with stories of the real places, real people and real technology used in their creation. It is vital for designers looking to understand such movements to be able to narrate these stories in order to differentiate such artefacts and services from their prosaic, commoditised counterparts.
Through collaborating via free Web 2.0 applications with teams possessing intimate knowledge of certain Festivals, Myths and Fairytales, this project allowed students an opportunity to elicit all-important local, esoteric knowledge to aid them design and manufacture accompanying products and services. As well as peer guidance, students were given lectures from industry professionals, academics and PhD students on relevant subjects. For example, Carol Bell, the Head of Culture and Major Events, from the Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative, a consultancy specialising conceiving and organising a diverse range of festivals and promotional activity. She outlined what festivals are organised within the region and how these festivals are organised. Below in the photo Carol is showing the number of festivals taking place through out the year. Each square represents a festival. The graph indicates that the most festivals are scheduled during summer.

Carol Bell, the Head of Culture and Major Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative

Festivals in Northeast of England

Dr Mel Gibson, an expert on storytelling through graphical media who presented how representations of Fairytales and Myths within comics. Photos from Mel's guest lecture are included in the photo gallery below:

Daniel Reed a PhD student researching effective communication within and across design teams. Daniel presented a number of issues to consider when writing a design brief and explains how the brief fits into the project in relation to the roles each group will play, i.e. the Client and the Designers.

Daniel Reed

Daniel's presentaion is inluded below.

In this way, this project enabled students to work differently from the vast majority of projects in their design education.
Festivals, Myths and Fairytales was central to a contextual studies modules which specified that students should ‘understand the reciprocal influences of design and society in cultural, economic and political contexts’. It also asked that students should ‘communicate design concepts’ and ‘produce design artefacts’. Our blended approach to learning and teaching enabled students to meet these requirements through collaboration and investigation into a significant major design-related area in the contemporary era in developed markets.
Festivals, Myths and Fairytales are notions and activities that every student can relate to through personal experience and can thus provide valuable stimulus to drive cross-cultural communication across design teams, simulating the experience of contemporary practice and thus helping to prepare them for professional life in the 21st Century.


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