Design Trust/RCA Fellowship in Design Curation 2018

Applications are invited for the Design Trust/RCA Fellowship in Design Curation, which is designed to support the development of curatorial careers in design.

The deadline for applications is Friday, 6 April 2018.

The Fellowship is designed to develop the burgeoning field of design curating in a global context, within broader interdisciplinary practices of curating (such as the growth of new institutions devoted to design, the presence of design in art museums, biennales and cultural festivals and other new platforms for public engagement with design, including urban development and archives).

Based at the Royal College of Art in London, the Fellow will be part of a hub of research and teaching around design history and curating, within a broader community concerned with art, humanities and curating as public practice. The successful Fellow will undertake advanced research into curatorial contexts for contemporary design practice and recent design history, with the opportunity to develop new thinking in curating practice and theory aligned with design’s social, cultural, economic and tech contexts. Areas of focus might include: the history and current practices of design curating; artefactual knowledge and the understanding of design’s systems, processes and mediation; strategies for exhibition-making, display, interpretation and collecting; design archives; and design curating in the public sphere.

Starting in September 2018, the Fellow will undertake 12 months of research supported by a tailored programme of academic training. The programme of studies is designed to broaden the Fellow’s knowledge and skills in curatorial practice, theory and understanding of design. It will include history and theory seminars, curating workshops and a curatorial placement with one of the RCA’s external partners. The specific programme will be devised with the Fellow and his/her supervisors, and will take, on average, two to three days a week.

Alongside this programme, the Fellow will devise and develop an original research project related to design in Asia and its global contexts, supported by subject specialists at the RCA. Research may explore topics related to the different disciplines of design (such as product design, service design, fashion, transport and the digital), or make an interdisciplinary enquiry into an aspect of design’s social, political or cultural contexts in recent and current practice (including the relationship to contemporary art or architectural practice). A focus on Hong Kong is preferred but not essential. The research should result in an original curatorial proposal that informs future practice and demonstrates advanced understanding of curatorial contexts and approaches.  

The development of curatorial methods and content will be demonstrated through written and non-written elements (such as digital, photographic, film) and may include, as appropriate, a prototype exhibition at RCA or online curatorial work. In addition, the Fellow will produce a portfolio of writing (c, 10,000 - 15,000 words) which may take the form of several papers or an extended essay/thesis. The Fellow will also prepare a report on their research findings (including work placement activity).


Applications are welcome from individuals based in Hong Kong or the Greater Pearl River Delta region with a background in curating and a research interest in design. The successful applicant must be able to secure a UK visa (Tier 4) in order to take up the Fellowship. Applicants should either hold a postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline or an undergraduate degree with minimum three years relevant professional work or academic research experience. Proficiency in spoken and written English is also required.


The Fellowship is established with kind support to the RCA from Design Trust. This includes payment of full fees for the year-long programme, as well as a maintenance grant of £12,000 to the Fellow. Additional support is also available to support the development of research outcomes and projects. This will be allocated after the Fellow’s research plan is developed and agreed with the RCA.

Assessment Criteria

  • Originality of research approach to design and its related subjects (including demonstration of historical and contemporary knowledge)
  • The research’s relevance to Asian design history and contemporary practice
  • Potential for developing original curatorial strategies in design
  • Proven ability of the candidate in undertaking advanced research
  • Potential for long-term contribution to curatorial development in Hong Kong and the Greater Pearl River Delta region

Review Process

The fellowship will be awarded on a competitive basis by a committee comprising representatives from the RCA and Design Trust. After the initial screening process, shortlisted candidates will be invited to an in-person or remote interview.

How to Apply

Applicants should provide:

  • A cover letter that includes a 1,000-word statement of research interests
  • A full curriculum vitae covering education, professional experience, honours, awards and publications
  • Two letters of recommendation (academic or professional), submitted directly from the referees to
  • Three pieces of relevant written work, published or unpublished, of which at least two are in English
  • Evidence of applicant meeting the UK Home Office Tier 4 Visa language qualifications

Completed applications should be emailed to

The deadline for applications is Friday 6 April 2018.

The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading university of art and design, placing at Number One in the 2017, 2016 and 2015 QS World University Rankings. Specialising in teaching and research, the RCA offers the degrees of MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD across the arts and humanities, architecture, design and communications. The RCA community includes more than 1500 Master’s and doctoral students and more than 1000 professionals interacting with them – including scholars, art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisers and distinguished visitors.

Design Trust was established in 2014 by Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, a registered charity in Hong Kong since 2007, as a grant funding platform. Design Trust supports creative projects that develop expertise, build research initiatives and content related to Hong Kong and the Greater Pearl River Delta Region. Working across a multiplicity of design disciplines from graphics, media, architecture to the built environment, Design Trust aims to actively accelerate creative research, design and development of meaningful projects that advocate for the positive role of design.

Design Trust / RCA Fellowship in Design Curation 2018
Design Trust / RCA Fellowship in Design Curation 2018