Where is the ‘agile’ in design education?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On the 22nd April we were lucky enough to welcome our first external visitor to a ‘Creative Lunch’. Lara Furniss is a lecturer at Birmingham City University, working within the school of visual communication. Her current research has been published in Design Week and she has written articles for the Creative Review.IMG_0642

Lara’s research starts in the studios of top contemporary designers. These creatives work across a range of disciplines and backgrounds – examples would be Thomas Hetherwick and Assemble.


In its first iteration, Lara’s research comes to the conclusion that the reliance on twentieth-century ideas of ‘discipline’ hamper the efficacy of contemporary design education – these individual spaces do not allow for the kind of multi-disciplinary cross-curricular approach found in design studios.

In current iterations of her research, Lara looks at the design space itself and how it manifests these ideas – and the design process –  in different ways, again approaching this by recognising differences and commonalities in the studio spaces of contemporary designers.

Flexible. Agile. Collaborative. Risk. Courage. In our learning spaces and within the curriculum my hope is that we can look to the work of contemporary researchers such as Lara and make this manifest in our work at HCA.


Huge thanks to Lara for her generosity in sharing research ideas with us. She will be revisiting college to present her work in a slightly more formal atmosphere than a ‘creative lunch’ and I hope we will be able to discuss her work with a wide range of staff in college.

We are also lucky in that Lara is supporting us in how we move forward to create our own agile design spaces for the twenty-first century. I watched her talking in the main hall with Abigail and Neil below. I wonder what this space will look like in the future?



%d bloggers like this: