Soviet Design Exhibitions: The changing relationship between the state and the professional design community in the late 1970s Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
Throughout the 1960s, elements within the Soviet state headed by the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for Technical Aesthetics (VNIITE) worked towards having design recognized as a stand-alone discipline that could positively contribute to the success of the Soviet economy. By the late 1970s, the Soviet design profession had gone through its formative stages of defining socialist design and developing a working design system represented by VNIITE.
The purpose of this research is to establish the role of Soviet design exhibitions within the Soviet state and professional design communities, focusing on events that took place in the 1970s in Moscow. By studying images, conducting textual analysis of governmental reports and magazine articles, and by analyzing original oral histories of Soviet designers, a picture of the different types of design exhibitions and their consumption and organization is constructed.
Central to this study have been the activities of VNIITE Department No. 10 on Exhibitions and Propaganda, specifically the exhibitions that took place at the Center for Technical Aesthetics created by VNIITE in 1978. These exhibitions were largely used as information modules to promote the successes of the VNIITE system. This research examines them, alongside two exhibitions organized by an independently formed design collective that operated with support from the Union of Artists of the USSR in the late 1970s.
Through a study and comparison of these projects, a view of the Soviet professional design community is formulated, highlighting their engagements and frustrations with the Soviet design system before the period of 1980s reforms.
School of Humanities
MA History of Design, 2017
Natalia is a design historian with a particular interest in the post World War II Soviet design experience. Prior to the MA Natalia worked at the Moscow Design Museum managing their international exhibitions department. Natalia has practical experience in organising travelling exhibitions, curating both Russian and international-themed design shows, as well as skills as an experience design history researcher. She has worked on exhibition shows in Russia, China, the UK, Holland and Italy, including a show at the Milan EXPO in 2015 and the London Design Biennale in 2016.
- BA History, McGill University, 2011