Exhibition | London Design Festival

Evolution, an exhibition by the London Doctoral Design Centre was held at the Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art. The works in this exhibition celebrated the continued research undertaken by PhD students from Kingston University, The Royal College of Art and University of the Arts London. From smart materials to skateboarding, and surveillance to speculative design, LDoc’s showcase embraced new methods for design research and innovation. A work in progress exhibition and series of workshops aimed to highlight the variety of researchers across the LDoc program, connect with audiences to explore methodologies and gather feedback for the development of individuals ongoing endeavours. As one of three project managers our objectives were to:

  • Raise awareness of the LDoc program.
  • Communicate and share of new ideas and inspiration, network and provide information on students’ research.
  • Provide an opportunity for students to showcase the range of high calibre PhD’s to prospective industry partners and future students.
  • Celebrate the range of innovation and research methodologies through workshops and discussion panels.

Evolution was curated around the three titles; Connect; Extract; Translate which corresponded with methodologies used to navigate the areas of cities and archives; community engagement and computational processes. Moving through the exhibition, visitors encountered research at its various stages: from the dissemination of completed projects, work in progress presented for feedback, and exhibits which themselves collected data as research objects and encounters. These different phases demonstrated the nature of Design Research and the modes of engagement it established with viewers and users at all stages of conception.

As an author, I along with two other research students were responsible for the organisation of the exhibition and workshops. The role included mentoring the exhibitors, making the practical arrangements for the exhibition and organising the marketing and branding of the event. The exhibition demonstrated the potential for the dissemination research paying particular attention to the importance of providing a full narrative within the exhibit and a permanent record of the event. Within the context of my own research, I produced a series of artefacts that illustrated the combined visual narrative of skateboarding’s conventions creating skateable objects incorporating documented images from my recent visit to Los Angeles. Alongside the main body of work, I also exhibited the t-shirt that had held together my elbow during my visit to military hospital in Joshua Tree park. As a research object the t-shirt reflected on my own relationship with the authentic experience capturing the visual construct of my own embodiment with skateboarding.