The core course of the MAST module – the MAST Challenge Lab – is designed to introduce students to a subset of methods applicable across AST fields. Students may come into the Challenge Lab from one of many undergraduate disciplines, fields, and specialisations, but finish the MAST module with a strong sense of methodological diversity, as well as concrete experience implementing some of these methods and tools. This is a full-semester course lasting for around three months with regular sessions, that starts with an articulated challenge related to a concrete topic, and ends with a solution in terms of a response to the challenge, gradually covering the learning outcomes of the course. Social Europe values should be properly reflected along the course process, covering all the key stages of the innovation cycle – that may be partly iterated.
- The Challenge Lab covers the following competencies – upon successful completion, the student will:
- (AST Research) be able to perform background analysis and field (beneficiaries) research for problem finding and solving;
- (Art-thinking) be able to apply art-thinking methods and tools, combining them with design thinking, in order to develop critical and unconventional breakthrough processes, services and products;
- (Innovation Catalysis) be able to instigate, facilitate, coordinate, lead radical and meaningful innovation through specific combinations of A, S, and T stakeholders (individuals, groups or institutions) and methods;
- (AST Innovation) be able to bring ideas via modelling of innovative solutions to actual applicable services/products that respond to real-world issues with sensible impact and sustainable legacy;
- (Ethics) be able to critically reflect the ethical and broader social aspects of interdisciplinary study and work preferably under consideration of policies and strategies;
- (Project and team work) be able and motivated to participate and contribute in successful and well-managed team projects.
The students that participate in a MAST Module implementation should develop the following module-specific competencies:
- Be able to contribute in a meaningful way to the fields of AST internationally (startups, exhibitions, projects, services, products, civil initiatives, etc.);
- Understand the social impact of innovations in a broad sense;
- Be able to work as hybrid profiles in multidisciplinary environments among art, science, and technology.
In terms of the specific learning outcomes, students that pass through the MAST Module implementation will acquire the following transferable skills:
- Be able to critically reflect the ethical and broader social aspects of interdisciplinary study and work (preferably under consideration of policies and strategies);
- Conceive, develop, complete and evaluate successfully well-managed team projects.
The above points thus subsume the innovation catalyst competency profile.
Challenge Lab syllabus
While assuming that a truly comprehensive innovation catalyst profile could be completely developed along a full MFA or MSc program, MAST recognized that in many cases a department or a school, and especially an international partnership consortium may not be able to create a full master programme flexible enough to accommodate this level and kind of novelty. Thus, the curricular development focused onto an expandable and flexible module format.