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Wearable Futures (MA)


Course Description

Wearable Futures is a cross-disciplinary umbrella programme for designers who are interested in the cluster of technologies and experiences that have the human body and its covering as their centre of focus.

The course offers a holistic environment based on the integration of creative computing, digital craftsmanship and material cultures, while also incorporating the technologies and advances in hardware that are impacting on manufacturing techniques and associated applications. Wearable futures has come about as part of Ravensbourne’s current commitment to become creative leader in the field of wearable applications and body-centric design. Ravensbourne's digital research culture is contributing significantly in this context.

The main conceptual framework for the course will be provided by theories of digital craftsmanship, body-centric technologies and phenomenological readings and speculative philosophy. These will form an important research foundation for building Ravensbourne’s critical reach and will assist in helping you to sift and prioritise the current trends and thought relating to fashion and discussion around the body within data informed spaces. An interdisciplinary field of study will include interaction and experience design (UX), “making” and open source culture, design innovation and applied philosophy. You will be introduced to philosophical trends and these will tie in with your practice and help you to develop a critical view incorporating design fiction and other emerging theories. You will engage with research methods such as participatory, user study and user-centered design.

"One of the exciting things about the design industries today is that boundaries of former categories such as fashion, product or experience design have been broken down" - Alexa Pollman, Subject leader, MA Wearable Futures.

The course is a platform for investigation, dissemination and analysis around contemporary theory and practice in the wearable industries. The course’s core role will be to foster your understanding of this market and to identify latent demand within the commercial sphere and to highlight future applications and directions. The aim will be to help you to influence the decision makers so that wearable solutions will be accepted and meet the cultural and ethical expectations when designing for the human body and the garment-industry. You are expected to consider the cultural and social role inherent to fashion as a part of wearable futures.

Wearable futures students will focus their investigations on the key flashpoints of the body as an interface for what is a symbiotic, physical and digital exchange. As part of the design methodology of the course, you will be asked to develop future scenarios and narratives in order to help you and your clientele to understand the concomitant social, environmental or cultural challenges of designing for a matter as delicate as the human body.

"At the moment we’re still very much in the “task” piece of wearable computing, not in the symbolic “how do we make sense of it” piece. I think in the wearable space we are still bringing all the old metaphors of computation with us and still interpreting them in a somewhat literal way—that they are a smaller smartphone, or a little computer. It will become much more interesting when we let go of that and work out the promise that wearable computing will make to us." Genevieve Bell, Anthropologist at Intel

Get to know the subject leader: Alexa Pollman

- Tell us about yourself

For me, garments are social reactors and I like to challenge the current notion of ‘wear’. I have experienced the industry from different angles: my original profession was in fashion design, but I have also worked as a creative consultant and spent my fair share of time in showrooms, for both – big and small brands.

I completed the Design Interactions Programme at the Royal College of Art, and collaborating with various disciplines has enriched my perspective as a designer.

Luckily, I have been awarded different grants that have allowed me to pursue my own work - Peut-Porter is my design consultancy agency and platform which researches and provides forecasts on wear and fashion. Currently, I am Designer in Residence at the Design Museum London and will have new work on show from September 2015.

- What's your opinion on the current state of wearable futures?

We currently find a variety of opinions on wearables and truthfully spoken, I see a lot of problems occurring with their application. This is why it is important to train specialists who can engage with the topic in a much broader sense than is currently being done by the industry. Our wearable futures students will be asked to be highly innovative but at the same time engage with the cultural and social impacts of body-centric design. We need them to bridge the gap between artisans and material or textile specialists and the tech world.

The fashion system successfully uses technology in many experience-based ways and this seems like a very natural process to me as the narrative, experience-based aspect seems inherent to fashion. Wearable futures will not only produce gadgets and devices, it will help to define our relationship to technology when it enters our personal spheres, it will look at the moral and ethical side of data-capturing as well as its technological possibilities and ask students to research and design future aspects and needs of wear.

- Is this course right for me?

This course will focus on body-centric design – a topic which is currently being explored in a massive range of disciplines. We will ask for an extremely flexible mind, someone who is eager to work with various media and collaborate with science, engineers and artists to create their own definition of wearables.

Studying an MA should allow a student to find his or her very own position, strength and reason to design. Whether their work will have a technological, experiential , future or fashion focus will in the end be very much up to what they have decided to explore in the process. We want students to become ambassadors who understand not only the technological aspects and applications of wear but the medium that they will most closely be working with – the human body.

- Why are you so passionate about this course subject?

