Last Friday morning I had my MFA 45 hour review. This is essentially a short presentation showing what I’ve completed in school thus far and my thesis direction. Ten minutes is not a whole lot of time to do both, and I was instructed beforehand to spend approximately 2/3 of the time on what I’ve completed in school and 1/3 on my thesis topic. Again, not a lot of time to clearly explain my topic to a group of professors that have A. never heard about my topic and B. never even taught me in class… some have never even met me before. These are all things I knew before hand.
I also knew before hand I would have to deal with the mentality that an MFA in Industrial Design is strictly mass-produced artefact based. The problem here is there are numerous definitions of artefact just as there are numerous definitions of Industrial Design. I believe a thesis is about more than redesigning and mass producing an object that already exists or designing a new object to solve some highly narrow problem.
This does not mean I was unaware of the possible conflict. I was very aware and a little worried. However, during the last few weeks a portion of my thesis developed into an actual 3d artefact. I thought “Great, this should solve that conflict and everyone will be supportive.” Wrong. I’m not sure if it was entirely my fault that the project wasn’t clearly understood or if there was just a specific portion they got hung up on and couldn’t move past. I’ve been reflecting and defining all the questions I will need to answer and present for this group in the future. I did pass my review, but have to re-present my thesis next quarter. I will need to explain why I’m not creating a mass-produced product and the financial feasibility of this proposed project.
In reality this is a highly beneficial process to go through. These are problems I will face continuously and I need to learn how to clearly explain my ideas without getting defensive. I also need to focus more on the audience being presented to. What are they most interested in and how can I show them my project fits within their objectives?