“Let’s redesign everything!”

Student Spotlight


Aoife Fahey is a recent graduate of MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design Program.  Aoife lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.


What attracted you to MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program?

The Biomimicry module. I wanted to learn more about Biomimicry and after doing Cindy Gilbert’s MOOC I learned about the MCAD MASD. She told me that a lot of the program’s instructors had worked with the Biomimicry Institute in the past and that swung it for me. I signed up.


Has anything you’ve learned in the program changed your way of thinking?

I learned that we have to be way more empathetic in everything we do. The us vs them mentality does not get us anywhere and if we are going to make real sustainable change we need to listen to the people who oppose the change to find out why. Once we understand their reasons, we can work on finding solutions that they can also get on board.

Has anything you’ve learned in the program changed what you’d like to do with your career?

I was always adamant that I wanted to work in sustainability but the program has shown me that there are lots more avenues of sustainability to explore and plenty of ways that sustainability can be incorporated in ‘ordinary’ jobs.


What has surprised you about the program?

I made some really good, lifelong friends. With an online program, I didn’t really expect to develop friendships that will endure long after the program ends but I have. Some of us have even met up in different countries. And now I also have a global network of sustainability professionals.


Is there a class project or assignment that you are really proud of?

I’m most proud of the projects where I challenged myself and didn’t think about the grade. I learned a lot even if the ideas failed and really that is what it should be about – the learning and not the grades.


What is the most exciting or inspiring thing you’ve learned in the program so far?

Everything to do with biomimicry inspires and excites me.


What has been your proudest moment or project in sustainability or sustainable design?

I did a project about creating an app to improve understanding about recycling called Recyclize. I had a lot of fun on that project and I really enjoyed talking about it with different people and sharing ideas of how it should work.

What sustainability or sustainable design projects are you looking forward to working on?

I am still toying with the idea of continuing to work on the Recyclize app but for now I think that I will look forward to any job that allows me to continue to work with sustainability.


How have you applied what you learned in the program?

I look at everything now from a perspective of how can I redesign or improve it. Not just products but also systems and processes. Let’s redesign everything!


What have been the most important or useful things that you learned in the program?

That Nature has all the answers, we just need to learn how to ask the right questions.

What have you learned in the program that you wish everyone would learn?

Empathy. We are all in this together and playing the blame game is not getting us anywhere.


What recommendations do you have for people considering a career in sustainable design?

To look into Biomimicry. The facts and figures around sustainability can be alarming and depressing. Biomimicry gives us hope that we can solve our problems.


If you had a magic wand and could completely solve one sustainability problem, what would it be?

I would change the education system. I think one of the big sustainability problems is a lack of education and awareness around the issues. People are not trying to kill the planet on purpose and if there was better education around the issues I think we would see a lot more solutions appearing. And while I was at it, I would use my magic wand to get rid of grades and focus on learning. Learning should be fun!


Aoife Fahey

Aoife Fahey is originally from Ireland but lived and worked in Denmark for a long time. She has a BA in Sustainable Design & Business from the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology. She worked for a number of years within sustainability education, circular economy, and bio-fabrication. Since graduating with her MA in Sustainable Design in 2018, she has moved to London and now works in the Environmental Impacts team at the LEGO Group.