On Wednesday 9th March 2016, 40 undergraduate students representing all colleges of the University met in the Banqueting Suite at Chelsea to share their work at UAL’s first ever Undergraduate Research Forum.
The day kicked off with a barn-storming keynote by CSM BA Ceramic Design student and current MEAD scholarship recipient, Sarah Christie. Sarah talked about her collaborative work with Imperial College, designing ceramic artefacts to be used to train medical students about tactile nuances between different dermatological skin conditions. Sarah underlined how distracting vision can be in terms of making flawed diagnoses and assumptions, and how utilizing other senses can be a useful primary research methodology.
Haptic communication was returned to several times during the day, with Wimbledon BA Fine Art’s Lizzie Masterton illuminating participants with her exploration into the fascinating world of Auto-Sensory Motor Response (ASMR) videos and LCC BA Graphic and Media Design’s Eun Gyeong Kim experimenting with using other senses to read.
The afternoon saw rich discussion of artefacts presented in a table-top exhibition, with participants sharing their experiences of ethical dilemmas in the research process. A second keynote by CSM BA Graphic Design graduates Sisterhood, was an inspirational story of how ‘a two week course project can become part of your career’. It motivated a lively debate on the commodification of feminism.
As part of Research Fortnight programme, the intention was to raise the profile of undergraduate research and provide an opportunity for students to come together to celebrate and learn from each other’s work. The closing plenary discussion indicated that inter-disciplinary learning had been the highlight of the day, and that the resonances and dissonances between our diverse courses is definitely worth exploring again next year. There were requests to make the day into a two day research festival, so watch this space!
The Forum was organised and funded by the Teaching and Learning Exchange in partnership with students, as part of UAL’s current enhancement theme work: ‘Practices of Enquiry’, which aims to nurture students’ enquiry-led practice. If you would like to get involved in next year’s Undergraduate Research event, or find out more about the Practices of Enquiry project please contact Catherine Smith, Teaching Excellence and Enhancement Co-ordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org