Paul Gault is Co-design Manager at Young Scot, helping to empower young people by harnessing the design process to shape services, policy and decisions.
Paul was first inspired to pursue design by his lecturers at college. He says, “I’m a proud graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design where I studied BSc Interactive Media Design. This was a fantastic brand-new course and sought a blurring of disciplinary boundaries. I remember attending early-morning programming lectures in the Department of Applied Computing followed by life drawing classes in the Design School!” He then went on to do a PhD in Design Ethnography before joining Young Scot, the national youth information and citizenship charity in Scotland.
The Co-design team at Young Scot work on a wide range of projects with partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Government, the SQA and Scottish Natural Heritage. For the team, it is vital that young people are involved in the design process for the services they use and the policies which affect them.
Paul explains, “As experts of their own experience, young people are placed at the heart of these projects through the co-production activity led by the team. The best ideas frequently come directly from young people working within the right conditions to enable their creativity to flourish.
One of our main jobs is to set these conditions for collaboration during any co-design workshop session so that ideas flow freely and those young people can develop their sense of agency in order to help affect meaningful change.”
The development of the young volunteers who participate in the projects is a great marker of a successful project. Paul says, “Sometimes we can work with them over a couple of years and during this time, really see their confidence and abilities develop through their participation in co-design activity which offers a lot of satisfaction for everyone involved.”
The co-design team worked on ‘Excite.Ed’ in 2017, a project which gathered perspectives of children and young people that were fed into the Scottish Government’s Education Governance Review. Paul says, “The project has made significant impact by putting school pupils’ views and opinions central to decision-making in education policy.”
An exciting project the team is currently working on is an ERASMUS youth mobility exchange called ‘Transposition 2018’. It brings together eight young people from Scotland with eight from Denmark to share their experiences of influencing youth arts policy. Paul says, “The Danes hosted us in April and we are currently in the process of co-designing the programme for their return visit in October. Our work on this project has helped to create a shared understanding of both cultures and I anticipate this will have an incredibly positive impact which all those involved will draw upon for years to come.”
Paul adds, “Design is important to me as it provides a mechanism for collaboration between young people and organisations – without which we would limited in what we can achieve together. My interactions with people in the design process are what keeps my approach fresh and enables me to continue to grow and learn.”
We are delighted to welcome Paul Gault as a V&A Dundee Design Champion, recognising his commitment to putting young people at the heart of the design process to shape their future.
To find out more, visit www.youngscot.net
The V&A Dundee Design Champions are inspirational designers creating high-quality work and helping to enhance people’s lives, or champions of the power of design to improve the world.
We will announce 50 Design Champions in the run-up to the museum opening on Saturday 15 September 2018.
V&A Dundee’s Design Champions project is working with Dezeen as its media partner.
Dezeen is the world’s most popular and influential architecture and design magazine, with an audience of 2.5 million unique visitors each month.