December seemed to bring a flurry of activity across Aberdeen and the launch of new creative design space Hatch was a definite highlight. Helmed by Design Graduates from Grays School of Art the space aims to become a hub for design students and emerging designers in the city with networking events, support and providing a platform to show new work. The initial launch event saw students from Grays showcase their poster project from 1st, 2nd and 3rd year. The second event took place a little later in December and showcased the potential such a space has!
'No Ball Games' was a collaborative design showcase again featuring the work of design students but also work from Lateral North. The space was divided up and jammed full of prints, posters and some rather interesting pieces made from the old 'No Ball Games' signs that every single green space in Aberdeen was plastered with, giving many a grump old git the right to shout at you for daring to get some exercise and kick a ball next to his house. You might detect some venom in my words but looking back the idea of stopping children from playing football on a green space is ridiculous, especially as I lived next to 3 huge patches of grass land. Anyway now the sign of my detractors has become the tool of my peers.
Along with the exhibition an evening of design talks was offered, similar to the talks previously held at Offset57. The talks came from Glasgow based Lateral North who's twitter bio reads "Investigating Scotland’s identity within an economically emerging northern region; exploring the relationship betweeen people/culture/place/industries". They also showed their impressive Prospect North map table which itself is a beautiful mix of design, information and art object. Glasgow based Warriors Studio also gave a talk along with Mark Kemp from Aberdeen's FortyTwo Studio. I wasn't able to attend the talks due another engagement but I'm sure there was a lot to be learned from each speaker. I've been an advocate of attending as many of these events as possible as even someone working in a completely different field can give you an insight into a project or methodology that could change your outlook or spur you onto something new! Its an incredibly important aspect which I think many student's fail to realise until they are out in the world where such events are harder to come by.
Anyway I have to say it was great to see such a diverse mix of work in the Hatch space and to see different people wandering around the show. I don't know if design in Aberdeen is similar to the art side where you have lots of bubbles that don't seem to cross over or talk to each other but if there is then Hatch could potentially be the pin to burst em and help bring design to the fore front in the Granite City. Glasgow is obviously such a bigger city and is better equipped to provide opportunities to new designers and Dundee always feels buzzing whenever I visit with DJCAD producing some top notch design work so our students definitely have their work cut out if they wanna compete but as with all areas Aberdeen is definitely capable of producing great work and new studios like Form Digital and FortyTwo Studios are leading the charge. Hopefully now we can see more design work being showcased in the city centre and not just at the Art School!