This is the transcript for the video Master of Design.

Cameron Tonkinwise (00:00):

Welcome to all of you who have logged in tonight to come and hear a little bit about postgraduate design studies at UTS. My name is Cameron Tonkinwise, I’m the Professor of Design Studies at the School of Design. Also joining me here is Abby Mellick Lopes who is the incoming Director of Postgraduate Design Studies, just recently joined UTS.

Cameron Tonkinwise (00:23):

So I’m going to be hosting you through this webinar and Abby is going to be here to listen to your questions and answer some questions and we might kick off. So welcome, thanks for coming.

Cameron Tonkinwise (00:39):

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation on whose ancestral lands UTS’s city campus actually resides. I myself am just a little bit out further up the river, Parramatta River, I’m where some of the Gadigal people retreated when settlers first came. And so I would like to also acknowledge them as the custodians of the knowledge of this land and I would like to pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. And welcome any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who’ve joined us this evening.

Cameron Tonkinwise (01:18):

Okay. So I’m here to introduce to you postgraduate studies at the School of Design at the University of Technology Sydney. The School of Design is at a public University of Technology. It’s in an Asia Pacific city, as I said previously, acknowledging we’re on Gadigal land and we’re teaching in the middle of the Anthropocene, a moment in which designers are impacting geologically the whole of the biosphere of our planet.

Cameron Tonkinwise (01:44):

At the School of Design, we teach at undergraduate level animation, communication, which is now incorporating photography, we teach product design, and we teach fashion design. And at the postgraduate level, we teach service and social design.

Cameron Tonkinwise (02:00):

We’re a public University of Technology, that means that we’re particularly committed to civic versions of technology and that we are concerned that everything that we do in this realm in terms of building new socio technical systems improve social justice outcomes. We’re a city based university, so we’re particularly interested in very diverse cities, cosmopolitan built environments, much more than, just to also indicate, we sometimes have faculty who know something about rural settings but we are really focused on being a city in the Asia Pacific region.

Cameron Tonkinwise (02:35):

And as I said at the beginning, acknowledging country, we are very committed as a school to beginning the process of decolonizing design and we’re doing that by really attending to the fact that we have access in this country to one of the longest standing populations on the planet in terms of a continuous functioning culture. So we have a lot to learn from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, from indigenous peoples around the world who understand a lot about what it means to live sustainably.

Cameron Tonkinwise (03:07):

And we are doing this as a school, we are trying to take heed of the fact that all design has consequences. Design is not just about making things, it’s about making the consequences from those things and after the 20th century it’s very important that design has learned to be more responsible. Sometimes the overall context in which we are teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Cameron Tonkinwise (03:30):

Our Master of Design degree program has to date been a richly interdisciplinary program, very centered around studio practice with a focus on interaction design and to some extent, service design. There’s now a Master of Interaction Design, the faculty of engineering, it’s very digital focused but we’re taking this opportunity of that degree to re-emphasize that our Master of Design degree is now more focused on design leadership and service design. These are the core areas, and I’ll show you some of this as we proceed.

Cameron Tonkinwise (04:04):

So whilst we’re still in the old Master of Design program for spring 2020, a lot of the studios and seminars will be refocused on design leadership and service design, and from 2021 the entire degree program will be structured around this. This restructuring the degree is being done because we’re in a position to draw from a decade of expertise at the Design Innovation Research Centre. The Centre is a kind of applied research center, a type of agency within the university doing mostly social justice related design work, particularly in relation to criminal justice.

Cameron Tonkinwise (04:41):

And this work really is exemplary, it’s been registered as the most impactful design research in Australia by a kind of pilot evaluation of research by the Federal Government, it’s internationally known for being sort of next generation design thinking. Not just superficial but really understanding what it means to undertake social change by design. So we’re in a position to draw on that expertise for the way we teach this Master of Design program.

Cameron Tonkinwise (05:11):

You can see some of the work that we’re drawing on in this book which was from a Dutch publisher, it’s not always available but we’re happy to give you access to it. Designing for the Common Good carries a lot of the case studies from the Design Innovation Research Centre over the last 12 years.

