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Joey McAleese

College
London College of Communication
Person Type
Student
Joey  McAleese

Biography

Joey is a current student on MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures at London College of Communication.

Interview

Why did you decide to study MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures and why London College of Communication?

During my undergraduate degree, I realised I had a passion for project that had social and/or environmental problems rather than designing for brands and advertisements. However, when graduating I didn’t feel I had the expertise or network to be able to further this passion so instead I got an in-house design job. I kept looking for social design master and when UAL launched this course I jumped at the opportunity.

At the time, I knew UAL was a well-known University with a strong alumnus meaning my chances of employability were good (when I got here I realised this even more). UAL also has strong sustainability agenda, so I knew the course was in line with their own belief. London also has a huge amount happening in regard to social and environmental design and this really strengthened my want for the course.

Can you tell us a little bit about the project you have most enjoyed working on so far?

The Collaboration Unit has been the project I am proudest of. It was a pivotal part in the course where all our knowledge and methods taught from the previous two briefs came into play and we were able to put all we learnt into practice. Working with Southwark Council, our brief was around Food Insecurity. Unlike other courses, we are interdisciplinary, and our group comes with lots of different skills and background which is like the real world. I loved working on a real brief with lots of different people and coming out with a tangible prototype on how Southwark could build resilience to Food Insecurity. Not only did we learn from our tutors, we developed skills and confidence from each other in the group.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt on the course?

UAL has so much to offer and is always having great events and projects with the real world and just saying ‘yes’ has been the most valuable lesson I have learnt. Since September when I started alongside my course I have been to numerous UAL industry events, taken part in a Co-Design your Place Erasmus + (which I partake in regeneration projects in Poland, Denmark and the UK), a digital innovation workshop called Modual, and I am now taking part in Ellen MacArthur: Linear to Circular workshops. This is only a few things I have been able to do, and the course has given me the access and confidence to go for them and meet amazing like-minded people along the way.

Has the course included any involvement with industry?

We regularly have guest lectures from people in industry from specialist in design behavior to co-design, and we are always encouraged to share people we would like ourselves. As mentioned, we've worked on a live project with Southwark Council and we often attend exhibitions around social and environmental issues at museums in London. To add to this, the course team continually send opportunities to work with or listen to industry at external events.

How do you find the postgraduate student community?

The postgraduate community is great. I have a strong interest in menstrual equality and through the community newsletter I was able to find like-minded people and set up MenstrUAL Festival, a two-day celebration surrounding all things period related. Rachael, who runs the Post-Grad Community is so passionate about all the student's ideas and projects. If you let her know what you’re doing she will be happy to help you find collaborations and develop it further.

Why would you recommend studying MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures?

This course gives you the skills and knowledge for a change making career. It comes from a wide range of tutors who are specialist in their area. Being an MA student, you are encouraged to question them and this makes for debates and critical thinking. UAL is an amazing University to go to and is constantly pushing students to think about social and sustainability problems. This course utilises and thrives on the amazing UAL network which allows students to connect with industry throughout their studies. It’s empowering to have control of your education and the Course Leader, Ella, is always welcoming feedback and collaboration to develop the course and the briefs.

Related area

Visit the MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures course page.