This month's community spotlight features Mark Strachan, lecturer in Industrial Design, Product Design Engineering and Product Service Systems for the School of Design and Architecture at Swinburne University of Technology. Mark is starting the 2022 academic year teaching final year Design Engineering students, some of whom are also taking part in our TOM@University program.
Image description: Black and white photo of Mike smiling
You have been involved for several years in the TOM@University program with Bachelor of Engineering (Product Design) students. Why do you encourage your students to take part?
I first came across the excitement and palpable energy that is generated at the TOM Makeathons. I encourage any of our students to take part, as it is very inspiring to work with Need-Knowers and help create great solutions. While the intensity of the Makeathons are fantastic, our final year project affords the opportunity for the students to collaborate with Need-Knowers for almost an entire year. This is a very rewarding process as they undertake in-depth research, produce and test numerous prototypes, and develop a refined, highly resolved, outcome that is then available to the open source community for others to make for themselves.
What role does design play in making a positive impact on society?
It is essential that design makes a positive impact on society by improving the quality of life and helping change lives for the better. Designers also have the capacity to ensure that their design is undertaken in a responsible manner, one that is conscious of the environmental and social consequences that arise during the conception of a product, its production, its use and end-of-life phases.
What would you tell a student considering a career in design?
I would tell a student that design is a very rewarding vocation. One that enables you to channel your creativity and passion into a myriad of avenues and embrace a host of opportunities. Indeed, design can be applied to almost anything and it is possible to pursue an exciting career in design that evolves over time.