I think the course has potential to become a wake-up call – what are we doing to ourselves and our bodies? How much more obsessed with data capturing and monitoring will we become? We can’t ignore the trends and tendencies but we need to discuss and open up the field, get some creative minds together and talk about the cultural meaning of ‘wear’ and how that can work intriguingly when paired with technology.

For me, one of the big pluses of Ravensbourne is the fact that it doesn’t have a ‘traditional’ fashion orientation but instead is very interested in the digital and technological aspects of education. I especially feel that our MA courses have a lot to offer in terms of a general interdisciplinary approach, more so because they take in a small amount of people. Designers need one another to work and explore their role and as the MA’s share the same space, we will surely see a lot of cross overs with the other courses. Also, we have had quite some interest from big industries and I think we will see some exciting collaborations happening here in the future.

Course structure

1. Technology Issues – will ask you to engage and experiment with technologies used in the body-centric design sector. The three provided project briefs will explore such fields as data-capturing, 3D Printing and alternative production methods or sensory technology. You will work with fellow students and develop quick mock-ups to understand the mediums at hand and create wear with a focus on experiences.

2. Business and Innovation – will help you understand the business and innovative practices used in the creative industries. Could your idea become a successful product and how can you find a niche to place yourself in? Wearable Technology is one of the quickest growing markets of the industry and your contribution to the field could have manifold impacts.

3. Concept & Prototyping – will allow you to develop your personal design method and introduce you to an holistic design-strategy. You will be asked to present your concepts employing various media and design speculative, narrative and plausible futures in order to challenge and understand the needs, hopes and dreams related to wearables.

4. The Research Process – will help you to investigate and strengthen your concepts and ideas by teaching you the skills and methods needed to ground you personal project in an academic context.

5. The Major Project – represents the culmination of the design work and the research you conducted in your studies. In this unit, you will forge a specialist project and work self-managed and practice-based, seek advise from specialists outside the college and present your personal take on the future of wearables.

Visit the Wearable Futures (MA) page on the Ravensbourne website for more details!

Student Profiles
(Scholarship)

The Professor Baker Scholarship - Single Award

The Professor Robin Baker Scholarship is a merit-based award which is open to applicants to Ravensbourne’s postgraduate programmes.Professor Robin Baker was director of Ravensbourne from 1994 to 2015. In that time, he developed Ravensbourne’s pioneering strategic emphasis on the creative use of digital technology. Professor Baker‘s vision led to our relocation to our current building and transformation of Ravensbourne into the cutting edge and innovative specialist higher education institution we are today.The purpose of the Professor Robin Baker Scholarship is to:
- Encourage national and international applicants for Ravensbourne’s postgraduate courses with the greatest academic potential and creative talent
- Encourage excellent postgraduate work which demonstrates innovation and creativity in the use of technology
- To provide access to Ravensbourne’s innovative postgraduate courses to those who might otherwise find it financially challengingNormally, Ravensbourne will award either one full fee scholarship (up to £9000) or two part-time/half full time fee scholarships (up to £4500) annually depending on the range and calibre of applicants.- SelectionApplications for the scholarship will be evaluated and ranked by a selection panel consisting of:
- Head of Student Services (Chair)
- Two members of the postgraduate academic staff
- Head of International DevelopmentRanking will be on the basis of the evidence provided of the applicants’:
- Previous, and current academic or professional performance and future potential.
- Creativity and innovation in the application of technology
- Benefit to be derived from the course and ScholarshipAward of scholarship:
The successful applicant will be informed on 31 May 2016.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £9000 (Full-time); up to £4500 (Part-time)

Eligibility

To be considered for the scholarship an applicant must be:
A Home or EU student who has applied for a place and been accepted on a full-time or part-time postgraduate course at Ravensboune between the 1 October and 1 June immediately prior to entry.
Or,
An international student who has applied for a place and been accepted on a full-time postgraduate course at Ravensbourne between the 1 October and 1 June immediately prior to entry.
Applicants should have confirmed acceptance of their place on the course in advance of applying for the scholarship or provide clear evidence of their intent to do so.

Application Procedure

Eligible candidates seeking consideration for the scholarship must submit an application via email to Student Services by Friday 29th April 2016.The application should take the form of a personal statement of no more than 300 words together with any additional evidence they may wish to supply (e.g. CVs, images, videos, hyperlinks, examples of creative work or academic references).This statement should supplement rather than replicate the personal statement submitted during the application process for the course. It should set out:- Further detail about the nature of their anticipated research during the course and its creativity, originality and innovativeness in terms of the application of technology.
- Further detail about how the applicant will benefit from the course and the additional support the applicant would gain from scholarship.Any additional information that the applicant believes would assist the selection panel in evaluating their application.

