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Student feedback on Early Lab symposium: youth mental health with NSFT

Student feedback on the symposium hosted by Early Lab to help UAL students decide on whether to apply to be team members on the youth mental health project.

A selection of student feedback on the Early Lab symposium.

“Bidean’s workshop reiterated a strong belief of mine, we all have mental health in equal amounts and everyone can feel emotional distress.

The talks presented a spectrum of critical thinking, investigation and methodology for problem solving from both art and design outlooks which left me with a strong impression of the importance for how creativity enables communication and understanding for others.

The subject matter itself holds great resonance with me, I can identify with and understand there is a need for the project to take place and the current system including societal view to be examined.

How the role of designers could be involved with the conception of a discussion in order to formulate a new way of working intrigues me.”

Amira Prescott, BA Graphic Design, Year 3, Central Saint Martins

“Seeing honest snippets into the issue of mental health, I was deeply moved by Bidean’s first workshop. I felt it set the scene suitably. The talks then enlightened me with existing creative intervention in the subject. I also enjoyed the cross collaboration between curators, artists and designers; it was great to see how even debate can be a creative drive.”

Delina Evans, MDes Service Design Innovation, Year 1, London College of Communication

“Being in an environment where it [mental health] was being discussed so openly was a brilliant experience.

Some concepts presented in the talks really resonated with me, such as open innovation and asset-based community development.

I’m really excited to be at a point where I’m connecting the dots between the things that are pointing me towards where my practice is heading. This project, in particular the description you gave of a changing role of the designer in the introductory lecture, has been one of the biggest factors in this, and as such is something I really feel I need to see through.”

Laura Wright, BA Graphic Design, Year 2, Camberwell College of Arts

“The sample art and design projects related with mental health, participatory arts and public engagement presented during the workshop were helpful and informative. Methodologies on design for social innovation and socially responsive design briefed by Dr. Gamman are very practical and at the same time reflected deep thinking.

Although it was a pity having not to learn more info from the youth service user (Youth Council), the workshop empowered critical reflection on not only individual but also social causes that generate mental health issues and how design could be a constructive and creative force to nurture communication.”

Caroline Yan Zheng, MA Fashion Futures, graduate, London College of Fashion

“To me the symposium was all about setting the scene for a different take on design, one with a clear purpose and an important social component which is so often neglected and an area where design could actually make a difference. Errol’s remark on how mental illness needs to be seen as a form of communication really stuck with me as it illustrated the need for a redesign of perception and access.

Change in how we can access mental health services is timely and I would therefore love to be a contributing part of this project as I think it is a super exciting opportunity.”

Kat Thiel, MA Fashion Futures, graduate, London College of Fashion

“I am impressed with how the workshop managed to get all of us being the investigators and subjects of investigation at the same time. The alternating of roles happens so fast and frequently that it’s almost like reflection on and in action. Regarding normality and abnormality, I think there’s somewhere that’s unidentified/unnamed, but could be a continuum that we, regardless of normal or mental, all have a place in it.

I think the field trip is significant to this whole idea – to get designers directly engaged from the start of things and to play a part beyond our field. I am curious about how ‘being in the place’ with people of different backgrounds would inform my thinking and practice.”

Zhuohui Cai (Maggie), MA Graphic Design, London College of Communication

“For me the symposium was a very moving experience as well as being inspirational. I have never been in an atmosphere where everybody is so open about mental health. I didn’t know that there were so many people influenced by mental health issues in the art and design world, this has had a positive impact on my project for university.

To be able to be part of a project that will hopefully help a lot of young people would be an extremely rewarding experience. I have been looking for a creative outlet for a while, and this jumped out at me as being the sort of space that I could express myself in a liberating, beneficial and useful way.”

Imogen Hearn, BA Interior and Spatial Design, Year 1, Chelsea College of Arts

“Great location that was comfortable, sensitive and suitable talks and thought provoking tasks. The different talks, gave a great insight about mental health from a different (more positive) perspective. They worked well as, like mental health each case varies from person to person. Also highlighted how everyone is likely to be affected by it at one stage in their lives.

[I] Want to help people my age that have interests/skills and cannot use them due to mental illness. Get rid of the stigma, that mental illness and showing emotions is a weakness. Be an ongoing part of something new and exciting and challenging. Meet people who work in different fields of practise to combine our skills and work as one.”

Jessica Hook, BA Graphic Design, Year 3, Central Saint Martins

“I never realize I can do something influence other people. But these artist they do changed or invent something. I feel maybe I can also do something for others.

If I have the chance to join this lab and cooperate with young people, this will be an experience that I can’t get from my current course and it’s also important for my job.”

Hui Wang (Judy), MA Character Animation, Central Saint Martins

“Great opportunity to interact with the other candidates and to learn more about how others experience sadness-related feelings. Furthermore all speakers presented valuable point of views and references for designers who wish to go deep into the anxiety/mental-health field.”

Mariana Gomes de Negreiros, MA Fashion Futures, graduate, London College of Fashion

“I found the Early-Lab symposium highly informative. The human centred design lecture was fantastic and applying these principles to mental health could be a real game changer for treatment. 

Knowing that more people are willing to discuss and address their issues is a sure sign that we can progress towards a more understanding and tolerant society.”

Matt Ferguson, MA Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts

“The Early-lab symposium was like a canvas on which I was able to reflect my scattered thoughts about creativity, perception of life events and the variety of emotions I exude. The symposium touched upon some elemental concepts like aesthetics of mental health, effects of modernity and the correlation between art and design, which intrigued me to play across the length and breath of my understanding of the subject.

Early-lab workshop is a nurturing and creative environment that focuses on the strength that creativity exudes to positively influence the society, giving me a platform to aim at becoming a change-agent for the community.”

Prachi Gupta, MDes Service Design Innovation, London College of Communication

“The workshop helped me understand mental health from a humanistic perspective as opposed to scientific. It also made me realise the importance of the issue, how it impacts everyone (and not just those effected by it) and the potential and space there is to create impactful solutions.

For me, the workshop was just a taster of what yet is to be explored and the vast knowledge that we must delve in to. Mostly, having the opportunity to work with people from a different field, to build new connections and to co-create with them is my favourite part of the design process.”

Rachita Saraogi, BA Graphic Design, Year 3, Central Saint Martins

“I found it very engaging and thought it was a great opportunity to meet people from a range of practices. The opening workshop [Bidean], I thought was a great way for everyone to open up and express how they feel in a room full of strangers. It got me thinking about people suffering with mental health and how exposed they must feel when trying to seek help.

When I first heard about it, I was excited by the opportunity to work on something whereby I would be able to engage with other students from across UAL and have the opportunity to work on a design project with the NHS. I think it would be a unique experience and something that I would learn and take with me throughout my design career.”

Shelley Rossell, Interior and Spatial Design, Year 1, Chelsea College of Arts

“I really enjoyed attending the Early-Lab symposium and the lectures really brightened my mind as a graphic and communication designer. I learnt a lot about new kind of practices, new ways to think in art and design, and got really interested in the design for problem-solving as presented by Design Against Crime [Lorraine Gamman]. I also learnt a lot about Mental Health and think that it’s a really interesting subject to study and to work with.”

Steven Lang, MA Communication Design, Year 1, Central Saint Martins

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