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Start 2018 with Innovative, Experimental and Inspiring Work in Progress at the RCA

In January and February 2018, the RCA is opening its doors to showcase the research, experiments, prototypes, finished pieces and work in progress from across the College’s four Schools and 29 programmes. Much of the work will be on display in open studios, offering the unique chance to see developing work in the environment that it’s created. The Schools of Architecture, Arts & Humanities and Design will be exhibiting 19–21 January in Kensington and Battersea, and the School of Communication will be showing 8–11 February in White City.

Ceramics & Glass, Contemporary Art Practice, Jewellery & Metal, Painting, Photography, Print and Sculpture students are all exhibiting work in Battersea. Head of Print Professor Jo Stockham discussed what can be expected from the first-year Print students.

‘We have an extraordinarily diverse group of students from all over the world, using a wide variety of media from intaglio to video. Many of our students are interested in the mediated image and how we share and materially capture experience as shaped by the internet. Urbanism and the history of print as a political tool, from street art to mapping and the shaping of public culture, postcolonial debates and issues of appropriation continue to be strong themes. The hand-drawn as part of systems of repetition and replication becomes a way to think through the nature of work itself, and co-exists with students examining printed matter, how it is seen, circulated and archived.’

Second-year Ceramics & Glass students will be presenting initial ideas for their final MA work in the workshops. Visitors will be able to see the strength of technical experimentation and process behind the work, as well as the deep understanding of the materials being used. A wide range of approaches will be exhibited from architectural tiles developed for interiors, pieces featuring embroidery-like fine detail, illustration directly on to forms and narrative works that explore storytelling through objects.

‘The Work-in-Progress Show is an opportunity for the students to develop ideas and practice curating their work together,’ explained Head of Ceramics & Glass Felicity Aylieff. ‘It allows them to see their work outside of their studios, in a different environment, experiment with how to show a piece – considering options beyond the shelf, table or plinth, and discover how display might impact on the ways an audience will understand the work.’

First-year Ceramics & Glass students will also be exhibiting the outcomes of their first project at the College, which asked them to respond to a piece from the V&A ceramics and glass collections with a contemporary work. This brief challenged them to interrogate the technical processes behind historic pieces to acquire technical information that informed the new work. 

In Kensington the Architecture, Design Products, Fashion, Global Innovation Design, Innovation Design Engineering, Intelligent Mobility, Interior Design, Service Design and Textiles programmes will be exhibiting, as well as two of the College's newest MA programmes City Design and Environmental Architecture. MRes, MPhil and PhD research students from both the School of Architecture and Design will also be on display.

First-year Architecture students will show work from live projects that include working with the Design Museum, London, on questions of the domestic and contributing to Manifesta12, which will take place in Palermo in 2018, as well as collaborations with Barcelona en Commu for sites in Barcelona and FRAC Orleans for an exhibition in the coming year. Second-year Architecture students will show work in progress from their thesis projects, which they are formulating in response to the Architectural Design Studio (ADS) themes. First-year Interior Design students will show work from a project focused on the redevelopment of Denmark Street in Soho, London, and second-year students will exhibit the early stages of their final thesis project developed within the Interior Design platforms

The new City Design MA programme will exhibit work from emerging projects, including a project from one group currently working with the NHS on the Canada Water site in Southwark and looking at issues of care and ageing. MA Environmental Architecture students will present their research on ‘The Lithium Triangle’, focusing on the role of lithium for the development of green technologies, as well as the environmental implications of its extraction. Students are working together in collaboration with several different organisations, both academic and non-academic, including legal teams and indigenous groups from Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

The School of Communication Work in Progress show will take place 8–11 February in White City. The Animation, Information Experience Design (IED) and Visual Communication programmes will all showcase work. Second-year IED students will use the opportunity to present the research, material experiments and prototypes that will feed into their final projects, which range across moving image, sound objects and experimental interactions.

The Work-in-progress Show graphic identity is designed by Regular Practice, founded by Tom Finn and Kristoffer Sølling (MA Visual Communication, 2017). The design uses a machine-based algorithm to generate unique typographies.


Kensington & Battersea
Open to the public: 19–21 January, 12–6pm daily 

White City
Open to the public: 8–11 February, 12–6pm daily