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Nick Irvin

Nick Irvin profileDesign Management - Level 6 Top-Up Course Director

Could you tell us about your experience and how this feeds into your course?

I have experience in teaching in higher education as Course Director on the BA (Hons) Design Management Level 6 Top-up course and as Lecturer on the Master's in Design Management course in the UK and overseas for the School for Higher and Professional Education (SHAPE) in Hong Kong. My previous roles include experience of working in graphic/branding design practice, marketing teams and a design and account management role in local government, working on projects involving urban design, planning and out-of-home digital advertising contracts with Birmingham City Council, Ocean and JCDecaux.

What is the philosophy of your course? 

The BA (Hons) Design Management Level 6 course is designed to develop your professional, creative, communication, research, critical thinking and analytical skills, whilst developing your confidence, for progression into employment, or postgraduate study.

The course balances design management theory and principles, research and practical activity, within an environment that reflects a design practice and promotes employability. As the course will attract students from a variety of design disciplines, students are encouraged to consider their career aspirations from the outset and develop the appropriate skills to align with the industry. 

Design managers have strong communication, project management and interpersonal skills, and are responsible for the management of design projects, teams, contracts and the operational practice of design. This may involve work within corporate in-house design teams or external design consultancy. You will also be expected to work with external contributors, staff and students from a range of disciplines and cultures in a professional and accountable way.

If you had to name one thing about your course that makes it distinct, what would it be?

This course provides you with the opportunity to transfer from a design discipline at the end of BA Level 5, to focus on ‘exploring’ and ‘developing your confidence’ in research, analysis and concepts for a client during Level 6.

You will be involved in complex problem solving, you will work individually and in collaborative, team-based activities, whilst developing your leadership, negotiation and people management skills. You will address design problems based in a range of scenarios. You will develop your professional skills and abilities, in readiness for postgraduate study or employment.

Why is Birmingham a good place to study?

Birmingham is a great place to study from a home/EU and an international student perspective. The city has an interesting industrial history, with a vibrant social, leisure and cultural scene. The City Centre Campus, and in particular the Parkside Building, has excellent facilities that reflect industry. Birmingham has good transport links, including Birmingham International Airport, which is in close proximity. London is also approximately 1.5 hours away by train.

Why do you believe it’s important to study a degree and why might students want to study your course?

It is important to discover your desired career pathway. As this course is open to all design students, students will collaborate with a range of design disciplines. Graduates will be equipped to address and contribute to design problems in the public and private sector.  

The course welcomes students from a range of design disciplines. This course is for students wishing to develop a new career path, students who recognise the design management opportunity and have the personal qualities sought after by employers.

Where will the students be based in their time here and what will their learning environment be?

You will be based at the city centre campus, in the Parkside building. You will have access to lecture/studio/workshops within the School of Architecture and Design and will engage in sessions in a variety of settings. This may involve working in workshops and offsite during site visits. You will also have the opportunity to work with a live client and showcase your work in a professional environment.

What can students do to help prepare them for the course?

Do you have skills in design, communication, project management, marketing, strategy, process? Are you organised? Can you work to client deadlines? Do you have empathy for the client or the consumer? Do you wish to pitch your ideas? Can you work effectively on your own and within a team?

What’s your favourite element about working at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design?

There are so many opportunities for students and staff to collaborate, which makes working here so much fun. The knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of the staff and students within the school, creates an engaging environment for everyone, providing a special energy within the School.