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Religion Belief & Faith Part 2: ‘Religion in Britain: Challenges for Higher Education.’

March 5, 2017 in Inclusive Teaching & Learning

I read through the following three headings of this paper in detail to respond to:

Multiculturalism (Mahmood)

Minority identities (Mahmood)

Religion and knowledge of religion in UK universities (Calhoun)

The two aspects of this paper under the above headings that were new to my understanding of the challenges of religion in higher education are:

  1. There was a lack of explanation about intersections with religion or faith.

After reading up on Gender so intensely and becoming more aware of the implications in a learning environment as a result, I struggled with this paper barely mentioning the repercussions of not supporting a student who is not sure about their religion, faith or beliefs. Maybe they began their studies as a religious person and decided to become Agnostic. What if a student wishes to change these as a result of discovering who they feel more comfortable to identify as from perspectives of gender or sexual orientation. Some useful links I came across whilst pondering this:

What is a student becomes lost or aligns themselves as Agnostic, not Atheist? How does a teacher support that student, allow them to creatively explore that if they want to?

2. I hadn’t realised that the term ‘multiculturalism‘ had become an unpopular concept amongst politics and the public recently.

Personally, I don’t feel it is outdated, but perhaps an older form of our vocabulary that has since developed into more sophisticated terms such as ‘multiculturalist sensibility’. I experience that we have developed further vocabulary, just as we have created around terms to describe Gender as vastly to adapt and reflect the more subtle and wider range of religions the UK (and certainly London) has to represent its people.

Multiculturalism is perhaps too much of a generic term these days, but it’s definitely one I consider an important part of my vocabulary. When discussing these subjects you often reflect on your own identity within them. I’ve grown up knowing that I am from a ‘minority identity‘. I have a subtly different Bengali accent to someone who’s family is from Bangladesh, because my parents came from West Bengal. My mum and dad had a strong upbringing around Hinduism, so whilst I learnt about that, it was not through practice of Hinduism myself, it was through observing others, attending celebratory festivals surrounding the religion, and slowly learning about them alongside my observations of the English society in the Midlands I grew up in. A few generations have developed in which there has been a mix of people like me – where really, I am not fully ‘at home’ in either the Midlands or in West Bengal. But this transient feeling has interesting creative perspectives. I enjoy the artist Hate Copy for this reason. She plays on the American humour in which she lives to describe traditional traits of a culture she (the artists) has grown up amongst:

Illustration with Caption on saucer

by artist Hatecopy

Laddoo illustration on saucer

by artist Hatecopy

fairnlovely illustration

By artist Hate Copy

Trust no aunty illustration

by Hatecopy


From reading the ‘Religion and knowledge of religion in UK universities’ section of this paper, I began to wonder how we could progress from this tentative avoidance of discussing the subject within an art and design curriculum. So my question about this paper is about providing practical examples of good or bad teaching practices in a religious context. Where can we find such examples that can assist teachers to learn about the subtle and drastic implications? Where can teachers investigate, practice and learn how a design of a teaching session can impact upon someone’s learning because of their strong adherence to faith, a religion or their own beliefs, personal to just them? Should teachers be consulting the universities’ Chaplains to seek guidance on a regular basis, to share and build a religious literacy? At UAL can this be feasible, considering there are only two Chaplains providing support across 6 university sites?

Ultimately, is there a way to avoid ‘religious illiteracy’ unitedly, build confidence in teaching without individual research and interpretation (and fear of misinterpretation)?




Religion, Belief &Faith Part 1: responding to the UAL Webpage

March 5, 2017 in Inclusive Teaching & Learning

How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?

Having read and  explored the information available on the page,I feel I could use the resources in my teaching practice to engage further with the Community of Practice sessions that this blog has been created alongside. This will help to no doubt, increase my awareness, creativity in designing briefs to be inclusive of themes around religion, faith and beliefs, but also to refresh my existing awareness when engaging with students. It made me think about how it would be useful to ‘bookmark’ these resources here in the event that a student chooses to engage with a design brief by answering it with references to their own faith, religious practices or beliefs – especially if those may be unfamiliar or unknown to me. These resources could help me to be mindful of appropriate approaches, whilst encouraging students to explore their ideas with integrity in answering the design brief set.

How could you integrate the research/work your students do on this subject into your teaching/professional practice?

