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Exhibition Design

Exhibition Design is a new pathway offered as part of the second year of the 2-year, 240 credit MA in Interior Design, starting in September 2017.

Taught by a team of specialists from the School of Architecture, with contribution from the School of Humanities, and directed by Professor Graeme Brooker, the new pathway takes a research-informed, experimental and practice-based approach to the making and understanding of exhibitions in the twenty-first century. It invites students from a wide range of creative, design-led and curatorial backgrounds and interests.  

The central ethos of the pathway is that exhibition-making is a collaborative practice, demanding a symbiotic understanding of both design-led and curatorial intentions and knowledge, which can be delivered through an increasingly wide range of cultural, commercial and institutional interactions and partnerships.

This ethos responds to the development of the exhibition, which has become a significant form of cultural production, public engagement and interaction in the knowledge economy. It recognises that exhibitions assume increasingly diverse forms; as event, spectacle, performance or installation.

Exhibition production now demands a specialised knowledge of spatial, digital, graphical and experience design, which are required to work in tandem with curatorial and audience-based expectations.  The pathway regards exhibitions as a process of co-creation, shaping as well as showcasing research-led enquiry for public interest.

Exhibition Design equips students with the design-led skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality exhibition design in a variety of public settings. The pathway engages with the multidisciplinary demands of exhibition making, not only from a design perspective, but through engagement with a co-creation process that involves artists and designers, curators, commissioning bodies, clients and publics.

Students are expected to explore the creative potential of the exhibition as a research process, not only as showcase, but as a distinctive form of cultural production in its own right, and to generate new knowledge in the areas of exhibition design, theory and history, in ways that can inform current and future practice.

The pathway will provide the skills and training required in order to progress to specialised careers in exhibition design in the cultural or commercial sectors internationally, and to respond to the significant expansion of museum-building world-wide, and the diverse design and curatorial needs of this growing sector. In addition, the pathway is designed to foster research-led and practice-based experimentation in the making of exhibitions for independent practice.

The programme offers:

  • Studio-based practice in the knowledge, processes and skills required for exhibition design

  • Spatial exploration combined with exhibit or object-based organisation strategies

  • Innovation in digital and physical fabrication, 3D and 4D media, visualisation and prototyping at 1:1 scale

  • Developing spatial strategies for the incorporation of narrative instruments for sensory, mediated and physical environments

  • Theory and history of exhibition practices, including case-study analysis

  • Site-based studies

  • Curatorial strategies and dialogues

  • The generation of an independent research project

  • Interaction with leading professionals in the field, including with the RCA’s wide range of museum and gallery partners

Students can apply to the new pathway by application to MA Interior Design, and should state their interest in Exhibition Design on their application form.