The ‘Wright’ stuff

2nd Year Product Design Student Owen Wright was selected by judges from the Design Museum to take part in the exclusive Design Factory Symposium 2014.

The challenging brief was to:

Design something that communicates, provoked reflection on, or tells a story about a cultural identity and how can visual design culture be both global and modern whilst also having a strong cultural identity and ‘dialogic’, or conversational, two-way, relationship to society?

 In answer to the brief, after months of research and development, Owen created the concept of Night Owls – a sustainable and energy efficient form of street lighting.

Owen’s concept was selected as one of the forty winners from the 1000’s of entries received.


The following is Owen’s own account of the Design Factory Symposium which took place on 19th May this year at the Design Museum, London.

I got to the design museum for 10 o’clock and we were taken to a workshop room on the first floor of the design museum that overlooked the river Thames. After brief refreshments we were introduced to the day by the Deputy Head of Learning, Catherine Ritman-Smith. After this introduction we were given a talk by Designer of the Year 2014 architectural nominee, Alison Brook. Alison explained the way in which she designed and how she and her team came to create innovative designs through research and development. After this talk we were split into groups of about 5 students to develop and create a concept for a welcoming entry to a home using a mixture of design disciplines. The groups included students studying graphics, product and fashion which allowed us to understand how to work in a multi-disciplinary group.

After this exercise we had lunch and an opportunity to walk around the Design of the year exhibit with an employee of the Design Museum so we could ask questions. The final exercise of the afternoon had us helping MA fashion design students, to evaluate and critique their work. In the exercise we had the opportunity to express our thoughts about their work and what we thought could be different or what we thought was good. At the end of the day we had the opportunity to express our thoughts about the day and how it influenced our thoughts on the design process.

Overall the whole experience of the competition brief, from designing my concept, to being chosen as a winner, visiting London and spending a day at the Design Museum, was one I will never forget.”



Designers with a Conscience: part 2

2nd Year Product Design Student Martins Elerts was highly commended in the Creative Conscience Awards 2014

Solar Stove Light and Solar Stove Plus are portable ovens which have been created specifically for us in refugee camps. They use solar energy and diffused sunlight to cook food and the visual language is inspired by Syrian architecture and Syrian beehive houses. The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan hosts Syrians fleeing violence. Solar Stoves will give refugees more of a sense of normality and control, as well as enabling them to be active in the refugee community

Elerts Martins 12.10.2013_Page_1Elerts Martins 12.10.2013_Page_2Elerts Martins 12.10.2013_Page_3Elerts Martins 12.10.2013_Page_4

Grief and the First World War: Student as Researcher. Post from History at Teesside

Teesside University runs a Student as Researcher scheme which provides funding for students to undertake research alongside members of staff. In 2014 History at Teesside was given the opportunity to employ two third-year students to undertake archival research into the home front in the Tees Valley during the First World War. This work will form a significant part of the University’s community outreach activities during the centenary period. Ami Becker discusses her research.

The ‘students as researchers’ scheme is something I am incredibly grateful to have been part of. I have just completed my BA (Hons), and the aspect I found most enjoyable on the course was using archives and libraries to gain insight into contemporary experiences, and so instantly I was extremely interested. The areas I explored as part of this scheme were grief and memorial, and I did this by producing a report on letters from and to Mary Pennyman at Ormesby Hall during and after the war, and another report detailing the history of the development of the Dorman War Memorial on Linthorpe Road, both accompanied by primary sources.

Mrs Pennyman, who lived at Ormesby Hall, became the secretary of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers 2nd Battalion Widows & Orphans Fund after the First World War. She wrote to widows offering financial and emotional assistance, ensuring they were comfortable financially, and were aware of the pensions available to them. By reading the incredibly emotional letters written in reply, it is clear the soldiers’ deaths not only mean a sacrifice of one life, but that their wives’, and families’ lives also alter drastically. So often the deaths of the soldiers are the focus of memorial, but this research, both in Teesside Archives and at Ormesby Hall, provided a voice for those at home who had to recover and build a life around this loss.