Cameron Tonkinwise (05:29):

Our postgraduate studies in design really, as I’ve said, are moving into this emphasis on design leadership and service design. They’ve been designed for people who have design backgrounds or have been working as designers and are finding themselves now needing to move into leadership positions. They might be moving from being a designer to being a product owner within a kind of UX team. They might be the head of an innovation team of a sort of in house design unit. They might themselves be interested in founding a new design firm, moving into a position of being a principal or a partner at a design firm. They might be moving from design making to design strategy.

Cameron Tonkinwise (06:12):

Our degrees are specifically being designed for people who might have redirected themselves from a non design background into design, perhaps done some short courses in UX, service design or design thinking, and are really interested in now developing a mature practice, a mature practice in which they can be a leader in emerging fields like service and social design.

Cameron Tonkinwise (06:37):

Sorry, I’m just pausing for a minute, just wondering if anyone’s got any questions. Nothing in the box so I’m just going to keep pushing on. I think it’s important to say that with that preface that we are a School of Design at a public university on Gadigal land in the Anthropocene, that we are very much focused on giving mastery to people interested in leading the creation of shared value and not just shareholder value. The things we’ll teach you will benefit commercial corporations but we’re very interested, as I think everybody in any kind of business these days needs to be, in understanding the benefits for employees, for local communities, for future generations.

Cameron Tonkinwise (07:15):

So a lot of our work in our teaching and in our studios is focused on how designers can lead the change to more equitable, more sustainable futures. And it also means that we’re really teaching designers to be not just sort of pain point reducers, not just to be solutioners for existing problems, but rather to reframe problems so that they can engage in systems level change.

Cameron Tonkinwise (07:43):

I see just at this point, someone’s asking whether this does contribute to doctoral studies. It certainly does. It’s possibly something I can talk to you separately about. It’s not a direct line but any course work master’s massively increases your eligibility for entering as a PhD student and a lot of the things that we teach in terms of design research I think are both applicable to coming up with industry leading innovations as well as developing new knowledge, which would form a basis for moving into doctoral studies. I certainly notice it’s something that Abby Mellick Lopes, my colleague, is very keen to enable, so I think we’re in a good position to help anybody who would like to make that shift. So the answer to that question is yes, from Edward.

Cameron Tonkinwise (08:34):

Okay. So we’ve got two degrees in particular to talk about for you this evening. This one is very red and caused me to glow red in the background so don’t be alarmed by the redness of that. This spring we are actually running a short course, a Graduate Certificate in Social and Service Design. It’s a 24 credit point short course. It entails four six credit point subjects that will be done in online semi intensive fashion. So they’ll run in two five week sessions over the spring semester so you can get a complete graduate certificate which is effectively full time study by just finding evenings and a little bit of a weekend to engage with us online in those four subjects.

Cameron Tonkinwise (09:21):

This was a degree program which is distinctly based on the work of the Design Innovation Research Centre and particularly its core processes which center around what we call frame creation or frame innovation which is about problem framing. And then once one’s reframed a problem in order to open up different solution fields then the way in which you co-evolve problem framing and solutioning in the kind of process that I think the Design Innovation Research Centre kind of uses.

Cameron Tonkinwise (09:56):

I think someone had their hand up, I ask that you possibly just write a note in the questions just so we have a record of your question, if it’s possible for you to ask your question just in text form at the moment. So just do that and I’ll just keep proceeding and then we’ll see if we can have a bit of a discussion at the end.

Cameron Tonkinwise (10:18):

This course, as I said, it has these core method driven components, Frame Creation and Problem Solution Co-evolution. I think of these as really mature, next generation types of design thinking, really social design led innovation. These are then also book ended, top and tailed by an Introduction to Mature Service Design, not just methods and tools but really thinking about concepts and politics of service design. And then we take beyond business as usual in Leading Design for Social Innovation in which we introduce some the designally leadership strategies that might help social innovation design.

