V&A Dundee:
Schools Design Challenge 2016

The Schools Design Challenge was V&A Dundee's first schools project, open to all S1 pupils, across all subjects, in Dundee and Angus. The challenged involved using design as a tool for social change and gave young learners the opportunity to work in teams. Pupils were asked to find exciting and creative solutions to real problems that directly affected them in their everyday school environment or school life, and propose how they might improve them in order to become ‘agents of change’.

Using a provided toolkit and facilitation from their teachers, over 1000 pupils mind-mapped and summarized their proposals, with 250 teams submitting an idea. A judging panel then selected ten teams to attend a special Design Jam event in the Vision Building, Dundee. During the one-day Jam, pupils were given the exciting opportunity to develop their idea with a professional designer and work with a film-maker to share it with the world.

Linsey was invited to work with an energetic team of pupils from Grove Academy, and their teacher Mrs Chisholm, to develop their concept for a social enterprise cafe to raise money for good causes. Linsey introduced tools and techniques that designers might use to develop and visualise concepts; such as collating inspirational research imagery on Pinterest, and prototyping the idea through creating a pop-up spatial visual of the space, which the team embraced creatively and enthusiastically.

Throughout the day, pupils could also visit the Design Diary Room to chat about their experiences; and at the end, each team presented to the whole group, discussing the design process, and solutions they had prototyped. The whole Schools Design Challenge project was also captured in a series of short films and an exhibition which was showcased in the Overgate Shopping Centre and the very first Dundee Design Festival.