An interdisciplinary perspective
Students come with backgrounds as varied as nuclear science, journalism, medicine, computer engineering, business administration and music. This range of perspectives enriches students, igniting new ways of thinking and sparking innovation as they move between media and materials. The unique AcrossRCA unit offered as part of our MA programmes gives staff and students a more formal chance to work together through a series of interdisciplinary collaborative projects that explore new ideas, approaches and skills.
“The people are what I love the most about the RCA. I was very lucky to meet so many great people from various backgrounds. Even within the MRes programme, we had peers from different backgrounds, which brought so many dynamic insights into the projects.”MRes RCA
Invention and innovation
We believe that creative invention and innovation spring from individual imagination. We require a portfolio that shows technical accomplishments and creative ability, but most important is identifying people who can think, have creative ideas, find ways to generate and articulate those ideas, be curious about the world, see things that other people will not see and – increasingly – show potential to work in teams comprising individuals of multidisciplinary backgrounds, which can accelerate the problem identification and solving cycles.
Our students are particularly good at combining things that others wouldn’t have thought of combining. They operate across multiple art and design disciplines, working within them, enhancing them and producing new knowledge. It’s synthetic thinking, applied in addition to analytic thinking, and it produces new ways of utilising ideas and solutions that result in outcomes that would not arise from mono-disciplinary methods and approaches, or from STEM alone.
“To present a single design concept in four weeks was a huge challenge.”MA Textiles, 2022
Tackling real-life problems
Our students develop the confidence to tackle global problems through experimental learning: a learning-by-doing model, rather than learning from teachers. It’s a method that embeds confidence, founding deep disciplinary knowledge in trial, error and experimentation. When they reach a solution, our students know not only that what they are doing works, but why. Co-creation, working in groups and teams, brings the ability to articulate ideas.
Initiatives such as the Terra Carta Design Lab, or the Grand Challenge in the School of Design, give students the opportunity to apply these strategies to real life problems, from environmental sustainability and plastic pollution, to loss of marine habitat and new ocean economies.
“We are going to use design as a tool to save the world. It's really exciting!”MA Design Products, 2022