Cameron Tonkinwise (10:57):

So this is the Graduate Certificate in Social and Service Design which will be running in spring. These 24 credit points directly become recognized prior learning for the master’s degree. Some of these subjects are existing in the new coming master’s degree, both Frame Creation and Service Design Foundations and Leading Design for Social Innovation and Problem Solution Co-evolution will count anyway. So if you did this Graduate Certificate in spring you can parlay straight into the master’s and have only another 24 or 48 depending on your prior education.

Cameron Tonkinwise (11:35):

The Master of Design program that’s coming, as I said, is focused on design leadership. It has a core set of subjects there, you can see in the middle, Higher Order Designing, which is kind of Dick Buchanan’s language around the four orders of design. Frame Creation which I just described which is central to the practice of the Design Innovation Research Centre. Value Design which is thinking about different types of ways in which designers create value and different types of value not just commercial value. And Organization Design, something we think is desperately lacking in a lot of design education and something that our industry colleagues have made very clear to us, that we should be teaching designs at a postgraduate level.

Cameron Tonkinwise (12:18):

To the left are 24 credit points in studio based designing. Those are designed for people who have not had a studio based design background. So if you have not had a bachelor degree in a design or allied area, you’ve only taken short courses and you haven’t had much experience but you’re starting to work as a designer, then we’d encourage you to take those 24 credit points so that you really understand what it is that the material practice of design in a studio does and how to learn in a studio fashion. If you’ve got a bachelor’s degree then you can get RPL for those so essentially a 72 credit will become a 48 credit.

Cameron Tonkinwise (13:03):

So in fact, Martin if I’m just looking at your question there about space for people who are from fine arts. So certainly the degree would encourage that transition and I think we could have a conversation with you about how much your art practice, particularly in relation to book design let’s say or web design, has met some of what we think would be adequate to really begin learning design leadership, and if not we might encourage you to take those practice based designing, studio based designing subjects in that first 24 credit points.

Cameron Tonkinwise (13:38):

So those 24 credit points are allowing people to pivot from allied fields into design. Arts a little more allied than others, though sometimes a lot of art practice I think is missing particularly kind of user driven problem solving approaches. Which are really central to design studios as opposed to art studios. But that’s something that we’d be really happy to have a conversation on a case by case basis.

Cameron Tonkinwise (14:06):

So we’ve got that pivot set of subjects, we’ve got the core in terms of design leadership, and it’s then possible to focus on leading design as the last set of 24 credit points that you might do, really learning about the specifics of team management, conflict management, negotiation, understanding how to create organizational cultures, understanding what’s involved in growing organizations. A lot of designers suddenly find themselves growing rapidly and are not well skilled in doing that. And then finally, something that we’ve realized in our work at the Design Innovation Research Centre, which is that if you really want to innovate, it’s not enough just to be an innovative firm, you actually have to go outside and transform the whole of the sector you’re in. Kees Dorst has been talking a lot about this recently and I think it’s a really important new perspective on innovation.

Cameron Tonkinwise (15:00):

So we have that subject there about being an advocate, about participating in community as a practice, attending conferences and giving speeches and educating so that you’re actually changing the ecosystem into which you are designing. You could also then focus instead on service design. So you take the Design Leadership core and then really develop as an expert service designer. We couple these two things, we think that all service design is about transforming organizations, transforming client’s organizations, transforming not for profits, transforming community organizations. You cannot just do service design without having the capacity to transform. And so that’s why you need to be a design leader to do service design. Service design can’t be done without design leadership so that’s why we are coupling these.

Cameron Tonkinwise (15:56):

The service design subjects there, as I’ve said, we have a way of understanding the concepts and politics of service design, when you design services you’re designing people and it’s very important to understand what’s involved in that. I think a lot of methods and tools gloss over some of those politics. So a mature service designer really understands the responsibilities that they are taking on by designing services. Researching services is very different from doing conventional user research or even user experience research, it requires researching not just customers but employees, it means researching communities, researching expectations, it needs to be a very well socially research informed.

