Inside the Collection

Shape 2017: Student Design

Exhibition view of SHAPE 2017
A section of Shape 2017, a showcase of HSC design works.

Shape 2017 is a showcase of year 12 student work from the syllabus areas concerned with design and technology – Design and Technology / Textiles and Design / Industrial Technology. This year MAAS has 38 fine examples on show from around New South Wales.

Although the biggest audience for Shape is the fresh bunch of year 12 students attempting the same subjects, the exhibition should appeal to our wider audiences who will appreciate the efforts of our next generation of designers. What astounds me every year is the quality of work coming from students – such as Willow Driver’s work which demonstrates a knowledge and familiarity with his chosen medium and its aesthetics.

I had the opportunity to interview six students this year for the creation of case studies. There responses are informed, eloquent, enthusiastic and encouraging for the next generation of students. The case studies were selected across the curricula and reflect some of the best work in the exhibition.

Many students embark on an ambitious project beyond their existing skill set and they overcome this by learning new processes, through trial and error and by identifying existing talent, who help guide the student through elements of a complex design to its realisation.

One of the purposes of the case studies is to delve into the motivation – for the project and for the persistence in undertaking it. One of the works on display may appear simple on the surface yet it is anchored in an understanding of major empowering cultural shifts which influence and marry its concept to its form, such as Megan Johnstone’s 1920s inspired dress.

The students included in Shape 2017 exhibit a thorough understanding of the design process, materials and their application, human centred design and an appreciation of contemporary environmental and community concerns and have applied themselves to these needs.

The winner of the MAAS award for innovation this year, Matilda Trebilock, demonstrated an outstanding comprehension and application of this when setting herself this challenge – how do you get a nesting box 7 meters up a tree while standing on the ground?

Full videos and transcripts for the student interviews featured in this post are available here. Shape is on at the Powerhouse Museum until 6 May, 2018.

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