Talk and screening
Reconsidering Canon in a Diverse World
What constitutes a design-historical canon? Why are certain histories represented in museums and others excluded? Leading curators examine the formation of canon in today’s diverse world.
Works of design deemed to be “canonical”, are usually those that have a broad influence, are displayed prominently in museum collections, and are subjects of academic scholarship. But the design-historical canon is often placed under harsh critique due to its lack of diversity when it comes to representation and treatment of class, race, and gender.
For decades, women and non-western designers, particularly those of African, Asian and South American origin, have been overlooked, and in many cases excluded, from design history. What impact does this have on our understanding of design? How do we select objects, people, and events to become part of design history?
This event is part of the Reconsidering Canon exhibition and is in collaboration with the MA Curating Contemporary Design at Kingston School of Art.
Jana Scholze & Donna Loveday
Programme Leaders of MA Curating Contemporary Design at Kingston University and the Design Museum
14.15-15.30 : Panel 1: Criteria for Collecting in the 21st Century Museum.
Chair, Debika Ray (Clove Magazine) with Corinna Gardner (V&A) and Riya Patel (Aram Gallery)
A panel of curators explore what a design canon means for the 21st century. Specifically, they will explore the topic from a feminist and post-colonial perspective, reflecting on why certain figures and histories have been overlooked.
15.30-16.15: Lecture: Decolonising Canon
Danah Abdulla (Brunel University London, Decolonising Design)
Dr Danah Abdulla is a designer, educator and researcher and a founding member of Decolonising Design research group. In this lecture she will explore the "myth" of global design history.
16.15-17.00: Panel 2: Reconsidering Canon
To coincide with the display ‘Reconsidering Canon’ curated by students from the MA in Curating Contemporary Design programme, Jana Scholze chairs this conversation with Sam Pratt and Valerio Capo (FUMI Gallery) and designers Allan Collins (Brooksbank & Collins) and Tim Simpson (Glithero). The panel will discuss the context of the exhibition, the newly commissioned works and the set of criteria by contemporary which objects form part of the design canon.
Dr Danah Abdulla is a designer, researcher and educator. Currently she is Senior Lecturer in Communication Design at Brunel University London, a founding member of the Decolonising Design research group, and the Creative Director and Editor of Kalimat Magazine.
Allan Collins is one half of London design duo, Brooksbank & Collins. Their design studio was established in 2012 as a means of exploring the overlap of art and architecture within the design of furniture and decorative objects, where their successful collaboration thrives on the contrast of their work.
Corinna Gardner is Senior Curator of Design and Digital at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Corinna leads the V&A’s Rapid Response Collecting programme and research is focused on contemporary product and digital design.
Riya Patel is curator of The Aram Gallery, an independent gallery dedicated to new and experimental design. She is a contributing editor at Icon magazine, and writes for several publications including Disegno, Wallpaper and The Independent. She was previously an editor of Icon magazine, and spent a year in Amsterdam editing Frame magazine.
Sam Pratt is co-director of contemporary design gallery, Gallery FUMI. Established in 2008 the gallery focuses on high-level, conceptually and aesthetically audacious contemporary designers and artists. The gallery runs an ambitious programme of exhibitions alongside a presence at international design fairs.
Valerio Capo is co-director of contemporary design gallery, Gallery FUMI. Established in 2008 the gallery focuses on high-level, conceptually and aesthetically audacious contemporary designers and artists. The gallery runs an ambitious programme of exhibitions alongside a presence at international design fairs.
Debika Ray is a writer, journalist and editor, and founder of Clove, a magazine about the culture of South Asia and the region's diaspora. She has previously been senior editor at Icon and acting deputy editor at Disegno, and has worked for publications including The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Wallpaper, Kinfolk, Metropolis and Blueprint.
Jana Scholze is a design curator, critic and academic. She is Associate Professor at the Kingston School of Art and a Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she previously worked as a curator responsible for exhibitions such as 'What is Luxury?’. Her most recent publication is a monograph about the designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.
Tim Simpson established the design partnership, Glithero, with Sarah van Gameren in 2007. From their London-based studio, they create product, furniture, and time-based installations in a broad spectrum of media, capturing and presenting the beauty in the moment that things are made.