Makerversity Presents: Make Your Own Masters

By Claire Mead

This June, we continued our Makerversity Presents series, which showcases the best our community has to offer, with members redefining the future of creative maker practices. We were proud to present the outcomes of a project that has been two years in the making: Stacie Woolsey’s Make Your Own Masters.

University education is essential in fostering new practices and research. However, there is an urgent need to value a diversity of viewpoints and solutions via accessible learning alternatives. This feels particularly relevant to design, which thrives on learning via experimenting, collaborating and seeking unexpected solutions.


How do you DIY your degree?

Seeking an alternative to traditional post-graduate education led Stacie towards constructing her own curriculum, network of briefs and peers to develop her own speculative design degree.  The result is the MA Anthopological Futures – imagining future solutions by observing current human behaviour. This alternative, DIY degree show exhibited four projects resulting from these initial briefs, given by professional designers who collaborated on the project:


Milk

Humans are the only mammals to drink milk post infancy. 

This brief, given by Seetal Solanki (Ma-tt-er Studio), presented a dual challenge in raising awareness around reducing milk consumption for adults who do not need it, while still recognising its value for people with additional nutritional needs, in terms of health, infancy and old age.  The bottles were designed to reassociate milk with a specific early or later life phase, or a health need. Its various shapes are designed to help children and senior populations access milk with limited motion and control. Each volume corresponds to the weekly required amount of milk the target audience should consume. 


Dirty Soaps

How clean is too clean and what dirt is bad dirt? 

The outcome of this brief by Marie Tricaud (Room Y, John Lewis innovation lab), Dirty Soaps highlights the importance of microbes in a child’s development to counteract the danger of over-sterile environments by protective parents, which lead to health problems. The proposal for bacteria-filled soaps would expose babies to some dirt, within the framework of cleanliness. This would hopefully help change perceptions around cleanliness – and help build trust in the way microbiome can help build a child’s immune system. The products themselves were accompanied by a children’s story book, Invisible Friends, written by Stacie and illustrated by Lucy Bennett.


Faith in the Fish

 

Could small collective actions rid our waters from microplastics and could religion be the tool to help us do so?

This project, whose brief was given by Somerset House Studios resident Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsburg, likens plastic to a new type of parasite, which affects many carrier species. Observing the direct correlation between the presence of parasites in certain areas of the world and its local religion, Faith in the Fish draws inspiration from the way religion with its food restrictions and cleansing rituals is used to spread health messages through storytelling. It proposes a ritual act through cleansing fish from microplastic contamination, made visible via a ceremonial tablecloth. 


New Coal – brief by Thomas Thwaites

Coal doesn’t have to become redundant when we no longer need to burn it for fuel. 

This brief, given by designer Thomas Thwaites, is a speculative future scenario around the new relationships we can have to coal. It re-imagines coal’s chemical make-up as the source of the super material Graphene which, if successfully extracted, could create new material sources for Britain’s working-class mining towns. However, as the race is on to capitalise on Graphene, the communities built around coal mining are at risk of being left behind. In this story, working-class mining towns claim a fragment of this Graphene revolution. Three local workers’ stories around this new coal revolution are given centre stage.


What’s next?

Debates throughout the exhibition’s programme have included discussing the radical future potential for self-learning courses with Seetal Solanki, Natsai Audrey Chieza (Faber Futures), Helen Tartaglia (Goldsmiths) and Ella Britton (V&A Design thinker in residence). Now, Stacie wants to explore how M.Y.O.M can keep on growing via collaboration and discussion. Visit the M.Y.O.M. website to find out more about ways you could be involved – as a briefer, mentor, peer or course-designer/student!

 

Photography: Gabriela Gesheva

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Posted By Claire Mead