Here, Sustainable Design MA student Suzanne Smulders tells us why she chose the course, what she’s working on, what inspires her and how the teaching staff have guided her practice.
What made you choose Sustainable Design MA at Brighton?
“My path towards choosing for the MA Sustainable Design wasn’t a straightforward one. I took two gap years after my Bachelor’s in Psychology to try and find out what I wanted differently and what I wanted to stay the same in my future education. I realised that I did want to continue learning about human behavior and working on academic aspects like reading theory and thinking and writing critically, but I also wanted to work and learn together with a diverse group of people that were all dedicated to making our world a better place. I looked through hundreds of Masters’ degrees in Europe, narrowed it down to a hundred, then fifty, then ten, five and lastly, three.
“For these last three, I contacted the course directors and this is how I got in touch with Tom (the course leader). The way he took genuine interest in me and my background and the way he really took the time to respond to all my questions, convinced me that this was the Masters’ course for me. I found a place where a wide variety of people from all walks of life come together to gain better understanding about Sustainable Design, the world and themselves and I found a course leader and teachers who were able to create the perfect circumstances for students to get the best out of themselves in their learning process.”
What are the most enjoyable and inspirational parts of the MA?
“For me, the most inspirational part of the MA is the group of students you’re surrounded with. There are people from all different ages, different educational backgrounds, different countries, and this mixture of different perspectives leads to very insightful (and often amusing) discussions. It gives me a very happy and hopeful feeling that, even though we are very different from each other, we all want to learn more about how we can improve both ourselves and (at least parts of) the world.”
What kind of work are you producing on the MA?
“The structure of the course is quite fluid and the course leaders are open to creative interpretation of the assignments, so the outcomes of the modules really depend on the students that are doing the MA that year. If you are very curious about a specific subject or method, you’re definitely encouraged to go and explore that. You could for instance write critical essays, but you could also create a piece of clothing, an improved sustainable material, a website, an experience, etcetera. The teachers will be there along the way to give feedback and guide you on your path towards finding out who you, as a Sustainable Designer, could be and where you would fit in within the academic or professional world after graduation.”
How are you finding the teaching on the MA?
“The teaching is very thought-provoking and surprisingly open to critique and change. The course really is a reflection of the interests of the students that are doing it that year. The teachers do not act like they know it all – they are just as curious and open to finding out more about Sustainable Design as the students are”
If you moved to Brighton for the MA, how have you found the city?
“I moved to Brighton from the Netherlands, so culturally there was not a very big change. I really like that almost everything in Brighton is within walking distance, and that wherever you go, you’ll always hear the seagulls reminding you of the beautiful coast Brighton lies on. The city center is cozy and has loads of good places to have a drink and catch up with friends. Whether you like partying, going to little markets or hanging out on the beach or in a park; Brighton really has it all!”