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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


Festive fashion quiz night on 8th Dec

November 25, 2016 in uncategorised

The Costume Society have teamed up with vintage emporium Beyond Retro to host ‘Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: A Christmas Quiz‘ on the evening of Thursday 8th December at iconic east London venue Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Hosted by LCF lecturer and fashion historian Amber Butchart – with a special underwear-themed round of questions from me! – the night will be crammed with fun fashion facts, Christmas tunes, Christmas jumpers and fabulous festive cheer.


Come along for the chance to win a copy of Amber’s latest book, a Beyond Retro voucher and a personal shopping experience. If old clothes and yuletide joy are your thing, pull on your brightest Christmas jumper, adorn with tinsel and join us! RSVP via Eventbrite for your free ticket and get 10% off at Beyond Retro to top up your Christmas wardrobe!

Collective 205 Social

November 23, 2016 in uncategorised

Although I never studied contour design and work at LCF in an admin role, I’ve always had a special connection to the BA Fashion Contour course. In my spare time I write about lingerie for my blog, Rarely Wears Lipstick, and I keep up with the academic work that I started on my MA course, researching twentieth and twenty-first century underwear.

So, I was thrilled to be invited to a social event for Collective 205 (aka the LCF Contour family!) last night, along with current students, graduates, academic staff and some of the other key admin support people. The venue was The Strongroom on Curtain Road, a great bar and restaurant just down the road from the LCF site where the course is based, and I popped my head in after work for much needed drinks and chats.


The lovely course leaders, Catherine and Nicola, ensured that food was provided and the bar staff were giving out loyalty cards for discounted drinks, so it wasn’t long before everyone was chatting and relaxing. Current students got to socialise outside of the sample and machine rooms, alumni caught up with old friends and filled in the course team on what they’ve been up to since graduating. It was a perfect way to end the day, chatting with like-minded people.

There was a great turn out with around 70 people popping in to say hello. As well as current students from the first, second, placement and final years, about 30 alumni from the last 5 years came along too. It was fantastic to see everyone and there have been requests for another social event already, so… watch this space!

V&A Friday Late: Brief Encounters

June 26, 2016 in uncategorised

Appropriate for the V&A? We say YES!

Last Friday the Victoria & Albert Museum hosted a Late Night inspired by the Undressed exhibition with activities addressing underwear’s relation to everthing from sexuality and gender to fashion and form.  From French lingerie designer Fifi Chachnil to Coco de Mer founder Samantha Roddick and many more, the event offered numerous talks, activities and an intimate fashion show relating to underwear through the ages.

collage va

In contribution to a charity shop we were offered to “knit-a-tit”, a special handmade breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. To be honest, Yasmin and I did not quiet manage to finish it as it turned out to be quiet tricky…. but at least we tried!

Fifi Chachnil
My personal highlight was the performance of French lingerie designer Mademoiselle Fifi, founder of Maison Fifi Chachnil which is marked by frivolous beauty, who presented her very own album during the event. Her designs have previously  been shown in an intimate catwalk show in the Grand Entrance Hall earlier that night.

Baloon Bustles
Since we are striving and upcoming lingerie designers, we thought it would be fun to join the arts and crafts workshop Baloon Bustles and make some quirky paper corsets using cardboard, gems and crepe paper. I think we totally made the most of it!

It was an overall fun evening in the V&A, looking forward to the next Late Night!


November 17, 2015 in uncategorised

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 10.27.42

Lingerie Sample Sale!

November 6, 2015 in uncategorised

Happy Friday lovely ladies,

If any of you fancy luxury bargains!

Been to the last two and spent far too much money!

Also great if you have christmas presents to buy




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