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Experimentation and Risk Taking: Work-in-progress Shows 2019

Throughout January and February, the Royal College of Art is hosting a series of exhibitions showcasing work in progress and final graduate projects, open to the public by guided tour. These events offer an opportunity to meet the artists and designers of the future as their newest creations take shape – and to gain insight into the processes through which their work develops. It’s also an opportunity for those interested in finding out more about the College to take a glimpse behind the scenes, with tours and open days happening throughout. 

The School of Architecture Show takes place in Kensington from 17 to 18 January. Students from MA Architecture, MA Interior Design, MRes RCA: Architecture Pathway and the School's Research Programmes will all showcase work in progress, alongside final projects by the first graduating cohort of the College’s new 15-month MA in City Design.

‘This Show represents a snapshot of projects as they make the move from experimentation and research toward realisation’, explains Dr Adrian Lahoud, Dean of School of Architecture, in his introduction to the exhibition. ‘It’s an important moment, because it formalises a commitment to risk-taking and failure that is liberated from the finality of graduation exhibitions. It offers an insight into the non-linear nature of design processes and design reasoning that is often covered over by claims to mastery and completion.’

Students from across the RCA’s School of Arts & Humanities will present a selection of work in progress within their studios, workshops and seminar rooms. The MA Sculpture Programme will exhibit in Kensington from 17 to 20 January, while MA students from Ceramics & Glass, Contemporary Art Practice, Jewellery & Metal, Painting, Photography and Print, as well as MRes RCA: Fine Art & Humanities, will showcase developing work in Battersea from 19 to 20 January. Graduate work by MA RCA/V&A History of Design students will also be on display in Battersea from 19 to 24 January.

‘The Work-in-progress shows provide an insight into the way our first-year students have commenced their careers at the RCA’, stated Professor Juan Cruz, Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities. ‘After the public opening the shows become an important teaching resource, as we stage crits and discussions around the exhibited work to support the students in their creative development and to enable us better to understand the individual and collective tendencies and directions of travel. We of course expect to see work reflective of the current tumultuous times, but also work that deals with its context by turning its back on it somewhat, in order to propose some alternative perspectives.’

From 25 to 26 January MA Design Products, Fashion Menswear, Fashion Womenswear, ICL/RCA Global Innovation Design, ICL/RCA Innovation Design Engineering, Service Design, Textiles, MRes Healthcare & Design, MRes RCA: Design Pathway and Research students from the School of Design will present a range of work in progress in the spaces where their work has been made and discussed in Kensington. The School of Design fosters a culture of innovation, experimentation and debate with human centred design applied to pressing challenges to impact on global communities.

Across the School of Communication, students address new communication challenges emerging from a world of growing connectivity between networks, people and things. Their work-in-progress show takes place from 14 to 17 February in White City. Here MA Animation, Information Experience Design, Visual Communication and MRes RCA: Communication Design Pathway students will all showcase their developing projects.

The final event in the series is the presentation of MA Digital Direction and Intelligent Mobility graduate projects from 20 to 24 February in Kensington. The first graduating cohort of Digital Direction students will present projects that address media and storytelling in the digital era, assessing emerging issues associated with contemporary digital communication and the creative economy. Intelligent Mobility students will showcase their innovative and disruptive design outcomes that address future mobility challenges.


Visitor Information 

Visitor information for each event can be found below. Please note, they are open to the public by guided tour only. Click through for details of tour times for each event:

School of Architecture 
School of Arts & Humanities including MA Sculpture
School of Design 
School of Communication
MA Digital Direction and MA Intelligent Mobility

Open Days 

Open Days for prospective students are being held alongside the Work-in-progress events. These offer visitors the opportunity to learn more about the RCA, visit programme facilities, workshops and studios, hear from the Heads of Programme and ask staff and current students any questions. Full details can be found below:

19 January 2019
School of Arts & Humanities (Battersea)School of Arts & Humanities (Kensington), School of Architecture, V&A/RCA History of Design

26 January 2019
School of Design

16 February 2019
School of Communication, Graduate Diploma Art & Design