Learning through making is not a new concept but its importance in senior secondary school education is vital in developing young adults who embrace change and failure as part of life’s learning process.

In our Design Minds Design Experiments workshop, senior students and their teachers came from across Brisbane to SLQ to tap into a model of design thinking that focussed on experimentation and making to uncover innovative ideas.

Students were asked to investigate a design intervention for the Cultural Precinct. Their open-ended brief was to design and construct an interactive structure that enables tourists to consider the precinct from a new perspective.

However, the intention was not about the final constructed end-product but more about how understanding the ‘making process’ can lead students to fresh and different perspectives.

Students from Indooroopilly State High School, Marist College Ashgrove, Indooroopilly State High School, St Augustine’s College and Sandgate District State High School spent the day with UQ School of Architecture and Design Interaction team who exposed the students to architectural methodology as used by design professionals.

The students were given a taste of university-level design interaction and architecture via the Sulcus Loci installation, which was used as the inspiration for their own creations.

The workshop followed the three-step inquire, ideate and implement Design Minds model.

The inquire phase gave students the opportunity to get hands-on and experiment with optimised geometries using construction elements such as lycra, nylon, timber and wire. In this stage, interaction design was also introduced where students played with computer-generated sound, light and vibration.

During the ideate phase, students were asked to go out and explore the Cultural Precinct with volunteer Design Mentors to make a rapid decision on where to locate their interactive structure. With a psychogeographic map in hand, students were able to map out their own experience of the cultural precinct from the point of view of a tourist.

The final implementation phase of the workshop saw the rapid prototyping of interactive structures and the development of a pitch to sell their interactive structure to the entire workshop group.

The outcomes were diverse and remarkably inventive. Students embraced the challenge to incorporate the lessons they had learned in investigating optimised geometries and interaction design to breathe life into the Cultural Precinct. Many groups were inspired by the historical context of the precinct and all were considerate of future use of the space.

Design Experiments was presented in partnership with University of Queensland (UQ), Asia Pacific Design Library (APDL) and QAGOMA Learning (Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art) on 12 May 2016 at SLQ Gallery.

The toolkit for this workshop is available on Design Minds here.



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