Faculty researchers share ideas on the role of contemporary design.
20 Feb 2013
Researchers from the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts are organising and participating in a series of discussion events that provide theorists and practitioners with a forum for sharing and developing new ideas about the role of contemporary design in society.
The Design Culture Salon series is held at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London, and consists of an invited panel, chaired by the Faculty of Arts Professor of Design Culture, Guy Julier who is permanently based at the museum.
The panelists, who are made up of academics, critics and practitioners, provide brief, personal overviews of the event’s theme and then offer an opportunity for open discussion. Recent panelists have included faculty researchers Nick Gant and Liz Farrelly.
Gant participated in ‘Is ‘making stuff’ back on the agenda? He sees himself as a material activist with a mission to develop an idea as making as a way of constructing narratives - how you interact with materials, what you turn them into, the networks of others you engage in, the direction you take value in through objects, all add up to an ideological process. He spoke passionately about the need to re-activate an enquiring approach to materiality and making as a way of extending knowledge and understanding; of exploring the realms of the possible.
PhD student Farrelly, took part in ‘What can museums do with contemporary design?’ The event examined how contemporary design culture is finding increased, dedicated space in museums and how, as immaterial practices and outcomes take up greater prominence in design, museums should respond. How digital artefacts, systems, services or even design thinking should be represented and the roles the design museum might undertake.
Farrelly reflected on the museum as providing a locus beyond the exhibition. Through attendance at lectures, seminars and workshops at museums, they become centres for live discussion where the dynamic and ephemeral characteristics of contemporary design are momentarily captured.
Forthcoming Design Culture Salons:
Tuesday 26 March
How does design function in a recession?
These are tough times for all creative fields. Some practitioners baton down. Others see the economic slowdown as an opportunity to rethink what they do. Can design really re-invent itself or will it be ‘business as usual’? How might scarcity impact on design culture? What can be done with all those unemployed designers? How does a recession impact on public practices?
Panelists will include faculty researcher Nick Gant.
Tuesday 30 April
How does design produce new publics?
If, according to Bourdieu, designers are ‘cultural intermediaries’ who undertake ‘needs production’, how are these linked? How might designers create new social practices? Is this merely a commercial strategy (as in ‘brand communities’)? What role does open design or co-creation have in this process? How does the material function in such a process?
The salons are held at the V&A’s Sackler Centre. They are organised by Professor Guy Julier and supported by the University of Brighton and the Learning Department and Research Department of the V&A. More information and booking: www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/1971/design-culture-salon-3208.