Design students bring Mad Hatters to life!

Tuesday 3 March 2009

First year Design students at University College Falmouth had a very important date to keep earlier this week, as they created a Mad HATters Tea Party in the style of a well-known designer.

This venture is one of a number of projects that have been developed by the Learning and Teaching of Histories and Theories (HAT), hence the Mad HATters tea party, at University College Falmouth.

More Mad Hatters!180 first year students from BA(Hons) Contemporary Crafts, BA(Hons) Fashion Design, BA(Hons) Garden Design, BA(Hons) Interior Design, BA(Hons) Performance Sportswear Design, BA(Hons) Spatial Design, BA(Hons) Textile Design and BA(Hons) 3D Design have been working together for the first fifteen weeks of their courses to learn about influential designers.

The aim of the project is for students to develop their team working, presentation, collaboration and research skills and to demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of a designer's philosophy through a creative interpretation of their work into a tea party.

The students were split into fourteen groups, each group incorporating a different area of design study, who randomly selected a designer's name from a hat. They then had to design and present a tea party in the style of their chosen designer, and were encouraged to include a range of food, table objects, props and anything else they felt conveyed the spirit of their designer. The students entered into the spirit of the project with enthusiasm, especially the group who chose John Galliano as their designer, creating a tea party set on a low table, Japanese style, with a student sitting at each end with costumes that connected to make the tablecloth.

"The project helps to bring alive the history of design and is both rewarding and fun for everyone involved," commented Principal Lecturer in Design, Simon Thompson. "The development of each group's design allowed the students to enjoy a wide variety of research and creativity and appreciation of the skills that each of them bring from cross-course collaboration" he added. "It is the first taste they have of how designers often have to work with others and as part of teams in the creative industries and gives us a solid base on which to start next year."

The winners were voted for by the student groups themselves who judged each other, taking into account design, interpretation, depth of research and general engagement with the group activity. An exhibition of the Tea Party followed the judging, which has since been eaten!!

IWinners: Group 8 inspired by designer, Tricia Gouldn first place was Group Eight with designer, Tricia Guild as their inspiration; second place went to Group Two who chose the elite designer, John Galliano and third place was Group One with their tea party in the style of Roberto Burle Marx. Other tea parties were inspired by Thomas Heatherwick, Santiago Calatrava, Marc Newson, Hella Jongerius, Tejo Remy, Frank Gehry, Vladimir Sitta, Dale Chihuly, Freddie Robbins, Susie Freeman, Grayson Perry and Vivienne Westwood.

Design at Falmouth has an enviable reputation for producing the industry stars of the future and combines live project briefs; opportunities for work to be showcased nationally and internationally; exceptional facilities and high-level professional expertise to ensure that graduates hit the ground running in the fast-paced design industry. Design at Falmouth also attracts world-class speakers, such as Ed Barber, Jay Osgerby and Tomoko Azumi.

For further information about BA(Hons) Design Courses at University College Falmouth, visit, email or telephone Admissions on 01326 213730.

University College Falmouth is the only independent Higher Education institution in Cornwall with the powers to award degrees in its own name. It has two campuses in Cornwall - at Woodlane in Falmouth and Tremough in Penryn (which it owns, and jointly manages with the University of Exeter) - and a third campus at Totnes in Devon, following its merger with Dartington College of Arts in 2008.

This merger created a new institution focusing on the expansion of Falmouth's expertise in Art, Design and Media and Dartington's expertise in Choreography, Music, Theatre, Art and Writing. The Devon-based courses will relocate to a new, high-specification Performance Centre at Tremough in 2010, paving the way for a new specialist Arts University in Cornwall by 2012, that will be unique to the South West.

The College is a founding partner in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC), a unique initiative to promote regional economic regeneration through Higher Education, funded mainly by the European Union, the South West Regional Development Agency, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, with support from Cornwall County Council.


For further information about University College Falmouth, please contact Jilly Easterby MCIPR, Head of Public Affairs, Telephone: 01326 213792; or email: