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Parnham & the Matter of Making

Join an esteemed line-up of speakers including Richard Sennett, John Makepeace (OBE), Glenn Adamson and Catharine Rossi in a talk about the importance of making, design and the future of craftsmanship.

What to expect

What do we mean by craft today? In an age of robotic production, where digital technologies present new opportunities to designers and makers, our perception of craft is changing.

In recent years however, we have seen a revival in the desire to learn practical skills and principles among designers. Rejecting the status quo, these designer-makers are applying humanistic and tactile sensibilities to create authentic, individual objects to express ideas.

Parnham College, founded by the renowned British designer John Makepeace OBE in 1976, was a design school built upon these very principles. It nurtured and pioneered a human-centred approach to craftsmanship. Arguing that British design and woodcraft education at the time was inadequate, the school set out to develop an educational model that would integrate design, making and business management as a single discipline. It ignited the careers of some of the most distinguished designers that include Lord Linley, Konstantin Grcic, Juliane Trummer, Sarah Kay, Jake Phipps and Sean Sutcliffe.

To mark its 40-year anniversary, and celebrate the launch of the exceptional 180-page book 'Beyond Parnham', the Design Museum is bringing together leading voices in the field of craft to discuss the legacy of Parnham College and the value of making and craftsmanship in design today.

Image credit | MPteaching, courtesy John Makepeace

Image credit | KD table, courtesy John Makepeace

Image credit | Chatsworth Desk, courtesy John Makepeace

Image credit | Millennium, courtesy John Makepeace

Image credit | Forum table & chairs.courtesy John Makepeace

Image credit | Flow, courtesy John Makepeace

Image credit | Petra, courtesy John Makepeace’

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Booking information

Adult £10, student/ concession £7.50, Members £9


John Makepeace

John Makepeace (OBE) is a designer and craftsman and founder of Parnham College. His work is represented in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Museum fur Kunstandwerk, Frankfurt and the Arts Institute, Chicago. In 2016 he won the Prince Philip Designers Prize in recognition of his outstanding contribution to design.

Glenn Adamson

Glenn Adamson is this year's Guest Curator for Beazley Designs of the Year, and is currently Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art. Dr. Adamson was previously Director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and Head of Research at the V&A, and is a well-known writer on craft and design history.

Catharine Rossi

Dr Catharine Rossi is a design historian based at Kingston University. Her research interests include craft, socially and politically engaged design, and nightclubs. Her publications include Crafting Design in Italy: from Postwar to Postmodernism (MUP, 2015). She is currently co-curating an exhibition on nightclubs and design for Vitra Design Museum (2018).

Richard Sennett

Richard Sennett is Professor of the Humanities at New York University and Professor of Sociology at LSE. His publications include; The Craftsman [2008], and Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation [2012]. The third volume in this trilogy, Making and Dwelling, will appear in 2018.

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Background image | Forum table & chairs, courtesy of John Makepeace