Cameron Tonkinwise (16:41):

There are very particular ways of communicating services. We’ve been quite critical in our existing Master of Design studios for a long time of service blueprints, which we think are really inadequate ways of capturing the experiences that designers are trying to design when they do service design. And obviously the implementation of a service is a long continuous process which requires a lot of embedding by a designer, very different from just finishing off some blueprints, handing them over to a manufacturer and then waiting for the retailer to sell them.

Cameron Tonkinwise (17:14):

So that’s the core of our service design component. We’re going to be one of the only master’s of design degree in Australia teaching service design. The whole of the service design industry from all of my contacts are begging for service design education. If you go to any service design firm in Australia, you’ll find that it’s filled with people from America, Europe and particularly Scandinavia and the United Kingdom because there just haven’t been good degree programs teaching mature service design practice. A lot of service design practitioners in Australia are product designers or communication designers who’ve kind of taught themselves service design or they’re people who’ve just taken a short course in service design and are trying to learn on the job. So we think we’re going to be providing a very important service to industry with this particular major.

Cameron Tonkinwise (18:05):

And we have other majors that we’re planning in the future and so we’re thinking about fashion leadership, we have some new highers coming into this space and so in the future we’ll be able to add other areas of design leadership to this degree program. There’s an interesting question from Ruby there in relation to service design being in demand. Service design has been led in Australia very much in the financial services sector so banks and insurance companies have done a lot of service designing, a lot of them have pivoted back to UX and digital design.

Cameron Tonkinwise (18:42):

We are now finding service design units a lot in government agencies, so a lot of the post digital transformation work that’s occurred in government agencies has been service design. You’re finding service design in a lot of not for profit community sectors particularly disability services work. You’re finding service design in education, a lot of the work the Design Innovation Research Centre is doing for UTS itself, we treat UTS as a client as well even though we’re a member of UTS, we’re doing a lot of work improving the service provision of higher education. Which as you may know, hopefully not from this degree, could do with some redesign, it has some very clunky old aspects.

Cameron Tonkinwise (19:27):

So in fact there’s been a lot of service design moving through the economy in different areas. You’re now finding in fact even we’ve been doing some work at the Design Innovation Research Centre for law firms, we’ve been doing some work a lot in the health sector, one is even finding interestingly enough that architects very close to designers are needing to improve the ways in which they do their services. So I think service design still has a long way to go as a growth industry. I think it’s something we really need to learn how to do very well. I think the first wave have not done it well and so to some extent that growth is most quality and quantity.

Cameron Tonkinwise (20:13):

Okay. The Graduate Certificate in Service and Social Design has been created very much under the current context, the current context of COVID, a lot of people needing to pivot and move. So we’re being very relaxed with the admission requirements, we really want to help people skill in this area. And so we’re looking for people who are able to have portfolios of relevant work experience but we really want people to come just because they want to learn about social and service design. They want to learn about service design particularly in relation to social justice contexts, people who know something about the Design Innovation Research Centre and its world leading work and would like to learn some of those methods and processes.

Cameron Tonkinwise (21:03):

To get into the master’s program, it’s always required that you have a recognized bachelor’s degree or equivalent. As I said, we’re looking for allied disciplines getting recognized prior learning for some of that studio based designing, if not then we would ask that you take that. So we will take people from different disciplines. We’re also asking that everybody who wants to enter needs to provide some kind of portfolio. We’re doing this mainly to just evaluate the levels of your design skills, your understanding of design research. It’s not something that we use to exclude you from the program, it’s something by which we come to understand how it is that we can best service you.

Cameron Tonkinwise (21:54):

The Graduate Certificate, I said before, has deliberately been designed in this particular context, so it is both online and intensive and it will be running, as I said, in two sessions, August and October, so you’ll take two subjects in parallel in August and two subjects in parallel in October. The master’s course will have some online seminars. We are all I think, at the School of Design, very eager to get back into the studio. Designing is a material practice even if that material is social. I think it’s very important that we be able to negotiate in face to face ways. We will always be doing that at UTS in ways that reduce the risk in relation to COVID obviously whilst that is still around. But the master’s program will be structured with a combination of online and studio. All subjects, even when they’re seminars, have project based assignments.

