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School of Arts & Humanities

V&A/RCA History of Design (MA)


The V&A/RCA History of Design MA encourages interdisciplinarity and experimentation in the practice of history, and critical engagements with materiality across a range of mediums, times and places. The work you will find here provides a rich selection from some of this year’s graduating cohort. They ask us to think critically about ways of knowing and the politics of making, designing, collecting, learning and curating. They ask us to think about global East/West/North/South and imperialism in digital, artisanal and design knowledge.

In addition to dissertation and essay research, this cohort has created an array of innovative and engaging digital platforms. Design in QuarantineWord On the Street, and Out of Touch Out of Time are deep and productive engagements with design history as a situated practice, and design as a profoundly social process.

In their previous RCA online group show, Digital Discomforts, students made work that responded to their personal experiences as postgraduate researchers who were just becoming active in the field at the same time as the pandemic arrived and changed all our lives. In their satellite graduation show this year, Material History Virtual World, they stayed with that same topic, but shifted their attention to what this has meant for design history as a practice, and for us as a programme. They will continue to explore this perspective through the round-table discussion ‘Digital (Dis)comforts: The Future of Material Practices?’ during the RCA2021 Show. These platforms combined deliver a powerful message about design history for the future. The full cohort’s final dissertation and project work can be viewed on the Material History Virtual World website.

Digital (Dis)comforts – The Future of Material PracticesMonday 28 June 18:30 (GMT +0)
Digging up the PastIdentitiesMateriality and AbstractionVirtually RealNeighboursCurating & cultureHumanities