It’s a shame the original link ‘CSM Quiet Capsule Design Project‘ was not working from the website. However, I found myself so intrigued by the title that I searched for it and found an incredibly simple yet effective project brief for an architecture project, giving a very apt example of how research on this subject can be applied to a design project, and put into context to learn creative and inclusive thinking which, affecting all. The Quiet Capsule Design project at CSM demonstrates how religion, faith and beliefs can be incorporated into teaching creative subjects and design practice perspectives. Here is the actual link: . As with my answer to these questions in the ‘Gender’ blog tasks, I would  be keen to work similarly in my teaching practice by creating for example, a brief about illustrating intersectionalilty between faith and gender to raise awareness of their coexistence.

Can you cite examples?

Interestingly enough, I’m working on the preparation of some one-off workshops to be delivered to two secondary schools in which I will use a collection of religious manuscripts from the ‘Mingana Collection’ at the University of Birmingham. With the manuscripts as a source of inspiration, I will be asking the groups to collaborate (mixing the two school groups) to produce an illustrated manuscript of a story, just like any of the collection manuscripts portray. I will ask them to use illustration, typographic and design layout skills combined with their own attempts at hand lettering design to achieve the final manuscripts (two for each workshop, to take back to their own schools). The challenge and success of heir own intended outcomes will derive from their collaboration and communication skills amongst their groups. For this younger set of groups, I will guide them into formats of working so that they can utilise as much of the short amounts of production time they have together. This at higher education levels, is something that I feel would be pertinent for students and groups to work out for themselves. I think this could have an equally, if not more in depth and effective impact on students and their collaborative outputs, if delivered to a  group of students at high education. I wonder if others reading this would think it would be more difficult? That as we mature, people are more aware of boundaries, questions about faith and beliefs that are too sensitive to approach a new peer with?

Here is a link to some examples from the exquisite Mingana Collection:


When We Design for Disability, We Design for All

February 26, 2017 in Reading Journal

A thought provoking TED Talk from Disability Rights Lawyer on essentially, the derivatives of ‘Inclusive Design’ as a concept. I wonder if anyone could argue against this concept?


Inclusive Teaching & Learning Unit: Gender – Part 1

February 14, 2017 in Inclusive Teaching & Learning

Looking at the ‘Student Diversity at UAL‘ webpage, I started to ponder on how I would answer those 3 questions provided in our brief. It’s a pretty overwhelming page as it’s filled with a lot of information, though it is all useful. As a female, British Indian, Dyslexic student myself, I did wonder how a student would cope with looking at all of this with regards to Intersectionality.

Whether I am interpreting this brief correctly or thoroughly enough, I am not sure, but here goes:

  • How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?

I was intrigued by the small little ‘Supporting transgender students‘ blog page. I thought it contained useful information (albeit simple) that would be good to include on the university’s main website so that everyone visiting the website would know that teachers at UAL have an awareness.

In particular, I think  that the link provided to ‘Gendered Intelligence‘ is an essential form of training for teachers to undertake. From my own experience of working in UAL’s Disability Service I think it is hugely important to continue refreshing your awareness of Disability, so I don’t see any difference in teachers making an effort to refresh their awareness of gender fluidity and continue to revise or update knowledge of appropriate or used language around Gender Diversity.

In fact, just as I believe that Disability Equality training should be compulsory for staff at universities, why isn’t Trans Awareness and Inclusion training also essential? I would always find this information and resources received from these training sessions to be useful tools to help build a students’ confidence, especially in the context of teaching art & design subjects, where students often create work which expresses their own selves or their situation in life.

  •  How could you integrate the research/work your students do on this subject into your teaching/professional practice?

Thinking about this aspect feels a very exciting and creative area for me. I would definitely think about setting this subject within a Graphic Communication Design brief. Without writing a full brief here, it could involve students researching the support networks/social groups for Gender Diversity out in the public realm already, and getting them to look at these organisations’ branding. What does this brand say about that organisation? What audiences are they speaking to? Is it different from the audiences they want? How has their branding design influenced that? I could then ask students to rebrand their researched organisation, to capture a different audience. One of the key learning outcomes from this type of brief could be to build an awareness amongst peers that is positive and supportive. Not only that, I would hope it would build students’ design skills to integrate this awareness in their professional practice.

  • Can you cite examples?

I don’t have any direct examples of integrating this into my teaching practice, as I am just beginning as part of the Teaching Within programme. But as an example of a reference, ‘Centred‘ is a type of organisation I could use as a starting point in the brief I mentioned above. I could ask them questions about branding, about providing illustrations for their organisation to attract a different audience and capture a wider support network. This I hope would act as a catalyst to the students researching their own organisation to re-brand. It may either have their attention by widening their minds to learning about social groups and networks they were not aware of before, or it will challenge them to reinterpret organisations they are already familiar with, from a design perspective.

