Student stories: Menghan: “Please stay curious about things, do it!”

Our MACE student Menghan shares her reflections on her experiences and learning this year.


I am very lucky to havean incredible journey in the year of MACE, from the confused state at the beginning of the module to the understanding state at the end, and I feel an unprecedented sense of achievement after reviewing the learning results of this module for a whole year.This blog is for my future self. First of all, when my future self wantsto look back on this particular experience, just come back. I think this blog post, of course, is not limited to this blog post, but all of them are a true record of my experiences and feelings during this year, whether or not I understood them correctly at that time. The second point I want to make is that it is a good habit to record and review. I hope my future self still recording life and work experiences. If my future self looksback at these blogs…

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What is the purpose of your blogs?

Your blog is an online journal that you write to help your “future self” remember your “aha!” moments throughout the module. You should reflect on learning experiences as they occur in class and in your team; and formulate “lessons learned” that you will be using in the future.

Every blog post needs to meet the following requirements:

  1. Describe something interesting that you have learnt in class or in your business.
  2. Explain how this learning can help you achieve a future goal and/or build your future career.
  3. Include a link to articles, books, talks, images or videos that help you expand this learning.

Let’s take the shoe day last Friday as an example. The shoe day has an important theoretical background and I would be surprised to see no aspect of that session discussed on your blogs.

If you break the shoe class down for the purposes of reflection:

  • we started with the theory of design thinking
  • we discussed how this theory applies to our approach to tasks
  • we reflected on how we have been taught and trained to approach “investigation” (you surveyed me about my shoes, remember?)
  • we discussed extreme users and their value (you then interviewed me about me about my “special shoes”, remember?)
  • you went out to talk with people about their shoes (what happened there and how did it go?)
  • you came back with stories you had to reframe into points of view
  • you had to work as a team to develop a working point of view
  • you had to build a prototype as a team
  • you had to present as a team


Then, as a further example: the process of prototyping is an important one for reflection. You deliberately got very little time to build your prototypes on the shoe day. What happened on the shoe day as a result? Did it help to work with your hands in the development of your ideas? Did this change your idea? Did your (quick and cheap) prototype make it easier for you to communicate your ideas and thinking? Did it help the team – to discuss, to make a decision, etc.? Etc.

Now imagine a scenario where you have more time to prototype – how might that change the process and the end result? Is time (always) a useful resource in prototyping? Perhaps more time means more time to think (and delay making a decision…), but is it necessarily useful for creativity? Plenty there to explore and think about.

I am not truly concerned with the shoe you developed in the shoe class. What I am concerned with is your ability to connect the theory with the practice and develop your thinking and own practice as a result.

It could be shoes (session 2), gift giving (Welcome Week task), community (Welcome Week hackathon), or the challenge you will be working on this week. You can do this with any topic from class. We can’t prescribe you what to think, and so a topic like “the shoe day” is incredibly broad because each student will be thinking differently, and discussing a different aspect of theory/process/teamwork, etc… (or at least so I hope).

Since all of your blogs are deliberately grouped together under #mace19, you can use your classmates’ blogs to learn from them and to develop your own thinking. Perhaps you agree with a discussion on another blog and will build on that thinking. Perhaps you completely disagree with a point of view and want to discuss your own thinking. Perhaps someone’s thinking prompted you to think about a parallel topic. Etc.

For MACE students specifically, we are also using these blogs for your other modules. In other words, you are using your blogs to connect your thinking from different modules together. I don’t want to advertise this as a separate task because it is not a separate task, and it is not a task – your thinking from different modules will merge as you develop.

Frieze Art Fair visit is one of the topics that we typically see on all MACE blogs as your thinking work in progress leading up to your mini-essays, and then debates and essays. If an essay is good and interesting, I encourage students to then post it on their blogs. The same will apply to debates.

Why? – because it adds value to show your capability to think critically and to write an interesting discussion. However, this is why I also try to push you to find topics relevant to you specifically and important for your future self – and which is why you can come up with your own topics for most of our MACE modules.

In short, you will not be penalised for not covering specific topics such as “the shoe day” – because that is not the point of the blog. But if I look at your blog and can’t really see that you reflected on your learning – this will affect the quality of your final blog post/essay.

Hope this long explanation helps!

Photos from the MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019

On Friday and Saturday during the Welcome Week you took part in our hackathon with the Surrey County Council. We wanted to show you – not tell you – what Design Thinking for Startups module was all about. The goal: to guide you through the process of working from identifying and framing a problem to an idea and a prototype in under 24 hours. Why: to help you realise it doesn’t take months to get an idea off the ground and a business started – just a clear objective and a dedicated space.

All photos from the two days are below. You can download them and reuse on your blogs with the photo credit:

MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019 – photos by Claudia Weaver

Many thanks, Claudia!