Design Innovation & Collaborative Creativity

Key Facts


Programme Overview

How to Apply

Further Information on applying to the Graduate School is available from


MDes in Design Innovation and Collaborative Creativity. All GSA degree programmes are validated by the University of Glasgow. Established in 1451, the University of Glasgow is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities and a founder member of Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education.


The assessment combines written work, visual and project material produced both by groups and individuals. The assessment formats are designed to develop analytical thinking, creative synthesis and a rigorous capacity for reflection and self-evaluation. There is an emphasis upon collaborative studio working combined with individual exploration and analysis of theoretical positions and discourses.

You will study at GSA’s Creative Campus in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Located just outside Forres, the Creative Campus is a research and postgraduate teaching centre for international excellence in creativity and innovation. The combination of modern studio environment and workshop with a traditional highland setting offers a unique educational experience. We deliver Masters and PhD programmes, and the campus location enables us to research in geographically diverse and distributed contexts as well, as develop innovative forms of teaching with our academic partners around the world.

Programme Director
Dr Gordon Hush

Programme Leader
Dr Emma Murphy

Studio Leader

Studio Tutor

Programme Overview

This programme is taught at the Creative Campus, the GSA's campus in Forres in the Highlands of Scotland. More information on the Creative Campus is available here

Contemporary social and economic culture is hallmarked by its complexity, whether that is social, technological, cultural or economic. Consequently, 'if we are to characterise human creativity we need to study and understand the socioemotional, interpersonal and cultural dynamics which support and sustain such activity. […] to understand the use of cultural tools and technologies and examine the ways in which interpersonal and institutional contexts for creativity are enabled and resourced.' [Miell, D. & Littleton, K, (2004: 1)]

Collaborative creativity requires an emotional and intellectual commitment to ways of working, just as much as it requires a practical and logistical commitment. The processes of collaborative creativity are as transformative of those involved as they are of the issues explored or problems tackled. As a result, the greatest challenge of working and creating in a collaborative fashion is to ensure the balance between the efforts and meaningful engagement of the individual correspond to, align with and contribute to the aspirations of the group or organisation.

Whether we are members of a trade union, a “networked organisation,” public sector service provider or commercial enterprise, community group, artistic retreat or the citizenry in general, our social and socialised activities have social, cultural, economic and ecological consequences.  This programmes seeks to explore how the practices of collaborative creativity can be explored, employed and enhanced through meaningful engagement with others and the diverse lives that they lead.

In this sense the designer’s individual voice must lend itself to conversation and co-operation. Only in this fashion can innovation truly occur, through the construction of dialogues, situations and projects that emerge through collaborative endeavour and the exploration of shared ambitions.

This emphasis upon collaborative working and real world engagement is explored through projects exploring the impact of the Internet of Things, “big data” and emerging technologies on subjects as diverse as high-rise living, improving the experience of homeless people, encouraging political discourse. Many projects are “live” with organisations as diverse as Toshiba, the Scottish Government, Tesco bank and Alzheimer’s Scotland offering graduates a professional portfolio of work upon graduation.

International links are also important and the January Winter School held in the Scottish Highlands is a collaboration with students and faculty from Schools such as The Royal Academy of Design (Copenhagen) and KISD (Køln), while participants from Japan and the USA may also feature. Sharing knowledge, methods and approaches to design issues shaped more by culture and context than by formal considerations allows students to explore complex issues and the experiences of the diverse users and stakeholders of contemporary design – whether these are artefacts, services or interactions.