• Curating emerging design practice

Williams, Gareth, 2013, Book Section, Curating emerging design practice In: Boddington, Anne, (ed.) Museums and Higher Education Working Together: Challenges and Opportunities. Ashgate, Farnham. ISBN 9781472406422

Abstract or Description:

This chapter develops Williams’ research in the representation of contemporary design practice in museums (evidenced through two AHRC-CDA studentships awarded to Williams and French in 2010 under the project title Curating Emerging Design: Paradigms, Parameters and Practice). It expands on a paper given at a V&A Museum conference, ‘Learning at the Interface, Museums and Higher Education’, in 2009. The chapter takes the form of two extended case studies of work by recent design graduates of the RCA and their subsequent presentation in various museum, gallery and exhibition settings, as a mechanism for exploring the relationship between design, higher education and museums.
Williams argues that there is a complex relationship between higher education (HE) and museums. The best design education exists to hone the critical and creative skills of designers, to fit them for the challenges of shaping the world of the future. As spaces for research and reflection, HE courses are essential places for designers to develop speculative design practices unfettered by commercial pressures and constraints. For this reason, much of the most forward-looking and challenging work arises directly from design education rather than from commercial studios. In a sense, HE provides the content, while museums give the context where design ideas can be considered, interpreted and evaluated. Displaying their work in museums gives designers a platform for sharing their ideas with broad non-specialist audiences as well as with like-minded communities. Williams argues that this is a valuable opportunity but identifies two dangers. One is that designers may cease to design critically and speculatively, but keep one eye on whether the work may be picked up by a museum. The second risk is that museums find performative, speculative and other ephemeral forms of design practice challenging to interpret and display and can tend to reduce them to novelties.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
Other > Education > X300 Academic studies in Education > X340 Academic studies in Tertiary Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
School or Centre: School of Design
Copyright Holders: Gareth Williams
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2012 15:39
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 14:25
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/978
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