Experimental Design

Information Experience Design

Experimental Design (XD) is one of three Pathways on the Information Experience Design MA Programme, alongside  Moving Image Design and Sound Design. XD embraces broad cross-disciplinary practice across art, design, science and storytelling, founded on a challenged and remodelled idea of what experience and interaction can do.

As cross-disciplinary practice, XD is about intersection and multiplication – a multiplicity of methods, modes, materials and perspectives. Just as the X-axis of a graph represents time, and the X coordinate in Cartesian space represents the horizontal dimension, XD works across time, space and form, designing activities, events, systems and contexts. XD staff Angus, Dylan and Libby bring expertise in interaction, comics, VR, fine art and quantum physics – all have strong research as well as practical experience.

The word 'experiment' shares its roots with 'experience' and 'expertise'. Students should therefore be prepared to take risks, test new methods, tools and materials, push boundaries of thinking and making, and gather all this into new forms of practice. XD graduates are working as curators, artists, designers and art directors, have launched their own studios and startups. Most of them work fluidly across art, design and research. 

Context

Students in this pathway come from a wide range of backgrounds within and outside art and design. They can expect to engage with exhibition designers, installation artists, computer scientists, architects, physicists and biologists – not to explore the overlaps between these areas, but to engage in the outer boundaries of each, in order to stimulate new areas of practice. 

XD sits alongside the other two IED pathways, Moving Image Design and Sound Design, as the place to explore and expand modes and methods of creating transformative experiences from information. The professional and political context demands radical new approaches to question, critique, push and provoke notions of information, experience, design and what it means to be human. XD is not the place for superficially aesthetic outcomes or the use of technology for its own sake, instead aiming to deepen students’ intellectual capacity, research and design methods, and professional confidence.

Structure

The pathway is delivered through projects with external partners, seminars, tutorials, technical and research methods workshops. In the first year, students choose from the School of Communication elective programme provided by all School subjects. Additional projects, activity, events and talks are provided by IED. 

First Year

The intellectual content of the XD pathway is delivered in regular seminars on key readings, delivered by IED staff, students and guests. A linked series of practical workshops implement key ideas through technical areas of physical and digital design, making, presentation and research methods.

Each student in the pathway has a Personal Tutor who guides their progress and organises regular tutorials. Students deconstruct and expand their practice in the first year. Term 3 is focused on the dissertation, with occasional and optional commercial projects, and on the Interim Exam. Students in all pathways begin with a wide subject bandwidth, which focuses on the pathway progressively leading up to Year 2. 

Second Year

Second-year XD students are guided by a Personal Tutor, as well continuing to attend seminars and workshops, all designed to inform their practice in creating work for final projects and the Degree Show, and preparing them for professional practice. The autumn term engages students in experiential research, leading to the Work-in-progress and Degree Shows in the spring and summer terms.