Gareth Owen Lloyd
Aug 28, 2019 · 4 min read

In April we hosted the making sessions of the innovative arts education program ModUAL run by Fred Deakin with Other Today and the Design Museum.

ModUAL brings students from a range of disciplines, across UAL’s different campuses together for an intense 2-week design sprint aided by industry moguls.

With the constraints of a traditional educational institution where each discipline has its own assessments, curriculum, teachers and budgets, many talk of multidisciplinary education but few actually put it into practice. ModUAL remedies this, a voluntary module for all at UAL whether BA or MA, studying game design or fine art.

This is such an important process to involve the students in for preparing for the industry. In all industries you will need to work with people from different backgrounds with different roles, learning what they are and how to put everyone’s expertise to best use will see you far.

ModUAL tasks these creative multidisciplinary teams with an extremely short deadline. They are given just two weeks to design, prototype, make and brand a product before pitching this to industry giants Sevra Davies and Tom Wilson, both from the Design Museum. No small task.

“What we need is a bridge into the industry. Being the maker of a wide range of creative projects over the past 25 years has led me to believe that the best work is created by multi-disciplinary teams working collaboratively to tight deadlines. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Whether it’s clients, colleagues or bosses, in the real world we are not the sole authors of our work but join with others to deliver what we’re unable to alone.”

- Fred Deakin

ModUAL draws on digital tools to make this happen, with Skype tutorials and slack to keep the conversation open between students and mentors anytime, anywhere, whether in the workshop, at the printers or on the bus. Enabling students to communicate and seamlessly merge on and offline collaboration, outside the classroom.

One of my favourite products was Pluna, a travelling pot which will always bring your plant closer to the sun. Others include plate mates, a jigsaw like modular lunchbox collection to encourage social eating and sharing food. Revive pushed our 3d printer to t’s limit 3d printing with thermoplastic filament (super cool and worth a go if you’re interested — Prusa printer still only £5 ph).

Some of the students were completely at home in machines room, coming from a hands-on practice or construction background, for others, it was their first time using machines and making something from scratch. Many students underestimated what was involved in taking these ideas to prototype in such a short time but through teamwork, all achieved amazing results!

Previous ModUAL collaborators include Kickstarter, UsTwo, Mother, Makerversity, Somerset House, British Council, Screen Skills, Glasgow SoA, Falmouth SoA and Manchester SoA.

If we want more students to take creative subjects such as design we need to do more to prepare them for industry and show them the value in it. Too often the question of making money is avoided in the arts, seen as distasteful as it must only be about creative expression. ModUAL shows the two can easily go hand in hand with industry style briefs and timelines that push them to the creative limits and connects them with experts in the field.

In July they’ve done this all over again in Shanghai, and got a collaboration with Kickstarter and Glasgow school of art in August. It can work all over the world, creating opportunities for the next generation of designers and artists.

Originally published at on August 28, 2019.

Machines Room

A fabcity project founded by Clear Village…

Gareth Owen Lloyd

Written by

Head of maker projects at Machines Room FabLab

Machines Room

A fabcity project founded by Clear Village now operated by

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