Collabolgy: collaboration and creativity in the Shed

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Students from Manchester School of Art at MMU have taken part in a unique digital project called Collabology which saw them working with students from across the country.

The brainchild of Fred Deakin, Professor for Interactive Digital Arts at University of Arts London, it aims to give design students practical experience of collaborative project working. So, Deakin worked with students from the University of Arts in London, University College Falmouth, Salford University and the Manchester School of Arts on a two week project where they worked in groups to tackle briefs based around “positive change”, using digital collaborative tools.

Extending the classroom beyond the walls

“The event was a prototype to see if we could extend the classroom beyond the walls into the online space. There was a lot of goodwill and energy from the students in Falmouth and Manchester as the students were very engaged, created some great work and seemed to take a lot from the workshop to use in academic careers,” according to Deakin.

In fact, Deakin explains that the process of collaborating remotely with teams from other universities was one of the most interesting parts of the process:

“The digital experience was more valuable to those in Manchester and Falmouth, they were given specific tools to pitch and collaborate and pitch online. The way the online students worked is becoming more crucial to students in the creative industries and they learnt key skills to help with this,” he said.


For the students the project gave them a chance to experience the fast-paced world of the design workplace. Thanks to the project they got the chance to not only work with teams from across the country but also with people from different backgrounds – something that Catherine who worked on the project found particularly useful:

“It’s a very unique experience because normally you wouldn’t have so much access to so many students with different gifts and skills. Here you have access to over 20 people on a daily basis and I have learnt so much from all the others, especially as they are not doing the course I am doing, I am learning graphic skills, photography skills, and animation skills. When you come up with an idea usually your idea exceeds your skills but you can only do so much if it is just your project – when it becomes a team project it becomes bigger because you have the skills available to you.”