Kingston and Shanghai Jiaotong University creative industries internship programme enters unchartered territory

Posted Wednesday 19 October 2016

Work experience programmes abroad are widely available but none offer the opportunity for designers to work in the burgeoning creative industries of Shanghai and London.  A new pioneer scheme from Kingston and SJTU tries to change this.

Three design students from Shanghai completed internships at BBH and PriestmanGoode design firms in London last month as part of a pilot internship programme that's set to double in scope in 2017.

As part of the Talking Through Internships (TTI) programme, three UK students from Kingston's School of Design undertook similar placements in Shanghai in June.

The programme addresses the need for more UK and Chinese design professionals armed with the cross-cultural skills critical to success in a globalised economy - one in which UK-China trade is at an all-time high.

Despite this relationship with the world's fastest growing economy, there's currently a low uptake of educational and career development opportunities in China from UK students. Kingston Graphic Design student Rachel Dawson interned at Crystal CG in Shanghai after her second year. "The places that young designers usually flock to are Berlin, Amsterdam and other European cities that have a rich design heritage. However China's emerging economy and status as a world player has changed things. TTI will fill this void and put it on the map as somewhere accessible for young designers. The programme has entered unchartered territory."

The programme's digital platform is being developed to share best practice in establishing similar UK-China programmes. Professor Catherine McDermott of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture says, "The UK creative industries will be working more and more with China, and this is an opportunity for Kingston students to get ahead of the game. Alongside the students who go to China a digital platform will provide unique information for other UK students to go on their own volition. The digital platform will also break down barriers for Chinese students seeking internships in the UK and give them the confidence and information to come and experience creative practice in London."

Kingston student Adam Morton-Delaney, who also interned at Crystal CG in June, said, "Time in China definitely made me revaluate my UK-centric position on professional design practice. TTI offers students a chance to be more aware of the global design industry."

The programme is now looking for London design firms to host Chinese interns in summer 2017. Contact Catherine McDermott for more information.

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