How can design help us be good citizens?
The last few years, and the past 18 months in particular, have seen huge upheaval in societies around the world. Movements such as #MeToo, Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion have started much needed dialogue around gender, race, LGBTQ+ equality and environmental issues and shed light on the importance of active individual participation if we want to affect real positive change.
It’s within this context that PG led a Masterclass for the National Saturday Club around the issue of citizenship. We wanted to help inspire the next generation of future design leaders to consider ways in which design can help impact behaviour in the public realm, or even within the home.
The Saturday Club enables 13-16 year-olds to study subjects they love for free, and provides a framework within which they can learn about different creative disciplines from leaders in the field. The programme runs countrywide in the UK and has a particular focus on reaching young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented communities.
For this Masterclass, Club members from the University of Leeds Art&Design Saturday Club were given the option to design a physical object, a printed campaign or a digital solution that would encourage good citizenship. Through an initial brainstorming session, together with a team of designers from PG, the young people outlined a series of ideas to shape into a creative outlet, and were then given time to sketch their ideas before presenting them to the group.
The solutions the Saturday Club members presented really highlighted the many issues that concern young people today, from safety in the built environment and online to social equity. For PG as a design studio, it’s inspiring to see the verve and determination that these young creative minds displayed.
The result of this Masterclass can be seen online in the National Saturday Club Summer Show. The work was also submitted and showcased in the ‘Design In An Age Of Crisis’ exhibition at Somerset House in London in June 2021. ‘Design In An Age Of Crisis’ began as a global open call issued by Chatham House and the London Design Biennale, inviting the world’s design community, the public and young people to submit ideas and radical thinking to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems from poor health and unhealthy living situation, to the climate emergency and social and economic inequalities. The exhibition ran throughout June 2021.
PriestmanGoode has had a long standing relationship with the National Saturday Club. We believe in the importance of nurturing talent and encouraging young people to explore opportunities in the creative industries.
Over the years, we’ve run a number of Masterclasses, hosting workshops in our London studio exploring future thinking innovation through projects including space travel and designs to facilitate sleep on public transport.
As an employer, we value the skills of problem solving, communication, collaboration and working things out when things go wrong. In an education system focussed on success in terms of exam results, it’s more difficult to see evidence of those skills but it’s what you experience in a Masterclass setting, where the young people think, make, collaborate and present all in one day as well as learn about career opportunities that they might not have known about before.
We are keen to champion widening participation in the creative industries to increase diversity in our future workforce. If you run a similar programme and would like to discuss PG’s involvement, get in touch.