Today, we had the opportunity to speak to some of the first year art and design students. This informative discussion allowed us to realise that some of the conceptual design ideas that we had initially proposed were not viable. However, it allowed us to fully understand their situation and their thoughts towards the space that they have. Key points were identified from this:
Individual workspaces – preferably wooden worktops to create a vintage style
Personalisation of space – they currently feel as though ownership of space is a problem.
Privacy of space – students do not want to show their progression of work to others, therefore it is preferred that they have individual workspaces to ensure an element of privacy. Whilst this is an aspect to consider, it is also important to understand that as first year students who are yet to have the opportunity to utilise the studio space, they are unable to familiarise themselves with other students, therefore feel less inclined to discuss their work. This is something that we hope to change through the reorganisation of space and design of modular furniture that will encourage the use of studio space as opposed to working from home.
Lack of storage – with the various scales of work produced by students, the lockers that are currently available are far too small for them to store work. One student even resorted to building shelves within his own locker to create more space for storage.
‘Home from Home’ – one student mentioned that it was the convenience of everything that influenced them to continuously work from home and only return to university for lectures and studio days. Being in the studio environment meant that there was insufficient space for them to work and store work, in contrast to their home environment in which they had the space, the storage and convenience of their kitchen nearby. Could it be that providing a kitchenette or area for a kettle and microwave be a solution to create the home environment that they prefer? This is something that we need to investigate later.
Low student satisfaction – upon attending open days, first year students were escorted around the Fine Art department of the school. Some students were made to believe that they would receive large individual workspaces that they would accommodate throughout their time on the course. However, felt angered and disappointed that they currently do not have such facility in comparison to the fine art students. They feel as though the Fine Art department have priority and that they have no sense of ownership of space and identity within the school.
Many issues had arisen from this discussion and it was clear that we had missed vital aspects that could have influenced our initial conceptual designs. Therefore as a group, we can use today’s discussion to develop some of the conceptual ideas that were more suited to the student needs.