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Make and Create: Design and Innovation in Practice Based Research

Make and Create: Design and Innovation in Practice Based Research

19th July 2018

On Monday 9th July, 2018, the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) and V&A Research Institute (VARI) were delighted to host a day of events to discuss how design influences practice-based research and is being used to give students and professionals a better understanding of practical creative thinking.

The day brought parliamentarians together with leading figures from the creative industries and academia to discuss the work of the V&A Research Institute. The VARI aims to take the V&A's pioneering research culture into a new phase that allows the Museum to experiment with new ways of studying, displaying and accessibly storing its collections. VARI will give better access to the V&A's objects and join its experts with academic scholars, practicing designers and makers and members of the general public.

The morning session was held in the Macmillan Suite in the Houses of Parliament. Following an introduction by APDIG Co-Chair, Barry Sheerman MP, a panel discussion chaired by V&A Director Tristram Hunt showcased the VARI’s research to an audience of over seventy people.

Dr Helen Charman, Director of Learning and National Programmes at the V&A noted how the concept of craft and “thinking though making” has helped to transform design education, with craft increasingly becoming a way of reconciling traditional making techniques with modern systems thinking.

VARI's Deputy Director, Dr Marta Ajmar, followed by explaining V&A’s ambitious plan to showcase their collection across the United Kingdom, whilst incentives such as Encounters on the Shop Floor aims to showcase practical design skills to professionals who do not traditionally consider themselves to be designers.

Brandon Matoorah - a former student at Bridge Academy, Hackney – spoke about how the V&A’s outreach to his school had given him access to creative and design education and far broader skill-set to read engineering at university.

Finally, Professor Mark Miodownik of UCL’s Institute of Making spoke about how his university have created a library of materials and resources – helping to engage with academics ranging from historians and anthropologists to chemists and physicists.

The panel discussion was followed by an informal drinks reception in the Gilbert Bayes Sculpture Gallery at the V&A.

Following the event, the APDIG’s Co-Chair, Barry Sheerman MP – raised the issue of design education in the House of Commons  

The APDIG is currently incorporating the issues raised into a report on design skills and education, which will be launched at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Monday 1st October, 2018.  

Additional photographs from the morning event are available here.