“I Am A Magazine”

Middlesex tutor Alison Tanner helps students get started

In January 2017 students from across Middlesex University’s Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries came together to work on an innovative learning project in the Grove Atrium, entitled I Am A Magazine.

Students from a range of subject areas including Fine Art, Graphic Design, Fashion Communication & Styling, Photography, Theatre Arts (and more) came together for this inter-disciplinary project.

The brief was to critically examine magazines in Middlesex University’s magazine collections (drawn from MoDA and the Special Collections in the Sheppard Library). The magazines were a springboard to create new work: students were asked to respond to their content, iconography, discourse and materiality and to the wider context of magazines as communicative tools, as creators of communities and culture.

A ‘Design Sprint’

We were not expecting students to produce a magazine; we wanted them to generate an outcome of their choice through discussion with their peers, by following a ‘design sprint’ model, which was outlined in the brief. The work that the groups generated was exhibited in Middlesex University’s Grove Atrium, with a private view on the Friday of the project week. The exhibition continued for another week afterwards.

Magazines from both MoDA and the Middlesex University Library have frequently used in learning and teaching by students, but this is the first time they were brought together in one large scale project, involving nearly a hundred students.  I Am A Magazine aimed to provide the space and opportunity for disciplines to collide, mix and interweave. 

What students produced during the project was up to them: outcomes included a stop-frame animation, a period room-set and several photographic pieces.  But this was a project in which the process was as important as the product: students were learning skills of team work and negotiation, of working with students, equipment and techniques outside of their usual subject areas.

The project was a truly collaborative one for staff as well as students, involving colleagues from MoDA, Library and Student Support and the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries.

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