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Mark Brill

Course Leader: MA Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice

MarkBrill 355x265Could you tell us about your experience and how this feeds into your course?

This course is all about using creatively driven innovation to address real needs - something that has been my passion for the last 30 years! I am especially interested in how we can use technology to benefit people and society. I have delivered innovation strategies and products in digital and connected technology for global brands, organisations and NGOs through my own agency and as a consultant.

I have been a Senior Lecturer since 2011 and I continue to work on innovation projects at BCU and beyond. Currently I am a STEAM Fellow, which aims to rethink the Internet of Things and I organise a regular creative inspiration event, Maker Monday. I’m also working on a project called Memory Tracks that utilises technology to support older adults, especially those living with dementia.

There is a lot of experience in my work that directly feeds into the course. I have always felt that ideas driven by creative thinking are the most powerful and the ones that bring true benefit to people.

What teaching approach do you take as Course Director?

I think others would describe my approach as enthusiastic and collaborative – lecturers and students alike all have something to bring to creativity and innovation. As Course Director, my role is to support everyone through that process, whether it’s bringing my own expertise, providing creative direction or simply as a point for reflection. Ultimately I don’t have a specific teaching agenda other than to enable students to find their creativity, think analytically and develop their innovative abilities.

What is the philosophy of your course?

Just give it a go! We’re all about the experimentation whether it’s creatively or technologically. Sometimes those experiments are successful and sometimes they aren’t. However, we are here to embrace our failures and use them as a stepping stone to create successful innovation concepts.

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

We are truly multi-disciplinary – we are interested in anyone who wants to contribute, regardless of their background. This means that everyone on the course has something unique to offer, creating a great environment for learning and innovation!

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

The course sits within the School of Games, Film and Animation which is based in the Curzon B Building on our City Centre campus, but for the second term we spread out more. For example, students could become STEAMhouse members and work from their new building which is located just behind BCU’s Curzon.

Why is Birmingham a good place to study/work?

Although Birmingham is a big city, it is friendly and easy to access – it almost has the feel of a small town. On this course we have an amazing, supportive community interested in innovation that goes beyond the University. Not just through STEAMhouse but also Maker Monday and numerous community projects that have a similar ethos to this course.

Why do you believe it’s important to study an MA?

The landscape for work and jobs is ever-changing and the best skills to have are being agile, adaptable and analytical. The MA Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice will certainly prepare you for that, but additionally you will prepare a portfolio of work that demonstrates your innovation skills. During the course you will be able to take an idea to prototype and use that to develop an enterprise and take it to market.

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

The great thing about the course is that you apply your own thinking and skills, so there’s not much preparation required. If you want a flavour of just some of the course, you could attend a Maker Monday – see our Twitter @Maker_Monday for the next event. You could also take a look at some of the STEAMhouse events around specific innovation topics.

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