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My Arup Design School Experience

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The challenge of creating a design solution, told via a punchy and engaging video, with minimal time and very basic resources in a room filled with talented multidisciplinary individuals, sounds pretty intense. But the bright minds that attended the 2018 Arup Design School took this on, with style. It should be mentioned that this activity was the culmination of two and a half days of inspiring talks and workshops from a variety of experts as well as forming bonds between a range of talented individuals from around the world.

The focus this year, was on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are 17 key points to outline what needs to be done to end poverty, keep people safe as well as respected and to care for our environment and world. The consideration of these key directives was kept front of mind throughout the event.

I was lucky enough to be a part of this incredibly engaging experience. Working with the organisers Kim Sherwin, Lisa Kay and Tara McKibbin in the lead up to the event we established how to use my expertise to engage the participants in the event. A Visual Thinking Workshop was decided to kick things off and give the participants some useful skills in how to communicate ideas using graphics and illustration. We ran this on the first evening with over 60 participants at Arup’s stylish Brisbane office.

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The next element, was to provide full graphic recording throughout the course of the design sessions. Some of the many presenters included Peter Bailey, Director, Sustainable Development at Arup as well as adventurer and environmental scientist, Tim Jarvis. A collection of visual artefacts from the session, talks and discussions was formed. They were then displayed as reference material, providing a visual gallery of new ideas and concepts for all to engage with.

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Every participant was given a Moleskine notebook, pen and the Jimmy Patch Creative ’Visual Thinking Drawing Guide’. One of the most rewarding parts of the Design School for me was to see how the participants had used their new visual thinking skills, both throughout the session and in their final video. By having visuals around, in the form of graphic recordings or pre produced illustrations, it gave confidence and encouraged those in the room to experiment with graphics themselves. Visuals in communication are essential to help formulate ideas and test concepts with others.

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This year’s Design School for Arup was a huge success and a testament to those who developed it. All that attended showed engagement, openness and a willing eagerness to learn, test and develop new ways of thinking. I was grateful that I was a part of such a unique and engaging experience.

This Video was produced by and is property of Arup.