Polls 1

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The interviews carried out on campus in October yielded some of the most interesting and detailed information that we have gathered in a project for quite a while.  Now we want you to give us more detail.  The poll questions below are almost entirely developed from the information that students supplied in the soft interviews. However, we really want to gain an understanding of your vision of the future, so we have developed a couple of additional questions at the start. Your views will help shape any future library project, so it is very important to get your feedback. Please take five minutes out of your day to complete the poll below by clicking on the button.  It does not take long and will make such a difference.

Thanks

N Team

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A Vision of the Future

Asking people what they think will happen in the future is always problematic. It is either too difficult a question for most to answer or too easy to get caught up in a Star Trekesque vision of what might be. Intel’s Futurist, Brian David Johnson explains the business of Futurecasting as a mix of social science, computer science, statistical data even a bit of science fiction to give people a context to respond to. However, he also advises that his process begins with people from all walks of life and a LOT of conversation and to some extent, this is what we have been trying to do throughout this blog.

Throughout the stories, we have given you ideas and shown you spaces. Some ideas may be a little far-fetched, and some of the spaces might be a little extreme, but we want you to react to these, and we hope that they might inspire you to think about the future. Any future ideas are welcome, but we are most interested in the next 10-30 years. Changes in this period are likely to be an evolution of how you are beginning to work now so we would love you to consider this and how your learning spaces might evolve. For example, you may do all your active learning online, downloading lectures, taking part in exams, collaborating on group projects and so on – so your University Spaces will need to support this but won’t necessarily replicate it. The social aspects of your spaces may become increasingly important as would the need for a sense of community to ensure you still feel part of a larger organisation where you can meet others, and debate/discuss your ideas. The extreme version of this would mean that Universities might drastically reduce in scale, or entirely change their layout and structure.

Another way to try to predict the future is to examine the past for patterns and the present for early ideas and innovations that are likely to expand. For example, with all the new social learning environment now available students may stay long for something more traditional and formal, or you may find that recent collaborative projects have been so successful that you envisage spaces which are wholly focused on collaboration.

To inspire you to think about your current experience and how it could be we have embedded a short film. This film was made several years ago by anthropology students at Kansas State University and was part of a project, which examined their ‘Vision of Students Today’ and began to explore ideas for the future.

We hope you enjoy the film and leave us some comments here or email them to dmu@nomad-rdc.com. If we get enough, we will include a poll in next week’s poll launch.

We are excited to hear your ideas.

N.

cyan

A Sense of Identity

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We just celebrated our tenth anniversary and to celebrate this we have been pursuing some self-initiated projects. The most important of these projects is a meta-analysis of all of our research projects to date. This analysis comprises 18 research or research led design projects and includes over 800 interviews with students and staff, hundreds of cultural probes and maps, over 80 workshops and countless days on site. Our team have taken the data from each of these projects, analysed and cross-referenced it which has allowed us to discern certain design principles. We will spare you the detail but one of, if not the most prominent principle is the concept of identity.

In our 21st-century global culture, this should not be surprising as almost every aspect of our daily lives is influenced by the identities or brands we associate with and the most successful spaces we know of always expressing something about that place and the people that inhabit it.

There are a myriad of ways in which identity can be expressed. For example, The landscaping of the exterior environment and approach, the architecture, the technology, services and activities on offer, the selection of interior fittings and last but certainly not least interior artwork.

The picture above shows the exterior of our studio. The big N in the top left of the facade is for Nomad and is bold, confident and assertive – this perhaps says more about how we would like to be rather than are perceived. The actual unit is on the South Side of Glasgow and comprises three large Victorian shop units knocked together originally designed by famous Glasgow architect Greek Thomson. (or at least a good copy by one of his pupils) The window featuring John Cleese engaged in his Ministry of Funny Walks persona perhaps reveals more about who we are. We enjoy our work; we love our studio and like to have fun there. We don’t always take ourselves too seriously, and we want people to enjoy the experience of working with us. We also like to surprise people and even be a little subversive and most of all we like to be seen. Our Funny Walks window has become something of a local icon and is even a Pokestop – if fact, a year ago or so our window was smashed, and we had to replace the graphic. We offered our blog readers a choice between three options for the replacement including the crew of the original Star Trek Enterprise, but there was an overwhelming response in favour of keeping Mr Cleese.

We want to know what you think the identity of DMU is and what you believe that we could do to help express this. As with our other posts, you can comment here, email them to dmu@nomad-rdc.com or feed into the ‘identity’ poll when it is uploaded in a couple of weeks.

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Guest Blog

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The story of libraries is one of constant change and adaptation, of transformation and evolution. The library is a hub, a social space, a window on knowledge, a source of inspiration, a laboratory, a place of creation and connection; it is a learning space, it is a communication node, a refuge, and a third space.

Libraries are places rich with culture and legacy, places embroidered with tradition, sounds and smells, tactile and sensual. They are symbols; it is no wonder that many of the world’s finest buildings are libraries.

Everyone has an image – a snapshot, an Instagram – of what a library is from their own experience, from popular culture – films and TV, from books themselves, from history.

What should a library of the future look like? If you were going to build one, what would it contain?

Books certainly, computers of course, desks and tables, screens, 3D printers, art, laser cutters and other fabrication technologies, printers, screens, film editing, graphics, archives, performance, open noisy collision space, silent scriptorium space. A space for collaboration and a space for quiet contemplation; a place to inspire and a space to reflect.

Libraries are also places online, labyrinthine windows to all the worlds’ knowledge. Libraries mediate, facilitate and empower, they are neutral spaces, and they encourage interdisciplinarity.  They are places which exemplify institutional activity and aspiration, they are major University assets.

So share your stories, ideas, observations, help to build a future library.

David J Parkes
Director of Library and Learning Services
cyan

A Sense of Community

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We have visited a LOT of Universities over the years, some very exclusive, some high achieving and scholarly, some friendly and welcoming and some that are trendy and innovative. The curriculum, the architecture and the identity of the place all play a part in making each place unique but above all its the people that make a difference. We have found that each institution has its unique community of people and its individual culture. Our studio is located in Scotland, and Scottish students don’t move around much so our Universities are often populated primarily by local students. Outside Scotland we know that students move around a great deal more so Universities often have diverse and varied populations which can make them rather interesting.

One place that does have a strong sense of community is Glasgow School of Art where the majority of our people studied. The image above is from the annual street party which is notorious in Glasgow and closes down several streets for the night. There is a tangible feeling of community at GSA; it is a small institution located in the centre of the city but on a hill and off the beaten track. The students vary from the stereotypical ‘arty folk’ in the paint-stained overalls and funny haircut uniform to shy folk in cable knit jumpers and bottle bottom glasses and everything in between. But, there is a real sense of unity created by a shared passion for the arts and the many events and activities that this generates which results in a feeling of belonging for everyone.

We want to know about the community at DMU. Is there a feeling community and how would you describe it? Who are DMU students and how are they different from the inhabitants of other institutions? As with our other posts, we want you to comment here or feed into the ‘community’ poll when it is uploaded in a couple of weeks. Alternatively you can also email us at dmu@nomad-rdc.com

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