Northumbria University

Designamite Podcast

Posted on 2024-05-03 - 09:32 authored by Helen Simmons

Designamite is a podcast exploring and sharing insights from a range of exciting and ground-breaking activities happening at the design school at Northumbria university. Guests from various disciplines are invited to discuss their research, practice, projects or teaching with the aim of highlighting some of the ways in which creative practice and scholarship can and is transforming the world.

Led by Early Career Researchers and Senior Research Assistants Helen Simmons and Dr Nkumbu Mutambo, the Designamite podcast was launched in 2022 as a way of helping to highlight the people and projects driving creativity and innovation across all activities within the School of Design. The aim is to discuss people's areas of expertise, collaborations and upcoming events to showcase some of the exciting ways staff and students are helping to influence change for the better through their design work.

Early episodes focused on the priorities of the Creative Fuse North East team, a partnership involving all five of the North East's universities and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to support growth and innovation in the creative, cultural, IT and digital sectors in the region. Later Helen and Nkumbu took their roving mic to University events to record Designamite episodes, including the Design Council's Design for Planet Festival, held in partnership with Northumbria in November last year.

The audience is growing all the time and includes listeners from across the UK, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Peru, Brazil, Malaysia and Canada," said Helen. "There's a great community forming from our initial idea of starting Designamite as an alternative way of sharing information. We felt it was important to recognise all the ways research can be captured and shared. Designamite is one way to extend sharing in a less formal and more social space accessible to a much greater audience."

Now, thanks to some internal Knowledge Exchange and Research Impact Pump Priming funding awarded by the University, Designamite has become the focus of a six-month research study to investigate whether the podcast is benefitting the research environment within the School of Design.

"We feel that the podcast is something authentic which belongs to the School of Design community so we haven't curated it too much at all," explained Nkumbu. "We want to try and document how it has been used during this time and find out whether colleagues feel it has had an impact on inspiring new ideas, raising awareness of each other's work and improving the collaborative research culture we already have."

Both Helen and Nkumbu had limited knowledge of podcasting before Designamite was launched and admit that planning and producing each episode has been a learning curve for them. An accompanying Instagram account @designamitenu provides supporting visuals for each episode and as they develop their skills further, Helen and Nkumbu hope to be able to introduce video to the recording process to help bring each episode to life.

Dr Heather Robson, Head of Northumbria School of Design, said: "I firmly believe in the power of design to make positive and significant impact on the world; the work and research of colleagues that takes place in the School is inspirational. Through the Designamite series Helen and Nkumbo are capturing that and offering a meaningful insight and real sense of our community."


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Knowledge Exchange and Research Impact Pump Priming


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