GIDE, the Group for International Design Education is an international network of higher education art and design institutions who have, since 2003 collaborated annually in order to enrich the creative and inter cultural design experiences of students’. This is achieved through direct contact with local industry, research groups and with creative & cultural organisations linked to a GIDE host institutions location and contexts.
GIDE currently consists of eight higher education partner institutions from Scotland, China, Slovenia, England, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland and has recently worked with guests schools from USA and Canada- and in the past worked with schools from France and the Netherlands. GIDE brings student’s and educators together in an European city to explore ethical design thinking through collaborative workshops in one of the GIDE partner schools.
Operating typically on a February to February cycle, up 200+ participants [including regional guests, industry, academics, students’, researchers and local cultural and community groups] in an intensive ‘deep-dive’ international workshop week with a student led symposium as a creative trigger to action; an exhibition showing the best design outcomes from all eight nations from a previous ‘completed’ shared project, and a closing event in semester one.
The international workshop week helps set the creative and intellectual foundations for a new shared project delivered within each GIDE partner’s own academic curricula in following emester / academic year. Each year independent institutions’ select the best six student outcomes reflecting the best outcomes in response to the GIDE shared project brief to represent their nation / institution in a a large exhibition event. In the GIDE exhibition experience, a total of 48 student submissions are displayed in the host city as an important public / educational opportunity to engage the city. Following the public showing of the exhibition, exerts from these are published alongside invited keynote speakers papers, academic & research critical analysis of the emergent issues and themes featured by each school’s winning students, and more descriptive/didactic texts featuring the selected students’ work.
The foundations for ‘GIDE’ has its ideological origins in an earlier ERASMUS collaboration which started in 1993 onwards. Key individuals here were Nansi Van Geetsom [Mechelen, Belgium] and Graham Savage [Leeds, England] who developed new forms of ERASMUS experiences that attempted to be more democratic, inclusive and dynamic. Initially this centred around a design workshop programme originally between Belgian, English, French, Spanish and Italian design schools over a prolonged period of collaboration. Graham was a graduate of the RCA, London and came to Leeds in the early seventies to take on the role of Course Leader for Product Design, and later Interior Design at Leeds College of Art. GIDE was established in 2003 to deliver more inclusive intercultural experiences open to a wider range of participants- in essence bringing an ERASMUS experience directly to an institution to build students’ design thinking, skills and competencies, enhance intercultural awareness and better prepare graduates for the future professional networks they will need to operate within. In 2003, the GIDE network celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Ljubljana event in 2013.
Though emerging from Interior Design / Interior Architectural initially, GIDE is becoming, increasingly interdisciplinary in character and outlook. The main disciplines currently involved are interior design, interior architecture, industrial & interaction design, art and design (interdisciplinary) practice, visual communication and service design spatial practices. Increasingly art and design undergraduates are gaining collaborative experiences with established student organisations, PhD students, funded researchers, live clients and Masters students’ [Wuxi, China]. At a time when the old disciplinary boundaries are increasingly blurring and new hybrid practices are emerging, such interdisciplinary experience is essential if we are to produce graduates capable of operating flexibly across the global market. GIDE’S main objectives are to promote the exchange of design ideas, develop best practice [for HEI’s, for academics and for students’].
GIDE aims to provide students’ with critical and transformative inter cultural learning experiences with peers and professionals from the European Union and beyond. In an increasingly global market place internationalisation needs to impact upon all institutions, students’, researchers and staff rather than remain the preserve of the few.
Advantages for institutions include opportunities for ERASMUS exchanges [staff & students], informal academic benchmarking, research collaboration, peer support and embracing international collaboration as a dynamic and consistent component of ones curriculum.
The main methods used to positively influence a school population are innovative trans-national design projects linking societal need, ethical concerns and driven by design thinking. The GIDE experience provides a foundation in which students’ can build future professional networks and, generally, this is further tested in smaller workshops in Oct / Nov as a taught element of a GIDE International Co-ordinators meeting- normally in one of the partner schools in which colleague attending the meeting also offer to deliver a small design workshop. During the international workshop week participants share creative experiences, cultures, design capabilities, skills, methods and approaches in attempting to resolve and / or frame a social / ethical issue linked to a host city through design thinking.
The workshop week-in particular, allows very large interdisciplinary student teams to learn to deal with the dynamics of team-projects, explore new ways of generating ideas, negotiate roles and discover collective ways of communicating design solutions to clients and practitioners using informal techniques and low-fidelity materials. Exploring new ways of thinking beyond ones everyday processes and practice is supported by small international group of educators offering tutorial guidance to help teams develop new scenarios for contemporary living, working and enterprise.