Ideas Are Your Only Currency

January 30, 2017 in courses, Meet our tutors

We are proud to announce the new book by Central Saint Martins short courses tutor Rod Judkins Ideas Are Your Only Currency. We chat to Rod about how his Short Course, 100 Design Projects, provided inspiration for the book and ask that burning question, can non-creatives really become creative?

You’re the author of The Art of Creative Thinking and Change your Mind: 57 ways to unlock your creative self. What was the inspiration behind your new book Ideas Are Your Only Currency, and how does it follow on from your two previous titles?

The inspiration for Ideas Are Your Only Currency was my Central Saint Martins short course called 100 Design Projects. Over many years of teaching art and design at UAL, I noticed the students that lasted and prospered after they left were the ‘ideas’ students. Because culture changes so rapidly, the ‘ideas’ students were able to adapt quickly. The students who relied on a skill often found themselves washed up when technology rendered that skill redundant. So I tried to help students become good at generating ideas. I found the best way to do that was by doing two things. To set them conceptual projects that stretched their minds and forced them to think of ideas rather than create designs that looked attractive. Secondly, to set a lot of projects. Thinking of many ideas is the best training for getting ideas.

Ideas Are Your Only Currency by Rod Judkins

Ideas Are Your Only Currency by Rod Judkins

My previous books equipped the reader with specific techniques and methods to think creatively and solve design problems.  I examined creative thinkers from art and design but also literature music and science. I explained the process they used to get ideas. Then I demonstrated to the reader how they could use them in whatever field they worked in.

The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins

The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins

You’ve been teaching the highly popular short courses 100 Design Projects and 100 Drawing Projects at Central Saint Martins for a number of years now. How have they evolved over the years?

If a project does not produce exciting work, next time I run the course I either alter it or delete it and add a better project. Over the years, I’ve been able to develop all the projects on the course to the highest standard. They are very different courses. 100 Design Projects focuses on ideas and how to get them. 100 Drawing Projects concentrates on exploring the potential of every conceivable medium and how to use them to improve your drawing ability.

Do you cover specific elements of the book in your 100 Design Projects course? If so, which course focuses on which elements? (i.e., I loved chapter 4, so maybe I can book on…)

A chapter of Ideas Are Your Only Currency focuses on technology – how we make it but it also alters and therefore makes us. So in both the book and the course I try to get students to work out how to make sure they use technology rather than let technology use them.

Ideas Are Your Only Currency

Ideas Are Your Only Currency

What’s the most effective ‘first step’ for any aspiring creative out there?

They should work out why they want to be creative. What is it they hope to achieve? Self-expression? Improve the design of cars? When they work out the ‘why,’ the ‘how’ and ‘what’ are easier to establish.

Any advice on how to approach a non-creative career with a bit more creativity?

Because of the success of my books I’ve been invited into places like the Royal Free Hospital where I teach creative thinking to Applied Medical Students. This is a new venture The Royal Free started because they are frustrated that science students have been taught how to learn facts at school but are not creative thinkers. A medical science students needs to be problem solver. A hospital is full of unexpected and unusual situations. That’s where I come in – I help the students to become ideas people who can think of solutions to problems.

Do you think finishing projects is important?

When you first think of an idea it is usually in the form of rough sketch and has energy and life. The more you work on it and refine it the more you can kill that energy. The trick is to develop and idea quickly and maintain that energy.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I get a lot of ideas from students. They introduce me to new topics, new music and new technologies. I meet so many students and they tell me so many things they’ve discovered – they keep me in touch.

What should our visiting students definitely not miss to catch ‘creative London’ in it’s finest?

I’d recommend First Thursdays at the Whitechapel Gallery. On the first Thursday of every month they organize a tour of local galleries. About 150 galleries in east London come together and run free events, exhibitions, talks and private views during a special late opening. They also take you around on a bus – it’s great fun and you learn a lot.

What’s the most important tool for artists? 

I don’t think physical tools are important. If a painter loses his brushes he can replace them with cloth, sponges, etc. Thinking tools are useful because if you get stuck they provide lots of possible alternatives.

Ideas Are Your Only Currency

Ideas Are Your Only Currency


Can non-creatives become creative?

They already are. I’ve discovered that, working with scientists in a hospital. They are constantly innovating and inventing new procedures and treatments but they don’t think of themselves as creative, they think of themselves as scientists.

