CULTURAL DIGITAL DESIGNERS IN RESIDENCE
The Cultural Digital Designers in Residence (CDDIR) programme is a partnership project between Comino Foundation and Curious Minds working with the Ideas Foundation, Manchester Metropolitan University, North West Comino Creative Consortium of Schools and a number of leading cultural providers across Greater Manchester. My role is to manage the programme, brokering the partnerships and providing support to the students and teachers.
There is a growing digital economy in the NorthWest, but a skills shortage in
the creative and digital industries in the UK. This programme brings support to teachers interested in developing collaborative projects fusing innovative digital design practice to the needs of the creative curriculum in schools.
Current thinking in education, including the debate around STEM and STEAM and the recognition of the value of expansive education also informed the initiative. The diminishing provision of arts subjects in schools due to the EBACC makes the programme even more relevant.
Students from Manchester School of Art are paired with teachers in secondary schools. Working in conjunction with a cultural institution and a class teacher, students devise a project which brings new digital practice to the teacher’s own area of specialisation.
Last year’s cultural partners included the Whitworth, The Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art; The People’s History Museum, Macclesfield Silk Museum, the Canals and Rivers Trust, and FACT in Liverpool.
The culmination of each project is the creation of a legacy piece that demonstrates the achievements of the pupils, fusing their digital design work with that of the CDDIR.
Feedback from all participants has been extraordinary:
Gill Houghton, Head teacher Abraham Moss
When I look at the way the young men are so engaged in the art… it makes me hugely proud.
To all who took part, regardless of what you did, if you look at these pictures you see the massive difference you have made. When we consider the pressure young people face and in particular young males, projects such as this one really do make pupils reflect. You have all added such value to these young men’s lives in ways that cannot be done without colleagues and partners such as yourselves.
Ellie Green, student
I think the whole residency was amazing… it's so fantastic bringing these projects into schools to not only inspire the teachers, but to get the pupils engaged and excited for creative work like this. I feel the pupils absolutely loved it and I'm really proud to have been a part of it.
Teachers, St Ambrose Barlow
The project adds so much value to the curriculum that we can’t deliver.
Lots of them now want to go to MMU, want to go into the creative industries.
It’s win win.
Lots of them put down that it was the favourite thing they did all year in Art.
Liz Thorpe, Learning Officer, People’s History Museum
From a professional point of view this project was a brilliant way to build up relationships with local organisations, open up our collections and engage pupils with the museum. On a personal level, I found the project extremely rewarding to see the progression of the individuals.
Teacher, Falinge Park
The trip to the canal was compelling learning. One of the best trips I’ve ever done… it’s been a learning curve. I felt privileged to be a part of it; I’ve loved every minute of it.
The project is running again this year, 2017-2018.
Melanie taught for 14 years on the BA (Hons) Embroidery course at MMU; and for eight years ran the MA Textiles course at Manchester School of Art.
PHD SUPERVISION/RESEARCH DEGREE EXPERIENCE
Melanie has experience of supervision/examination of diverse subject areas including
· The impact of Manchester’s youth scene on fashion
· Crafting the technological; gansey and whole garment knitting
· Textile Semantics - content, cloth and context
· An investigation into traditional Indian clothing (the kediyun)
MA Textiles, Fashion, and Surface Design at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, 2009 - 2012
BA Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art and Design, 2011 - 2015
MRes Materials and Surface Design, the University of Manchester, 2012 - 2013.
BA Textiles Cardiff School of Art 2013 - 2017.
MA courses across the School of Art and Design, UCA, Farnham, 2015 -
Member of Open University validation panels for various craft and textile programmes.
Melanie is currently mentoring artists who work with textiles. She is available for small group tutoring or individual mentoring in the Manchester/NorthWest area.