designatlas

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Tonic to the nation?

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2011 at 12:25

One of the subjects I have been researching in the Design archives has been the Festival of Britain, so I was really interested to hear that the South Bank Centre last week announced plans for a ‘summer of celebrations’ to mark the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. This announcement has already met with cynicism in the national press, with many finding it difficult to believe in the convictions of a government that wishes to ‘celebrate’ british design and arts culture, after it has just been so dramatically de-valued by the budget cut, as this article in the guardian argued.

It’s difficult not to see the cruel irony in the timing of the 60th anniversary. In my reading so far, the Festival has been consistently cited as a key moment in the narrative about the greater ‘visibility’ of the design profession; when government brought design to the centre stage. It will be interesting to note the tone of the celebrations as they take place in the summer; will they look forwards or backwards? Will they be a commemoration of British Design or a promotion of its future role in society?

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A jigsaw puzzle

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2011 at 15:45

‘In design, as yet, no-one has ever articulated the whole. Design theory is like a jigsaw puzzle; you have lots of very beautiful pieces. But when you try to put them together, it doesn’t make coherent, rectangular picture; the pieces seem to be from different puzzles. I’m desperately trying to assemble the pieces I have, and to find out what the missing pieces are’.

I related to this quote, by Jay Doblin, as I read through The Designer, June 1980, today.

A Private View

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2011 at 12:51

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the opening of Dianne Davies fantastic exhibition, ‘Musicians All At Sea’, in the Barbican Library. The opportunity to attend events such as these is what makes my PhD project so unique, since it shows how my research is tangibly informed by the past and the present. The ability to engage with member’s work today, as well as reflect on the history of the Society is a major reason I was attracted to this project in the first place.

Last night got me thinking about an aspect of the creative industry I have been fascinated by for a long time: the world of the Private View. It struck me that this event is a great place to witness at first hand the ‘professional networks’ which underpin an artist in their working life. In Dianne’s case, there was a warm sense of a close network, friendly and professional, at her exhibition. The strong presence of many CSD members clearly added to this sense of a support network. However, these events also pull together more disparate strands of the designer’s network: college friends, old colleagues for example. In addition, the fact that Dianne collaborates with her daughter, who is an architect, is a (perhaps unique) example of how intimate these networks can be.

At the private view, might a sense of being ‘viewed’ from the inside, by contemporaries and other artists add to a sense of competition? Does this event also set up a creative environment that might encourage or inspire new design ideas? How are designers from regions outside London isolated from these networks that take place so frequently in London?

Ican see a good chapter emerging from this!