Lucy Brown – MA Graphic Design
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I consider myself to be graphic designer, educator and researcher, though such 'definitions' continually play havoc in my mind. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about the MA Graphic Design course has been questioning these definitions critically, within the context of the evolving nature of graphic design as a discipline. When I'm not at LCC, I run the BA (Hons) Graphic Arts & Design programme at University Centre Stockport College, close to Manchester. Prior to this, I have worked with Oded Ezer in Tel Aviv, as a graphic designer for The Guardian newspaper, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and as an Art Director for M&C Saatchi in Sydney.
Why did you decide to do the MA Graphic Design, part time mode?
I decided to study on the course part-time as it enabled me to balance work and study. My teaching role is full-time, but I am allocated one day of scholarly activity per week in order to help me to maintain my research and practice profile. Travelling to London once a week enables me to pause the day-to-day demands of my job, and focus on the things that stimulate my practice. This in turn makes for a happier, more informed and engaged Lucy in a teaching capacity, because the MA has enabled me to grow - practically, critically and contextually. My work on the course provides me with fresh stimulus to pass on to my own students.
I chose LCC specifically having completed my undergraduate studies successfully there, it was also one of the strongest and few part-time courses in the UK.
List highs/lows of your time on the course:
I don't feel that there have been any lows. I have always felt challenged, and pushed, and yes, it has been very hard at times to balance the work with my job, but I see that as a positive thing. Overall, I've really enjoyed engaging with both peers and tutors about the discipline, as well as my own practice and I've enjoyed the openness of this dialogue as I feel it encapsulates Masters-level study.
Can you explain, in summary, the focus of your research at present?
My research is concerned with undergraduate graphic design pedagogy, focusing on the culturally 'linear' landscape of the creative process when an a-typical student joins a degree-level course at level 4. My project seeks to introduce the meaning of 'non-linear' within the context of the creative process, through graphic design.
Where do you see progress and/or decline in the study/practice of graphic design?
Within the context of education, I see progress in some independent schools, summer schools run by research-led/talented practice-driven designers, and those who can manage to squeeze innovative research-led projects into the curriculum.
I see decline in the enforced practices of Higher Education in the UK (learning outcomes, assessment criteria etc.), much of which aims to remove anything 'non-linear' and says no to ambiguity, which in turn stifles the creative process - and brings us back to my research. I'm pleased that the MAGD at LCC strikes a balance between the two, and feel confident that the course will continue to grow in such a way under Paul Bailey's leadership.
What three words would you use to best describe LCC?
Big - White - Open
What piece of advice would you give to applicants considering an MA?
Come with an open mind, and be prepared to bend it in varying ways around the discipline. If you want to hone your software skills, you'd be better on a work placement for 6 month elsewhere. Masters level study is about research-led growth. The tutors have been entrusted with the task of leading you for good reason. They are all so very knowledgeable, and informed, and will help you to you develop, if you let them.
What's next for you upon graduation?
The completion of a Masters qualification will undoubtedly aid the progression of my career in education, but more importantly it has taught me how to develop my practice from a research-led perspective. This is a fundamental difference between Masters and Undergraduate level study - one that I'm grateful for having been introduced to.