Sustainable Product Design student interns with Kinneir Dufort
05 January 2023
Liling Warwick, a third year Sustainable Product Design BA(Hons) student, is currently interning with user-centred design and product development consultancy Kinneir Dufort. The internship is part of the company’s Ethnic Diversity Excellence Programme.
Kinneir Dufort’s Ethnic Diversity Excellence Programme started last year to challenge the lack of diversity within the UK design industry. The programme provides three final year university students from Ethnic Minority & Heritage Backgrounds with an eight-week industry placement at the company.
Kinneir Dufort says that the programme is “designed to equip interns with the knowledge and skills focused around their final year project and help support their future entry into the design industry”. As well as offering mentoring and further development opportunities from industry partners, the successful candidates also receive £2000 sponsorship.
The internship experience so far
Liling found out about the internship programme from Sustainable Product Design BA(Hons) course leader Simon Andrews, and after some research she decided to apply. “I thought it was really interesting that a company was trying to promote diversity within design and worked with user centred design,” she said.
After submitting her application and being invited to an interview, Liling was offered the position along with two other university students. She has since been working with the Kinneir Dufort team on her final year project – gaining invaluable advice and feedback from industry experts.
The internship has been very eye-opening in terms of how a design agency works. It has been nice to see how each person brings different skills and views and how that creates better design.
“I am working closely with two mentors who are junior designers, and both have experience in product design. My mentors and I have weekly catch-up calls to generate ideas and help provide advice, connections and feedback.
“During the reading weeks and holidays, I have spent a week at a time experiencing what it is like to be in a design agency environment and collaborating with a diverse group of people. The working environment is collaborative and friendly, everyone in the office is always happy to help.”
Asked how the experience has been so far, and what she aims to get out of the placement, Liling said:
“The internship has been very eye-opening in terms of how a design agency works. It has been nice to see how each person brings different skills and views and how that creates better design. I was able to sit in on a brainstorming meeting between the team members and another client and it was interesting how the team came up with a breadth of ideas and planned how to pitch them to the client.
“Some new skills I hope to gain from my time with Kinneir Dufort are working in a more collaborative environment and how to communicate and share ideas through sketching, presenting or graphics. I also hope to make valuable industry connections to help develop my networking for future design work.”
The course has encouraged us to seek industry experience by setting up calls with people in the design industry with expertise on portfolio work or design agency experience.
Supported to connect with industry
From live industry briefs to support and encouragement to engage with industry placements, competitions and opportunities, professional practice experience is at the heart of Falmouth University’s graduate success. So, how does Liling feel her course has set her up for life after graduation?
“The best thing about studying sustainable product design at Falmouth is that we have access to many technicians and workshops. We gain a wide range of skills and have the opportunity to focus and develop ones that we are passionate about. The course peers and tutors are all supportive and there is a good studio atmosphere.
“The course has encouraged us to seek industry experience by setting up calls with people in the design industry with expertise on portfolio work or design agency experience. We were also introduced to Falmouth’s venture studio Launchpad, which offered us another set of skills to do with business and starting freelance work. During our modules, we are also encouraged to research design awards or live briefs to align our projects against.”
Now in her final year, Liling is looking ahead at what her future might hold. With an MA in graphic design or communications on the horizon and a newly found desire to work within the creative and collaborative atmosphere of a design agency, we can’t wait to see how her career unfolds.
Inspired by Liling's story?
The Sustainable Product Development BA(Hons) course at Falmouth University supports students to become conscientious product designers, equipped to make a real difference. Inspired by the natural environment around us, students learn to harness creativity to design innovative solutions to global sustainability challenges.