Design Research & Its Participants was an invited curatorial intervention in the fiftieth anniversary conference of the Design Research Society, taking place in Brighton 24-27 June 2016. Curated by Dr Lesley Whitworth, Design Archives’ Deputy Curator, the exhibition examined the inter-play of individuals associated with a range of design organisations active in the later twentieth century.
The period witnessed a flowering of formal groupings of those actively engaged with interrogating the practices of design, and the process of research and archival excavation revealed an intriguing amount of organisational inter-dependence. This was demonstrated through the inclusion of items from the Design Council, ICSID, Icograda, Anthony Froshaug, WH Mayall and FHK Henrion archives, as well as some loaned by DRS members themselves with the collaboration of Darren Umney. Loans from St Peter’s House Library, University of Brighton; and from the Graphic Design Archive and L Bruce Archer Archive of the Royal College of Art Special Collections, were also included.
Whilst not attempting a straightforward re-telling of the Society’s history, the exhibition drew on investigations of material such as photography, posters, albums, correspondence and myriad other forms of visual and text-based document, to evidence the results of enquiries into the ferment and frustration of early DRS activity.
To learn more about the production of the exhibition, read the blog entry written by Sirpa Kutilainen.