Free display

Designers in Residence 2019: Cosmic

Designers in Residence is a core part of the museum's programme. It has two main aims: to provide designers in the early stages of their careers, time and space away from their regular environment to develop their practice and produce new work, and to offer museum visitors an opportunity to engage with live design projects.

Following an open call the museum selects four designers working in different disciplines, to further develop their individual responses to the theme and brief. Successful residents will share the museum’s Designers in Residence Studio, which provides a place for the residents to work as well as a space to exhibit their finished projects.

Each resident is provided with a commissioning budget of £6,000, which goes directly towards producing the work that will be presented at the end of the residency. A bursary of £8,000 is also offered to support the development of their career and to fund their practice.

Download the documents below for full details of this year’s theme ‘Cosmic’ and details on how to submit a proposal.

Deadline for all applications, including proposals based on the theme of ‘Cosmic’ is 9:00am, on Monday 11 February 2019. Entries received after this deadline will not be accepted.


Theme: Cosmic

Today designers are engaged in shaping life at every scale, from the micro to the macro. At one end of the spectrum, they use gene editing software and synthetic biology to develop biological parts and systems. At the other end, designers also collaborate with scientists and engineers to address planetary scale problems, such as designing for the Anthropocene – or, indeed, inter-planetary ones, such as space travel. The growing ambition to reach Mars – explored in the Design Museum's upcoming Mars exhibition – has opened a debate about the human colonisation of untouched planets. This cosmic scale of activity brings design into contact with science, ecology and the supernatural, and raises questions about what it means to be human. There are issues of under-representation here, with movements like afro-futurism imagining a more inclusive future. Meanwhile, the use of astrology, crystals, and meditation highlight our spiritual desire to believe in something ‘bigger’ than ourselves.

Designers are encouraged to interpret the brief as openly as possible.

Last year

Designers in Residence 2018

Find out more about Designers in Residence 2018

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