From Monday 22nd to Wednesday 24th November 2011, a panel of nearly 40 industry representatives reviewed Major Project ideas led by undergraduate Design students from Brunel University last week.
Guests from industry as well as charities involved in design attended the informal event which took place over three evenings at Brunel from Monday to Wednesday. The evenings were organised by DesignPlus, part of WestFocus, a consortium of universities in west and south-west London.
A number of companies who took part received funding from the Economic Challenge Investment Fund to support collaborative projects with the students. The companies, all small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), are required to match the funding by investing time and materials into a project.
Stephen Barker, of colour technology firm LCR Hallcrest, said: “These were projects which we really wanted to do, but never had the time or resources to tackle. For a small company, access to this sort of option for research and development fills a gap between in-house work and bringing in a professional agency.”
Another Major Project partner, Adam McDougall of The Lexi Cinema, said, “From our point of view, this sort of project just made absolute sense. Our cinema is about fun, mischief and personality so the opportunity to work with such a great student in developing our brand presence was perfect for us.”
The students also found the event useful. Brunel Design undergraduate Nick Sardar said, “I managed to review my work with four professionals from different companies and job roles. This diversity brought up questions over my work that I had previously overlooked.
It was inspiring to meet professionals as, apart from my placement, I have had limited exposure to the industry so far.”
Paula Neal, Project Manager of DesignPlus, added, “The event will improve the students’ understanding of design for business and give them an insight into problems they will need to consider whether they are employed in-house or through an agency.”
The Head of Design at Brunel, Sharon Baurley, said, “If the concept is successful the companies know that they are likely to be able to keep developing it and maintain continuity through having a successful relationship with the student already in place.”
The student projects started in October and will be completed by March 2011. Many of the projects on display will be seen in their final state at Made in Brunel 2011 on June 8−13 at the Bargehouse on London’s South Bank.See www.madeinbrunel.com for further details.