Please note that this course was previously known as Design for Development MA.
This course is a great start to your future career – check out what our graduates have gone on to do.
Saskia Baard is now an Associate at Social Life and trainee service designer at Innovation Unit.
"As a project developer at Social Life, I work on a variety of projects focusing on the connection between people and places. This role allows me to explore my interests such as social sustainability, public spaces, urban design, and community development. My day-to-day tasks can be very diverse, including project coordination, field research, data analysis, and the design of materials.
Prior to the Sustainable Design MA at Kingston University, I studied Visual Communication Design at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. I worked as a designer and project manager on projects in South Africa, the Netherlands, Morocco, and the UK. These roles always had a social or environmental focus, and they also introduced me to co-design and community development. The Sustainable Design MA course was the perfect next step to bring it all together, to make sense of my practical experiences in a formal, academic setting.
For me, the course was an ideal combination of practical research methods and theory, of innovation and design, all with a continuous focus on sustainability. Being on the course broadened my horizons, and gave me the confidence and a setting from which to explore topics I wouldn't have otherwise considered. For my masters major project, I investigated streets as public spaces in a suburban setting (specifically, Surbiton), and how participatory design could contribute to the creation of such places. Ultimately, the course led me to my current role, which I wouldn't have considered, or have had the right skillset for, before doing the course."
David Singer is now a senior service designer at Innovation Unit.
Graduating from the course was the key enabler for David to cement his move into public sector service design and innovation.
"For many years I'd sought a way to influence the system of health care and support that I'd found so frustrating to work in as a front-line social worker. In June 2011 I stumbled across my now employer, Innovation Unit, and from that moment on I knew I'd found the right career to focus my energies and hopes for a more vibrant system of public services and health and care infrastructures.
The course was a perfect fit to accelerate me, a once designer then public sector transformation lead, into an innovation space with a strong design-led set of methodologies to strive to activate sustainable public sector system transformation.
I'm now working across a wide array of different public sector transformation projects. I'm designing a new model of support for young people and families living with learning disabilities, designing a peer research programme for a mental wellbeing mentorship project, redesigning a hospital service system and designing a multimedia impact measurement programme to reveal the outcomes of a health system founded on the principles of co-production. It's a pretty perfect way to spend my working day."
Alex Clarke is now a designer with service design agency Snook.
"When graduating from MA Design for Development in 2013, it was actually our external examiner who recommended that I look at applying for an internship with Snook, an award-winning service design agency based in Glasgow.
The course had introduced me to so many ideas and opportunities, and I wasn't really sure what direction I wanted to go, but I knew I was very interested in service design, especially regarding the public sector, and Snook seemed like a great place to start! As an intern, I worked closely with a local community to re-define the planning process, built and shipped over one hundred post boxes for Macmillan Cancer Care and produced print and digital materials for the Nightrider launch event.
Now working as a full-time designer at Snook, I am supporting the team to deliver Know How – putting design and digital thinking at the heart of cultural organisations for the East Midlands arts sector. We also recently delivered a workshop with Dorset, Devon and Cornwall police, using a variety of design tools to assist the redefining of roles related to their merger.
With my background in graphic design, I am also leading the brand identity and digital strategy for RITA – a project harnessing emerging technologies from the entertainment industry to innovate future models of personalised care. There is never a dull moment, or a dull project with Snook – I love it!"
Find out more about Alex from the Snook website.
Louise Wilson is now an account director at Futerra, the Sustainability Communications Agency.
"I have a first-class undergraduate degree in industrial design, from which I went on to work at an international brand design agency. Looking to work in a field with more social relevance, this course allowed me to develop a real passion for using design thinking, design craft and organisation skills to deliver sustainable solutions, where possible for social good.
After I graduated from the course, I started working as a social innovator and design researcher, using my design skills in non-traditional ways to help solve problems. I worked with a number of social enterprises, local initiatives and start-ups, including: The People's Kitchen – 'Food for the people by the people'; Grouple – 'Collaborative caring'; Economy – 'making the most of using less'; My Fail Tale – 'making failure positive'.
I love working with people and companies who want to make change. As an account director at Futerra my job is to make sure that all our clients' needs are met strategically and creatively while making sure our team deliver successfully. My passion for sustainability and understanding of the realities of businesses enable me to help our clients reach ambitious yet attainable goals.
I also now teach on the course, providing input around design research methods and also final major project tutoring."
Find out more about Louise Wilson at the Futerra website.
Jonathan Pye-Finch is now a service designer at global design agency Fjord.
"This course enabled me to understand my role as a designer, refocusing me and providing me with the necessary tools to create effective and sustainable solutions. Exploring topics such as participatory-led design, social innovation and sustainable development, and working alongside and learning from lead design consultancies and forward-thinking individuals.
Many doors have been opened thanks to this course. I won the inaugural Mayor's Low Carbon Prize with a team of my course mates. I helped organise and facilitate the first London Circular Jam. I am now supporting the introduction of a new design agency focused on the role of digital in creating engaging and innovative public services.
By day I work for the service design agency Fjord as a user experience designer, working with clients across industries to put the user at the heart as we develop new – and reimagine old – services."
Adam Cohen has set-up a business called Nice to Meet You which provides graphic design services to charities, not-for-profits and social organisations.
"I joined this course because I wanted to explore new ways of using my design skills. I'd been a graphic designer for 10 years and had had enough of working in a field that seemed all about making money for corporations.
My final major project on the course looked at how I could create a 'sustainable' graphic design business. It connected sustainability principles (Forum for the Future's 'Five Capitals' model) with the practical side of running a design business – how I would market what I do, and who I would work for.
Since graduating, I've set-up a business. It's called Nice to Meet You and provides graphic design services to charities, not-for-profits and social organisations. I've worked with Oxfam, Amnesty International, Save the Children and Mind and many other organisations besides. There are so many places that need designers to produce good design and but also to have the same values as themselves. It's really important to them and I'm happy to support them and do work I believe in."
The course also prepares its graduates for doctoral study