Cameron Tonkinwise (22:56):

I think the key thing to say about the master’s degree is that it will be coupled closely with a lot of the live projects that the Design Innovation Research Centre at UTS is conducting. So there will be lots of opportunities to shadow projects, to learn from previous cases, and to engage in live projects that are occurring at that space and we’ll be encouraging internships as well after the degree or in holidays between the degree. So I think this is an opportunity, really experience leading social design in Australia but particularly the world. We’re one of the only universities that has a really expert agency doing this kind of research led social design work.

Cameron Tonkinwise (23:49):

Okay. So that’s me having spoken very quickly, I’m sorry, about the degree programs, the Graduate Certificate in Social and Service Design and the Master of Design program. The Master of Design program can be entered in spring. As I said, the studios will have leadership and social innovation and service design inflections. And then we will be migrating the program to this design leadership and service design program from 2021.

Cameron Tonkinwise (24:20):

Ruby’s asking about part time. It certainly will be possible to take those subjects individually so you could take one instead of two in parallel. So it would be possible for you to do just one of the subjects and then take another one in October and then another one in the autumn sessions of 2021. So you could effectively do one a one semester Graduate Certificate over two semesters part time. I think it might actually be possible for you to be working, the classes are all going to be actually scheduled the live sessions in the evening. So if you could downscale your work at that time I think it might be possible for you to knock over the whole degree in the August and October sessions but you can certainly do it part time as well.

Cameron Tonkinwise (25:12):

In terms of, just some of the questions coming in now, just in terms of communication degrees as a background, certainly a lot of our current candidates and candidates we’re looking for are people who have come from communication degree backgrounds. Obviously communication is a crucial skill to all types of designing. Designing is about making visible futures in ways that persuade people to realize them, either to manufacture them or to actually begin enacting them in terms of a service. So it’s crucial to have communication design skills. So that is a core degree which we do recognize and it normally does articulate directly with our master’s degree program. So it would depend on the nature of the communication degree, I see you’ve indicated that it has an advertising specialization. I’m sure it would be fine but we would have a look at the portfolio and contact and talk to you about that. But as I say, many of the candidates that we have already in the program have communication degree backgrounds.

Cameron Tonkinwise (26:18):

Edward’s asked about the contact hours for the master’s. So ordinarily you would do 24 credit points, that would normally be, in the current structure, that would be one 12 credit point studio and two six credit point subjects. So that tends to mean studios tend to meet at least three hours a week and then seminars tend to run one and a half hours per week. So it’s sort of six contact hours. The studios tend to have longer hours beyond that because obviously you’re engaged in quite intense making. So it’s ordinarily contact and it’s six hours. The Masters of Design program always tries to schedule classes after 5:00. So it is possible to have a full time job and do a full time master’s degree. It’s not recommended because essentially the number of hours that we’re thinking you should be working on your degree are 35 roughly hours per week including contact.

Cameron Tonkinwise (27:28):

So it’s a bit like doing two full time jobs but that is the way some people do do it because we schedule the contact hours in an evening. So that’s ordinarily how it happens and that’s certainly the way we will continue. So it’s roughly six to eight hours a week contact with an expectation that you’re doing let’s say, don’t quote me on this, 20 to 30 hours a week on those seminars and studios.

Cameron Tonkinwise (28:01):

Ruby’s asking particularly about the online experience. So one of the interesting things in answer to this question, just in relation to the service design, which I think absolutely I did indicate that our preference would be to doing these things face to face, I think it’s very important to learn social skills as a social designer, as a service designer and even as a designer. I think most design is about persuading people, talking to people, so you need to get a lot of practice at talking to, arguing, defending, critting, these are all things that should be done verbally and are done best when you can get the full cues of how somebody’s communicating by being I think in the same room as them.

