Meet the alumni: Phil Hesketh, MA Digital Experience Design

Local lad Phil Hesketh joined Hyper Island, Manchester, in 2016 to follow the Digital Experience Design MA. What he found was a collaborative, fast-paced and transformative learning environment that gave him the tools to shape his own future.

Hi Phil, thanks for chatting with us. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to study at Hyper Island?

I’m originally from Stockport, but I grew up in Glossop about 25 minutes away from Manchester. I’ve always sort of known I wanted to be a designer. Working in industry, I was getting increasingly frustrated working for companies where I felt I wasn’t getting to do design properly. Looking at Hyper Island I saw the connections with industry, liked the look of the syllabus and how it was taught… Taking the leap was a pretty easy decision.

Coming from a hands-on design background, how did you decide what to study?

It was a tough call between the Digital Experience Design and Digital Media Management MAs. I thought that to help transition an organisation into proper design practices, DMM might have been a good option. But in the end, I stuck with what I’m most passionate about and opted for Digital Experience Design. I still feel like that was the right choice for me.

People talk a lot about Hyper Island having its own, special vibe. How would you sum up the experience?

If you give yourself up to it, work hard and be humble, it’s phenomenally transformative. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. You’re surrounded by next-level people, experiencing it all together, at 3000mph. It creates a pretty amazing bond between the students and staff.

Is there a typical day at Hyper Island?

Not really! You get into a rhythm with your teams, but you cover so much ground in such a short space of time that it never becomes repetitive – it’s just non-stop.

And what about the people you meet?

Open hearts. Open Minds. Everyone is unique and encouraged to be themselves – we’re a pretty accepting bunch. When people feel they have the freedom to express themselves, you get to a really interesting place where you feel safe trying crazy things. It’s exciting.

‘Life’s too short to work on things you don’t believe in.’