The letters also make clear the struggle of those who never received any information on their husbands’ death, or anything physical to mourn. Many soldiers remained missing or unidentified, and this proved to be very difficult. Following the greatest loss of fathers in British history, wives had to deal with practical problems such as making sure their children were not distracted from their schoolwork, and earning money to feed and clothe their children. This is regrettably not a point of view I had previously given much thought to, and I am glad that I am able to present this interpretation to the public.

Memoriam card
I also studied the history of the Dorman War Memorial, for which I read War Memorial Committee minute books. It was clear that whilst there was substantial public support for a memorial, the direction in which the memorial went was not particularly supported. It is clear that the public would have preferred something functional, such as a hospital, a crèche, or an art gallery. However, Arthur Dorman donated the land upon which the cenotaph was erected, provided a monetary donation toward the final product and was influenced by the cenotaph in London, and decided that Middlesbrough was to have a cenotaph as well. As a result, it became difficult to raise funds for the memorial. It was particularly interesting to compare the minutes to photographs of the unveiling, which suggest that there was substantial support from the public, in spite of the lack of financial support.

middlesbrough memorialTo provide context to this, I also researched the importance of memorial and the First World War, and realised that I had not previously appreciated the significance of war memorials to those who had lost somebody in the War. The construction of thousands of war memorials following the Great War has been described as ’one of the greatest spontaneous public-sponsored building projects in history’, and some will argue they provide surrogate graves for the war dead.

I have particularly appreciated gaining insight into personal experiences, and exploring alternative points of view. I very much look forward to sharing our reports and documents with the public, and am extremely grateful to have been able to partake in the scheme. It has been invaluable to me both in terms of employability and enjoyment, and it has been very exciting to explore how an international event on such a huge scale affected ‘normal’ people in my hometown.

from HistoryatTeesside

Teesside University launch official first TU Mobile App for students

STUDENTS at Teesside University can now have essential information at their fingertips, thanks to the launch of a new App.

This new app features dozens of different services that students will find helpful  during their time at university.

Teesside University TU Mobile App

These services include; news and events in certain departments, interactive maps of the buildings with a room finder; and travel information in real time for the Middlesbrough area.

The new App is aimed at helping new students find their way around and get to grips with services such as Blackboard and the library catalogue, where they can access their modules and reading lists, that may seem unfamiliar to them online.

The App also helps to find places nearby to eat and drink and cash points, as well as giving you access to your TUSC account where you can top up your MyPrint credit and cashless payment account.

Aimed at changing the way students connect at Teesside, the App is a fast and effective way for students to connect with a range of University platforms.

You can download the free app now on IOS (apple) and Android. The mobile web version is available on other platforms. Just search for ‘Teesside University’.


from Tside

Pentatonix making acapella cool again?

Acapella group Pentatonix

Pentatonix as pictured above, from left to right, vocal bass Avi Kaplan, Lead vocalists Kirstie Maldonado, Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi and beatboxer Kevin Olusola.

When most people think of the music genre acapella, they usually picture boring unmemorable music without instruments. It’s not a style of music linked to being engaging or remotely cool.

But shows like NBC’s the sing off, in America, are bringing acapella into the spotlight, with groups from all over the country showcasing their vocal talent on the stage. This popularity reached its peak when series three winners Pentatonix showed the world their unique music.

After winning series three of the sing off, Pentatonix have been on multiple worldwide tours and have even started a YouTube channel, which currently stands close to six and a half million subscribers. On their channel they upload original tracks and covers of top 40 tracks, giving them a unique spin and creating some truly gripping musical moments within each song.

They also have their own website, telling everyone all the need to know about the group, as well as a store for merchandise.

Pentatonix who have recently released their third EP titled, ‘PTX Vol. 3′ continue to gain popularity worldwide and to expand their global appeal have even released a song in French. With their multi-talented members and incredible vocal arrangements, there is no doubt that Pentatonix are making acapella popular again.

from Tside