Further Information

http://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/discover-ravensbourne/student-services/financial-support/postgraduate/


(Scholarship)

Postgraduate (Home/EU) scholarship - 10 Awards

Students beginning a postgraduate course at Ravensbourne are encouraged to apply for a postgraduate scholarship. Applications are welcome from Home & EU students. Qualifying students will need to have been offered and accepted, a place to study a postgraduate course at Ravensbourne.If you have been successful in obtaining a scholarship, Ravensbourne will communicate this to you. There are ten postgraduate (Home/EU) scholarships available worth £1,000 each, paid in two instalments of £500. Please note all applications must be emailed to [email protected] by Friday 29 April 2016. Final decisions will be communicated to the candidates via email on 31 May 2016.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000

Eligibility

See the website

Application Procedure

Students should download and complete an application form and supporting statement demonstrating how this scholarship will positively contribute to their postgraduate progression.

Further Information

http://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/discover-ravensbourne/student-services/financial-support/postgraduate/


(Scholarship)

Postgraduate (International) scholarship - 3 Awards

This scholarship is aimed at promoting postgraduate studies to students with the ability to make an exceptional contribution at Masters level. We invite applications from students with an outstanding portfolio, academic merit and dedication for high quality study in their chosen discipline area. We look for the articulation of how this scholarship will contribute to the applicant’s long-term career aims.There are three scholarships available worth £1,500 each, paid in two instalments.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,500

Eligibility

International students who:
- require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK
- have received and accepted an offer at Ravensbourne
- have a UK bank account.

Application Procedure

Students should download and complete an application form demonstrating how this scholarship will positively contribute to their postgraduate progression. Alll applications must contain links to an online portfolio or CD-ROM / DVD, submitted separately. For more information, please contact Student Services.All applications must be emailed to [email protected] by Friday 29 April 2016. Final decisions will be communicated to the candidates via email on 31 May 2016.

Further Information

http://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/discover-ravensbourne/student-services/financial-support/postgraduate/


(Scholarship)

Postgraduate Stationer’s bursary - 3 Awards

Ravensbourne is very grateful to The Stationers' Company for this generous bursary support of postgraduate students. There are three awards available worth £3,000 each.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£3,000

Eligibility

Applications are welcome from students resident in the UK who have been accepted to study a postgraduate programme focussed on the content and communications industries E.G. MA/MSc Interactive Digital Media. Please be advised that only students classified as, and, paying UK tuition fees will be considered.

Application Procedure

For more details of the criteria, application form and important dates, please visit the Stationer's Website. Application forms must be submitted to [email protected] by Friday, 27th May 2016. Ravensbourne panel of tutors will send its shortlisted applications by 6 June 2016. Final decisions will be communicated to the candidates in mid-July.

Further Information

http://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/discover-ravensbourne/student-services/financial-support/postgraduate/


(Scholarship)

Chevening Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Over 1,800 dynamic future leaders from all over the world, and from all professional backgrounds, have arrived in the UK to start a life-changing year studying and discovering the UK as a Chevening Scholar. This time next year, this really could be you, and the first step to being awarded a prestigious Chevening Scholarship is to apply.What are Chevening Scholarships?:
Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations.Available in over 160 countries and territories, the scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue one-year Master’s degrees in any subject and at any UK university.Chevening Scholars have ambition and leadership potential, a strong academic background, and an excellent record of rising to prominent positions in their countries.There are over 44,000 Chevening Alumni around the world, together forming an influential and highly regarded global network.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See website

Eligibility

Chevening Scholarships are for talented people who have been identified as potential leaders across a wide range of fields, including politics, business, the media, civil society, religion, and academia.Applicants should be high calibre graduates with the personal, intellectual and interpersonal qualities necessary for leadership.

Application Procedure

Students should complete the on line appllcation form on the Chevening Website.

Further Information

http://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/discover-ravensbourne/student-services/financial-support/postgraduate/



Entry Requirements

First or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent non-UK qualifications) in a relevant subject, or an equivalent professional qualification in a related subject area. With an undergraduate degree course without experience or professional practice you must demonstrate a good knowledge of your chosen subject area. In order to be eligible for a course, you will need to be a competent speaker and writer of English. This also applies if you are from the European Union, or a country outside the EU. You will need a level of IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section.

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