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An interview with Kazz Morohashi

Kazz Morohashi won the 2015 Royal Society of the Arts’ Student Design Award. This highly coveted international design competition received over 775 entries from 33 countries. Her innovative project, Walkies!, was developed during her studies on the MA Communication Design course at NUA, an educational experience that would reshape Kazz’s creative and professional ambitions.

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What attracted you to the course at NUA and how has the experience contributed to the development of your practice?

I wanted a career change when I joined NUA. I wanted to be an illustrator while growing up, and as an adult I wanted to pursue children’s book writing and illustration. But life took me down a different path. While I have been very lucky with my current job in the cultural heritage sector, that burning desire to create was always there. Because I was interested in illustration, I looked into the MA Communication Design course. What attracted me most was the course’s subject specific and cross-discipline approach. I wanted the opportunity to work with creatives from a variety of backgrounds.

I was not disappointed. The interdisciplinary tutorials were frequent and gave me the opportunity to learn and grow in a rich, diverse atmosphere. We freely and critically bounced ideas and feedback between fellow students across disciplines. There was also an away-day in London, which not only gave us a chance to see major exhibitions and spaces, but also provided that extra opportunity to bond, free from the context of the classroom, into what I think will develop into long term (post-NUA) relationships.

What I most loved about my experience, is that the MA teaching and support staff is incredibly hands on, generous and engaged with each of the students. I’ve benefitted tremendously from the wealth of information they liberally share. I appreciate the positive feedback, but also critical, considered opinions at each stage of my work’s development. I would not have been able to achieve success with some of my projects without the copious and generous support from my tutors. These characteristics – collaborative, supportive and positive – best define the NUA experience and the academic culture.

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In what ways has your professional outlook developed during the course?

Although I enrolled with illustration in mind, I discovered through the course that I was better at public engagement design. I am particularly interested in working with museums in the cultural and educational sectors to develop projects that engage the public in learning. My area of research is in the ideation of the self and formation of cultures, which stem from my personal and professional background. The lecturers have pushed me to articulate these research interests. As a result, I gained the confidence to challenge myself beyond the protected “MA bubble” and go out into the real world.

My main project, which was in the final MA Degree Show, has gained much interest as a result of this outward exploration, including finding pilot and fundraising partners, winning a business idea award (Brainchild, a business ideas competition) and being shortlisted for the RSA’s Heritage by Design Award, which I won, and the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprise.

What are your plans after graduation?

I hope to continue my research by developing projects in public engagement design. While there are creative companies like Local Projects in New York that I am inspired by (and would love to work for), I do love being in Norwich. I hope to keep my roots here in England.

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