Brain Waves exhibition

Date: 17 September – 29 October 2016

Venue: Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London

Knowledge Quarter’s partner, Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London, presents Brain Waves: the exhibition showcases the work of Central Sain Martins’ leading design graduates, exploring a variety of design intelligences as they engage with uncertain futures.  Expertise is valued at Central Saint Martins, but these specialists work with openness because considered design requires creativity, collaboration and a diversity of approach.

Brain Waves maps out four territories: ‘Creative Forensics’, ‘Empathic Invention’, ‘Haptic Thinking’ and ‘Shifting Reality’. They are applied to process and object, and their wider potential and application are revealed through the work. Design is a key to making sense of the world.


These designers hunt down inspiration gathering facts and figures and use their imagination to convert data-rich information into innovative, unexpected proposals. Their thinking has connections with scientific enquiry, dissecting and analysing their subjects’ components with results that roam from problem-solving products to speculative fictions.

Emily Schofield Situationist Typography

Emily Schofield Situationist Typography


These designers use emotional intelligence to empower and transform lives. They harness design’s intrinsic empathic qualities, placing themselves in the contexts of others. The focus is on the agency of communities. The results amplify the voice and visibility of those who are often hidden, opening up conversations and emphasising the essential importance of social connection.

EMPATHIC INVENTION FREYA MORGAN – PHOTOSYMPATHISE By swapping the role of the houseplant and the human, Freya reflects on the self-importance possessed by mankind in our sharing of the planet.


These designers connect head with hand, grounding their actions in tacit intelligence, employing both the sensual and practical aspects of making to support their thinking. Some are alchemists, transforming base materials into something magical while others coax humanity from digital technologies. Innovation in both process and material are central here as these designers push, and challenge, the relationship between man, material and machine.

CSM_Haptic Thinking

HAPTIC THINKING ZENGKE JIN – ILLUSORY KINETICS Inspired by Newton’s law of universal gravitation – can heavy weight perception be achieved with light weight material?


These designers generate moments of meaning in a contemporary world that can seem chaotic and arbitrary. They reframe their subjects, offering their audience new perspectives. From making the digital manifest to transforming the everyday into the extraordinary, these designers refocus our attention, demanding we reconsider that which surrounds us using design to reconfigure and reform.

CSM_Zhiwen Tang

SHIFTING REALITY ZHIWEN TANG – CHINESE DREAM A graphic novel based on the experiences of Tang’s father through China’s transition from the post-Maoist era to ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ – a journey of hardship, dedication and resilience.

Professor Jeremy Till, Head of Central Saint Martins and Pro Vice-Chancellor of University of the Arts London, described the exhibition saying:

“Brain Waves presents design not merely as a route to more things and new aesthetics, it is a key to making sense of the world.”

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