"I took my undergraduate degree at what was then Brighton Polytechnic, in the Faculty of Art and Design, between 1984-87. The degree was Design History. I was something of a mature student when I went to Brighton. At the age of 24 I had spent a good deal of time making music, but I had reached an impasse in that singularly unforgiving industry and so, seeking a change of direction that was underpinned by a healthy interest in the visual arts and design, I signed up for the course at Brighton.
"I can't stress how useful it was for that particular degree to be taught within the Faculty of Art And Design. I suspect to some extent it was this proximity to practitioners that helped to demystify at least some of the processes that go into making things. I got to share a house with printmakers and illustrators, to take photographs and learn the techniques of developing and printing, and I also got to grip with the history of the disciplines in which I now work. Much of my subsequent practical training has been on the job. Within the design studio Tomato I have written and directed commercials, created corporate identities, designed a newspaper, various logos, analysed brands, delivered naming exercises and made exhibitions and books. I’ve got into the flow of working and making work sometimes for clients, and sometimes for its own sake. I've also been able to make and release music in collaboration with my partners here in the studio. See www.tomato.co.uk for more stuff and examples.
"I have also taught at Brighton on a part time basis. Principally this was in the field of contextual studies, though I also taught in the school of architecture at Mithras House. Both were rewarding, but for different reasons. Teaching contextual studies to fine artists, sculptors and printmakers reminded me of the interconnectedness of theory and practice, while the work in the architecture school served to point out how ideas that are born small can grow to occupy a significance in excess of their obvious potential. In both cases, it was good to reconnect with the ideas in and around design history. That knowledge of who did what, when and sometimes why, has proved itself time and time again in the both my personal and my commercial work.
"So, ta, Brighton, much appreciated."
Michael Horsham, 2009