Cameron Tonkinwise (28:44):

Nevertheless, we’ve all had to pivot and learn in these, let’s say unprecedented, to be cliché, times. The Design Innovation Research Centre is I think a world expert in doing workshop based design research. They are very much workshop driven. We are people who host and run workshops in every single project. This is crucial and I think we do it in very mature ways in which we facilitate conflict a lot better than superficial design thinking sessions. We’ve had to learn how to do those workshops online in the last three months. We’ve had to work out how to take very difficult topics, one of the topics that we’re looking at the moment specifically is to do with the rise in rates of domestic violence that have been occurring under lockdown. So we’ve been running workshops with government agencies, with various DV entities, with people themselves. We’ve been trying to run workshops in order to understand this problem space so that we can do problem reframing.

Cameron Tonkinwise (29:52):

So we’ve skilled up very quickly in working out right levels of time, ways of briefing, ways of doing cultural probe work in which we get people to do work away and then bring it in, and then having sharing spaces like Miro and Mural, having these kind of spaces in which people are able to work in real time but also kind of just upload some of what they’ve been doing. So I think we are in a very good position to say that we’re approaching online experience, online learning very much as the way we are running online workshops. We are bringing our experience in running workshops to how we are teaching. So this hasn’t just been a kind of drag and drop from lectures online being recorded to then just go and watch them on your own time.

Cameron Tonkinwise (30:46):

We are still having very project based work centered around this and we’ve been using our expertise in workshop to deliver that. So it’s not perfect, I think we have a lot of complaints about the media that we’re working in. I think we have a lot of social skills that we need to develop, I think a lot of what’s involved in being online is actually the development of social rituals and social etiquette. The difficulty of me trying to look like I’m very engaged at the moment while reading at the same time and noticing people with their hands up and getting worried when attendees leave, all these factors, which I think I’m much more skilled at handling in face to face, we just don’t have the etiquette for this. So I think it’s a really interesting moment in which to be a designer and particularly a service designer thinking about this but we have been thinking about it a lot and we take what it means to teach online very seriously.

Cameron Tonkinwise (31:40):

So I’m just looking at Martin’s question there. So the Graduate Certificate is four subjects. It can be done entirely within the spring semester. We’re going to be running two of the subjects in the August unit of the UTS calendar which is essentially five or six weeks for the whole of August and a couple into September. And then we’ll run another two subjects in the October session which is the whole of October and the beginning of November. So you can knock over two subjects August, two subjects October and that will be a full time 24 credit point Graduate Certificate done in one semester.

Cameron Tonkinwise (32:26):

So those are online and intensive, so I do need to warn you, they are intensive, you’re doing a whole semesters work in sort of five weeks. There are contact hours maybe once a week and sometimes twice a week, sometimes weekend sessions, there’ll be moments in which you need to be doing research yourself and then bringing it back and sharing it and then doing presentations online. But that Graduate Certificate can be done in the semester.

Cameron Tonkinwise (32:55):

At the moment in terms of fee help, I think my other colleagues are in a better position to give you information about that, my complete academic ignorance. There are some conventional forms of fee help but this did not manage to meet the Federal Government’s stipulations for very instrumental training in which the Federal Government could help you. So unfortunately this is just a regular degree program which we think is of high value but I understand may not have possibilities for everybody to come to. But UTS has many different ways in which it might be able to help.

Cameron Tonkinwise (33:31):

So I hope I’ve answered both of Martin’s questions there. I don’t know if anyone’s got other questions that they’ve been sitting on, any other issues you’d like to cover, any other examples of the kind of work we do. I’m not sure if anyone… Sorry, just while I’m waiting for you to think of some questions, certainly not [Graume 00:34:11] if I’ve got your name correctly, we’re absolutely interested in being an inclusive program and so I think it would be terrible if we had age constraints on it. Though we do have expectations that you’ve had some work experience so there might be lower limit age on the Graduate Certificate, but certainly not at the upper end. In fact, I think we all understand that design these days, particularly in the era of a lot of these protests occurring at the moment, could do with a lot more diversity.

Cameron Tonkinwise (34:47):

A lot of design is often thought of as being a youngish profession, it’s obviously often a very white profession. I think it would be great to see significant diversity in the people learning to design and becoming design leaders and so that diversity is not just in the people we design with but the designers themselves.

