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Jennifer Wong

MA History Of Design, 2010–12

I was always interested in objects but had studied the history of art, which is really only just fine art and paintings and nothing else.

Then one of the professors on my BA, Sarah Teasley, moved to the Royal College of Art. She taught art history but incorporated a history of design method, which I thought was interesting.

Because of this, I came straight here to the RCA after my BA. It also caught my attention that it was a two-year course, rather than just one. You get one full year to write a dissertation and you get to do more in-depth research. I felt this was better preparation for going on to a PhD.

There aren’t many History of Design programmes around, especially ones in partnership with the Victoria and Albert museum. The programme connects you with the V&A, and through this, you make further connections. I ended up interning in the Asian department for over a year, helping the senior curator with cataloguing on the China Design Now exhibition. By being on this course, you get strong academic training and knowledge of what’s possible, which leads to what you do next.

My work has been case studies of the history of design of ephemeral, consumable objects such as Chinese ink sticks or Western medicine in China. I was the only one who dealt with Chinese objects, studying the Asian strand of the course.

I’m indebted to my parents for funding me throughout the course. I did get a travelling grant from the Gardiner Travel Award to subsidise my travel to Hong Kong for research. This is awarded to students studying the Asian strand of the course.

"In March, I became a research assistant with the V&A for an upcoming exhibition on Chinese paintings in autumn 2013 – this is now my main focus."
Jennifer Wong
Jennifer Wong