I visited several universities and the thing which really stood out, about Ravensbourne, was the workshop facilities and a hands on approach to design. It also had a really positive and exciting atmosphere.
Name: Ben Feldman
Course: BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design
Year of Graduation: 2006
Having graduated from Ravensbourne I found that I was able to take the postgraduate route into teaching, which suited me. I was able to get straight onto a Graduate Training Program and was a qualified teacher in one year.
This was a better route for me than a 4 year BEd. Having the specialist Product Design degree meant I had up to date subject knowledge, a wide range of practical skills and understood the wider context of contemporary design.
Whilst studying I was part of a team which came second in a competition to design a new coffee cup for Saab. I won the Audi Design Foundation Design of Substance competition, for designing a fuel and info structure that revolved around beekeeping and recycling to solve the problems associated with the use of paraffin stoves in the township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town.
This gave me the opportunity to spend 5 days in Khayelitsha and share my ideas with the community there. I also got the opportunity to work at the Thomas Heatherwick Studio for a few months.
At the time, for me, Ravensbourne had an equal emphasis on the practical craft and hand skills as well as a conceptual understanding of the context and reasons for all of your decisions that enable you to design really useful products. It really changed the way I thought on many different levels and I often still hear and apply the advice I gained from the tutors there, be it practical or conceptual. We were always aware of really high expectations in terms of quality of work and commitment. We also spent a lot of time preparing for a professional life and building your own individual branding.
I am currently the Head of a Design and Technology department at Dover Grammar School for Boys.
My advice to prospective students would be to work hard, have fun and don't be put off by failure or criticism. I spent days/weeks feeling like a project or idea was going nowhere, but I was always encouraged to push on and come out the other side.
An often repeated truth - these really were the best years, exciting people, exciting environment and the freedom, tools and support to explore and realise ideas.
The many benefits that I experienced studying at Ravensbourne include:
- Excellent facilities,workshops, IT and technicians.
- Inspiring tutors, who were also practicing designers.
- Incredible visiting tutors who were also top designers including Jay Osgerby, Ed Barber, Hector Sorano, Matthew Hilton and Tomoko Azumi.
- A challenging lecture program.
- Exciting real life briefs and competitions.
- Being challenged to push myself as far as I could.
- A great working environment and studio spaces.