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Professor Rebecca Harvey Appointed Head of Applied Arts at the RCA

The Royal College of Art is delighted to welcome Professor Rebecca Harvey as Head of Applied Arts. In this role Professor Harvey will lead the development of the Ceramics & Glass and Jewellery & Metal Programmes in the School of Arts & Humanities, maintaining the College’s tradition and commitment to excellence in applied arts and making-led innovation.

‘It’s very exciting to join the RCA as head of two such dynamic programmes’ explained Professor Rebecca Harvey. ‘The current overlap of ideas, processes and new technologies offer incredible opportunities for combining making and meaning, shifting possibilities for the integration and consequences of material-based art. The spirit of Applied Arts at the RCA originates from a belief in the transformative power of material thinking, research and making to enrich our world in imaginative and meaningful ways – an approach that resonates with my practice both as an artist and educator.’

Discussing this appointment, Professor Juan Cruz, Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities said: ‘At the RCA we are dedicated to expanding the field of object culture. Our dynamic study environment provides exceptional opportunities to explore the possibilities and perspectives of the applied arts, within and beyond the traditions of art and design, individual practices and industry. Professor Harvey’s approach to ceramics, objects and applied art more broadly will be hugely beneficial in providing energetic thinking and strong leadership for these two programmes.’

Professor Naren Barfield, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost commented: ‘Professor Harvey’s experience as both practitioner and academic, and commitment to collaborative and transformative leadership, will make her an asset to the College. We look forward to welcoming her leadership of Ceramics & Glass and Jewellery & Metal, two programmes that embrace the diversity of contemporary practice in this hyper-material age and enable students to find their own approach, and artistic and professional voice, especially as we explore new material, technological and intercultural connections.’

Professor Harvey joins the College from Ohio State University, where she has most recently served as Chair of the Department of Art. In this role she has facilitated a broad cultural shift towards consensus and positive engagement, combining disciplinary excellence with curricular fluidity and connectivity.

In the last ten years Professor Harvey’s practice, which is driven by a strong interest in the nature of materials, has primarily focused on developing a new studio-based model, where domestic objects transcend their usual functions to comment on our relationships with the larger world. She has a BFA in Crafts and Ceramics from University of the Arts, Philadelphia and an MFA in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

While clay and craft are the focus of her practice, material history and the history of objects are concerns that run through Professor Harvey’s work. Increasingly she has become interested in working collaboratively, moving beyond the ‘industry of one’ that has been the hallmark of the crafts movement in the latter part of the last century, and she was a founding member of the NonFiction Design Collective.

Professor Harvey has presented papers and exhibited internationally at galleries including:
 Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton Massachussetts; Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Honors Art Gallery, Rome, Italy and Zentrum für Keramik, Berlin, Germany. Her awards include a Greater Columbus Arts Council Award, several Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Awards, and International residencies in Dresden, Germany; Uppsala, Sweden; Jingdezhen, China; and Olafsfjord, Iceland. Articles featuring her work have appeared in Studio Potter and American Craft.


Find out more about Applied Arts at the Royal College of Art, and our Ceramics & Glass and Jewellery & Metal Programmes – and how to Apply.