Cameron Tonkinwise (35:11):

Sorry, so I was saying just while I wait for anybody else who has any other questions, I should just indicate something about me if you don’t know. I have a background in philosophy originally. I was teaching design studies at the University of Technology Sydney after I finished my PhD, I developed a design studies program within the undergraduate and taught ETS from 2003 to 2008. I then had the great fortune of teaching at Parson’s The New School for Design in New York. I was teaching there in an environmental studies program, became the Associate Dean of Sustainability at Parson’s in New York. And then spent another five years running the doctoral studies program at Carnegie Mellon University before needing to come back to look after some elders and very glad to be back at UTS now being the director of the Design Innovation Research Centre.

Cameron Tonkinwise (36:14):

So Ruby’s just asking, “Can I confirm opportunities to work with industry?”. Absolutely. So as I said, the degree program has directly developed out of the methods and expertise of the Design Innovation Research Centre. The studios have briefs that all concern projects that we are doing. Sometimes those are live projects that the Design Innovation Research Centre is currently contracted to be researching and investigating and proposing solutions to. And I should say that those are opportunities to do things that I think very rarely occur in commercial practice. So we get a lot of the work that I just don’t think a lot of commercial firms can do, a lot of commercial consultancies can do. So these are really interesting and challenging projects that don’t normally go to service design firms or consultancies or regular design strategy firms.

Cameron Tonkinwise (37:16):

Sometimes even though the briefs are interesting, they can still be constrained, they can be constrained by our partners. So often what we will do is do the project with a partner and then find ways to take that same brief and run it again, run it with slightly more open conditions or taking it into places the partner wasn’t comfortable with. And we will still then try to get the partners back in to see that work. So studios give us a chance to actually go back to industry and government partners and say, “We’re in a position to actually rethink some of these and come up with broader, more interesting proposals from people who are studying at a master’s level,”. And so often the briefs, if they’re not live, will be previously live projects and then we will bring those clients in to act as critics and reviewers or briefers of those projects. So absolutely there is an opportunity to work with those kinds of projects and problems. That’s the whole purpose of the degree.

Cameron Tonkinwise (38:26):

Edward’s asking a question just about the RPL. So I was just saying, if you have a design background, if you have a design degree program, with the existing master’s some of the subjects may be given recognition of prior learning. If they’re postgraduate subjects they definitely can be given recognition of prior learning. In the future degree program, if you have a design background, that will essentially cover 24 of the 72 credits. So this means that if you have a bachelor of design program or closely related, then the degree program is only a 48 credit points, a two semester full time, a one year master’s program if you have a design background. If you don’t, we’ll ask that you do those 24 credit points of studio based designing, learning about design prototyping, design research, learning something about the concepts behind interaction and learning… I can’t remember what the last one was. Oh, different strategies of communication.

Cameron Tonkinwise (39:34):

If you have a background in product design and the BCII then definitely have a conversation with Abby and myself. I think we can definitely find RPL for you. In the future you will definitely get 24 and it’ll just be a one year master’s. But for the current master’s if you came in in the spring, we can definitely have a look and negotiate that for you.

Cameron Tonkinwise (40:01):

At the moment the ratio is about one third, two thirds, so one third local, two thirds international. I think part of our reason for reorienting the program to design leadership and service design is because of demands from a local market who have been asking. So both employers have been asking for increased design leadership to service design skills. So to some extent we’re feeling like the local demand for the degree program will increase.

Cameron Tonkinwise (40:40):

Nevertheless, I think we’ve always thought that the best learning environment, particularly in a 21st century realm in which we need to begin to decolonize design, de-Eurocentrisize design, design has been a very Eurocentric practice for a hundred years, we really strongly encourage and try to find ways in which international students who can bring a diversity of cultural backgrounds to the program can participate. We think the most interesting design these days is happening in non English speaking backgrounds and design that’s taking heed of very different social, cultural values, very different senses of what the future should be, these are the things that designers need to learn to design toward.

Cameron Tonkinwise (41:29):

So we think the mix will shift in the future but we think there’ll be more than a third local but nevertheless I think there’ll always still be a strong international component precisely because that’s what we want to teach toward.

