Haider Ali Akmal
Degree: MA Design Management
Why did you choose your course at Lancaster?
I’ve been a freelance designer (web, print and motion) since 2006 and have been running my own low-key design firm since 2012. Having studied traditional art and design I realised that translating a lot of that information into real world application, particularly with clients, rarely went smoothly. Management isn’t something taught in Art school and that’s why Design Management made sense.
What was the best part of your course?
Coming from a very rigorous art background for me the Imagination Lab was by the far the most enjoyable of experiences; the hands-on approach to design took me back to my printmaking and sculpture studio days.
How did your degree help with the work you do now/what are you hoping to do when you finish university
The systematic approach to ‘unlocking potential’ that design management teaches has given me an opportunity to imagine possible futures. My thesis is now focused on design fiction and imagining innovations in fictional scenarios before they can be created it allows for an approach that is very much like dreaming on paper. I’m hoping to be able to utilise this now acquired ‘dream engine’ of sorts that works through the design process to create new futures in technology. Currently working on a project to measure ‘empathy’ through digital devices I’m hoping to take this into a future where humans and machines coexist on a much more intimate level.
What is ‘Lancaster Life’ like?
Resonant! Lancaster’s charm is in many things, it’s deep serenity in the landscape, it’s forever changing faces in the weather, and the University adds to that mix through its diverse cultures merged in one place. Besides calm and quiet I’ve found Lancaster to be a place of ‘vibrant contemplation’.
Any advice for the next generation of LICA students?
Don’t bother with an umbrella and get the most out of that studio space!
I also have a number of online journals/blogs which I’ve used to showcase some of my work and my experience here at Lancaster. Feel free to go through them!
http://haideraliakmal.tumblr.com (rants, writings and oddities)
http://findinglancaster.tumblr.com (imagination lab project)
http://loomingtomorrows.tumblr.com (thesis journal/collective)
https://medium.com/@haideraliakmal (rants and writings)