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University of Derby

The Social Higher Education Depot: S.H.E.D

Our second year Interior Design students have taken part in a live design project through their module “Interrogating Space: Inside Out/Outside In”. Students were invited to produce a collaborative mobile arts commissioning venue and public space by transforming an old outdoor garden shed into a multi-functional space.

The Social Higher Education Depot (S.H.E.D.)has been developed with students as co-creators in consultation with socio-civic industry, creative partners, local industry and communities.  S.H.E.D. is an artistic research project, from the Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre (DMARC), a creative of Dr Rhiannon Jones.

S.H.E.D.is a space that hopes to become a place for conversation and so much more. S.H.E.D. can be reconfigured into 6 different rubrics, in order to be fit for purpose for ‘design in dialogue’. The project showcases the University’s culture of curiosity, and the drive to create opportunities for our students and staff to be genuinely engaged with the city and region.

Over a period of 6 weeks, students developed a brand, while experimenting with various design elements and principles to transform the garden shed into various typologies.  They communicated their proposals using a variety of modes of production and communication (hand sketches, digital 3D design resolutions, and technical CAD drawings).

This industry-connected and research-engaged project pushed students to think beyond the obvious and to apply their ingenuity to a real-world problem – all part of the University’s goal to create the ‘next generation of game changers’.

Students from Media Production were also invited to capture the live project /module and everyone involved got the chance to speak to camera about the experience, which will inform a documentary about the S.H.E.D. project for release in 2021. This creative project showed students that their interior design projects can spark dialogue and contribute to social issues on various scales.  Students remain a part of the ongoing construction of the shed, and will have opportunities for future mentoring and engagement.  The tour of S.H.E.D. commences from July at This is Derby celebration day.  Look out for it in your city.

Fiona Shelton, Dean of Students stated‘I was so impressed by the students’ professional approaches, their original ideas and creative thoughts that meant they produced some fantastic ideas for development. Having this project on their CV will help them to stand out from the crowd. And to top it all off demonstrates how their degree and this project link to the civic responsibilities of universities.’