Cameron Tonkinwise (41:48):

If there’s nothing else, I would really encourage you to email my colleague Abby Mellick Lopes, you can totally feel free to email me but Abby is now stepping in as the director of postgraduate design studies and she can certainly answer your questions particularly in terms of the processes of actually coming to enroll in the Graduate Certificate in Social and Service Design or the Master of Design program. So I’d encourage you to contact her. There are lots of channels for communicating to UTS, Abby’s there, she’s prepared to say hello. Abby should introduce herself, something about her background.

Abby Mellick Lopes (42:23):

Hi everyone, I’m Abby Mellick Lopes. I come to UTS, I’m pretty new, from Western Sydney University where I’ve really specialized in social design and looking at the ways in which design can help communities become more resilient and I’m really looking forward to taking leadership in this postgraduate space. And as Cameron said, please get in touch with me. You will get some kind of an email response from us that will give you further instructions on what to do. As Cameron said, we’d like to know a little bit more about you. And so yes, please, be in touch. We’re really looking forward to talking to you.

Cameron Tonkinwise (43:05):

Great. Thanks Abby. Okay. So get in contact with any other questions. I hope we’ve given you a good sense of the program, our motivations for creating it. Sorry, quick question there coming about the difference between a master’s of design and design research. So I think you might mean the difference between a course work degree in the master’s of design which is what we’ve been speaking about and a research master’s in design. So the difference is that in a course work degree there are courses, there are subjects, we have decided what we think it’s really important for you to learn and we can teach that stuff to you, we can guarantee that we’re experts and we can teach it to you. A research degree is where you have a sense of the questions that you want to ask. If it’s research you probably have a feeling or know that those answers don’t currently exist and so you want help, you want scaffolding from academics to help learn how to answer those questions.

Cameron Tonkinwise (44:11):

So a research master’s does not have course work components, you can take a couple of courses in research methods or research ethics which you have to take. But essentially you are leading the learning process and we are supporting you and you are coming to discover something new from the question you have. So a research master’s is question led, you have to come to us with a question, you have to bring a question to faculty and chat to us about it, takes about a semester to formulate the question in the right way and then to make an application to do a research master’s. So it’s slightly more laborious to get into but it allows you more freedom to explore the sorts of topics and in the ways that you would like to within our kind of advice settings. But it’s not a situation in which there are specifically subjects.

Cameron Tonkinwise (45:08):

So in the course work master’s we’ve decided it’s very important for designers to learn designally leadership strategies and something about service design so that’s what we’re teaching but if you were to come and do a master’s by research, you might decide that you really want to know something about what it would mean to do workshop based designing in the age of social distancing. That’s something that I’ve said we’re researching ourselves now, we’ve got some hunches but we’re not certain. If you would just like to spend sort of two years thinking about that, a year and a half thinking about that, then you would formulate a question, do some literature review, make sure nobody else has answered it and then plan some experiments and design projects in that space. We would scaffold you, you’d have supervisors and they would help you through that process.

Cameron Tonkinwise (46:00):

So that’s what a research degree is. It’s normally quite distinct from a course work degree which is much more content driven. So I hope that explains the difference between those two. They have different pathways in, different types of admission and they require you generally to be in conversation with us. Although we would encourage everybody to be in conversation with us, even for the course work degree. We’re very keen to obviously be customer centered and user centered because we’re designers and so we’re not particularly interested in offering a commodified degree. So as I said before, do get in contact with Abby with any questions.

Cameron Tonkinwise (46:41):

If there are no other questions I might go and start making dinner for my family who are agitating in the background. My dog in particular is hassling me at my feet right now. And so if you’ve got any other questions please do get in contact but otherwise thanks so much for coming this evening.

Luke Chess (47:01):

This might be a good moment for me to jump in, this is Luke speaking, one of the moderators for this evening, just to thank you Cameron for your time presenting what was a very thorough outline of the postgraduate offerings in design from UTS. And thank you to everybody who’s attended and for your often insightful questions. We hope that you’ll choose UTS for your design studies.