Rod launches Ideas Are Your Only Currency tonight at Daunt Books, Marylebone, London

Book Launch

Rod’s next 100 Design Projects course is in April with further dates throughout the year.  He also teaches, 100 Drawing Projects, Contemporary Collage and Developing Your Creativity. Check the Central Saint Martins Short Course Website for further details.
Follow Rod on Twitter



November 7, 2016 in uncategorised

To be honesty, I did this 3D animation about 1 year before. I read a lot of traditional books, and saw lots of Beijing opera  in my university and  theaters. And interviewed lots of my alumnus who studied Peking opera. and then design these characters. Finally,  I finished  this work with music alumnus.


The lotus pattern on the drama costume has recalled the design inspiration. Chinese Peking opera has divided into four stage roles which are opera male roles, painted roles and clowns. Thus, Chinese Peaking opera shows the charm of this form of expression.

preface: soundtrack: Peking opera

A lens focusing on an opera costume with hand-painted puzzle style has been divided by PS. Gradually, drawing closer. the pattern on the cost drama has become increasingly clear. when the lens is focused on the drama costume pattern lotus bud, bud with the lens closer, slowly blooming lotus until converted into the big stage.

Main stage: 3d animation scenario fragment soundtrack: Chinese opera
” The first part” Qing Yi( female roles) comes from a lotus in the big stage, performing some kind, gentle, luxurious, elegant and with a sense of justice to the image of women in ancient drama action. when Qing Yi was intoxicating, seven-items-sesame-official (her lequins) broke out of the hole from another lotus and made amusing interacting with Qing Yi, performing a song both humorous and subtle, both witty and fresh. Meanwhile, a Wusheng( horned) with characteristics of fortitude and bravery appeared from behind petals and inserted a stride between Qing Yi and seven-items-seams-official since he mistakenly though seven-items-official was molesting Qing Yi. and he raised a stick to beat seven-items-sesame-official. Just at that moment, a large painted face righteous person(Jing role) are with clouds between his knees to the three persons, and resolved misunderstandings. Finally, they immediately reconciled and get along with each other like good family members.

Trailer(soundtrack: Peking opera)
Finally, the stage is surrounded by petals slowly closed into bud, slowly got back split in the form of clothes above a bud. becoming 2-dimensional bud, which is shifted into a “戏“ ( literally means ” Chinese Opera”) with Traditional Chinese Characters.


October 25, 2016 in uncategorised

Hi Everyone, I thought you might like this, it’s a talk I saw Massimo Vignelli give in Dublin a few years back at Offset festival. Tony has mentioned his name a good few times over the past three weeks so I thought I would share this. Check out the catalogue of other videos too, Chip Kidd was a favourite that year:

The Visual Diary Starts Here

October 24, 2016 in uncategorised

Tomorrow I will be taking my collection of Brooke Bond Tea Cards and Albums to support my Collaborative Research Task.


These books really illustrate for me in a very sincere way how collecting and my love of nature, design, science and language overlap. They also are marker points in time from my youth and collecting can often be steeped in nostaligia. I don’t think this aspect of collecting offers my research anything as I am trying to extend my understanding of myself, my practice as a designer/ illustrator and collecting as they potentially serve as bridging points to working with the science community.

Brooke Bond Teac Cards and Albums


My Journey Here – Where am I really going?

October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


My journey to LCC is an unusual one. First of all, I flew across the pond to be here for just one term. I did not come from an ordinary college either; my home institution, Hampshire College, is one where there are no letter grades and each student designs their own major as they move through their time at the college. That brings me to my question – where am I really going? I’m at a crossroads in my education. I don’t really have a defined major; I’m officially a games design concentrator, but I know that’s not quite right. While I am physically here, my studies are winding their way through possible areas in order to find a focus upon my return.

I attempted to evoke these feelings in my design above, and I’m only somewhat happy with the result. In a way, however, it’s just as much an example of my path as it is a visual representation of it. This image is my first creation using Photoshop, and I was therefore getting used to using the program and seeing what it could do. I think that something different would have come of this project if I was an experienced user, but that’s also part of the point. I am over here to try new things and really stretch my limits in order to discover more about my interests and talents. Who knows where that will lead? I’ll only find out by moving forward.

The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers

October 14, 2016 in courses, Meet our tutors

Congratulations to CSM Short Course tutor Alison Branagan on the publication of the Second Edition of her book The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers Alison’s popular online course, Self-Promotion for Creatives, is essential for anyone who desires to make a living from art, design, photography, image-making, or other creative activities. There are still a few places remaining on the next session of this course which starts this coming Tuesday 18th October!

Read Alison’s Guest Blog post on the Routes to Business Success here
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