A pilot initiative in London bringing together schoolchildren, design students and the industry to improve school environments, is set to be extended across the country by its founding group The Sorrell Foundation.
The Young Design scheme paired 100 pupils from ten schools with 45 design and media students from the University of the Arts London. Acting as ‘clients’, these primary and secondary school pupils briefed the student ‘consultants’ on design issues in the school environment. Professionals – including Graphic Thought Facility, Simon Waterfall of Poke and architect Fat – acted as mentors on the projects, which ran throughout 2005 and 2006.
‘The pupils are devastatingly honest as clients and it has been a big learning curve for everybody. But because they’re working with students of design, rather than adult professionals, they are more comfortable and can be a bit cheekier with one another,’ says Sorrell Foundation co-chair Frances Sorrell.
The scheme builds on the foundation’s existing Joinedupdesignforschools programme – set up in 2000 to improve the quality of life in schools through design – but brings in the tertiary education sector for the first time.
In September, University College Falmouth will adopt the Young Design model for its own year-long pilot scheme and discussions are underway with additional colleges, according to Sorrell. It is hoped that all the UK’s higher education institutions will eventually become involved, bringing additional design students into the process. ‘The initiative is designed to be extended and handed on, but it is important that there is a hub where the information is collected at the end of each session. We will continue to do this at The Sorrell Foundation,’ says Sorrell.
The results of the London pilot will be displayed in an exhibition designed by Urban Salon, one of the mentoring consultancies.
The exhibition runs at the London College of Communication from 18 September to 13 October, as part of the London Design Festival. For details see www.thesorrellfoundation.com.