Senses needed for Collaborative exhibition


Students from undergraduate and postgraduate courses recently embarked on a live project called ‘Synaesthetic Dinner’, a module set up as part of the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design’s Co.LAB initiative.

The interdisciplinary project provided students with an opportunity to work collaboratively amongst the different programme courses and to apply their knowledge and skills in a professional context. In partnership with external artist Kaye Winwood, students were asked to develop a range of concepts for a unique dining event, responding to the idea of ‘Expanded Dining’.

Speaking afterwards, Nick Irvin, Lecturer in Design Management said:

This was a great collaborative experience for the students, to not only design a range of concepts and create a prototype, but to see the project through to implementation. Students were involved in arranging, organising and constructing the final dining event, which opened to the public.”

The brief challenged students to explore innovative schemes with new dining products, spatial installations and visualisations in order to develop, communicate and present a synesthetic arts event.

Working as design managers, students used their skills based on their own design specialism. Students applied consideration to the consumer and client in order to create an immersive experience that would be highly sensorial and performative.

The project aimed to showcase students’ development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. In consultation with their supervisors, the teaching and learning engaged students with a ‘real life’ problem in a professional manner, reflecting the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the creative industries.

The dining event functioned as the perfect way to round up the module and for students to reflect on the process of how their ideas shaped and developed over the course of the module. Most importantly, the event gave students a chance to showcase their ideas to academics and visitors — a key element to the architecture industry.

Speaking afterwards, Delia Skinner, Course Director of MA Interior Architecture and Design said:

“At postgraduate level it’s really important to surprise the students and to challenge their own assumptions about normal practices and new possibly theoretical approaches. This module was the highest regarded module that we’ve ever delivered to students because they were forced to embrace very different perspectives about nourishment, dining and enjoyment. Moving beyond flavour and service, the students were able to create more abstract and artful project solutions together. This collaboration being both meaningful and joyful. Would we do a project like this again? Most definitely! We’re looking forward to next year’s project, the title of which will be ‘The Festival of Light’.”

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