In Design Interactions we are concerned with the dynamic encounters between people and technologies, in their broadest sense, recognising their full complexity.
For 25 years, each graduating year group has contributed to an evolving conversation about the potential of design to articulate present concerns and to signal and explore possible futures. Alumni have become important figures shaping contemporary understandings of science, technology and culture through their design practice and research.
As a small programme with a diverse student group and staff team, we too are shaped by our own interactions. Current students come from anthropology to advertising, cabinet making to coding – this is a powerful cocktail and means that ‘Design Interactions’ applies as much to the lived experience of students and staff engaging with one another as to the work produced.
Both the themes and forms of projects evolve with each year. In this exhibition alongside products, drawing and film you will see songs from a musical and a 24 hour immersive experience designed for one person.
This year we’ve joked that current students are divided between the ‘virtual world’ and ‘the rest of the world’ but in fact much of our attention has been focused on the messy space in between the two. Different projects explore this ‘gap’ by reflecting on the future of politics, robotics, protest, heritage, entertainment and nature.
Our shared experience this year has been greatly enhanced by a stimulating range of visiting practitioners and philosophers who we would very much like to thank. This will be the last cohort of students to graduate from Design Interactions and so I’d like to acknowledge the amazing staff I have had the privilege to teach alongside during the different ‘eras’ of the course.
I would particularly like to thank Professor Gillian Crampton Smith and Professor Tony Dunne, the two longest serving, inspiring and influential course leaders who shaped the programme’s evolution. Thanks to their teaching and the innovative work of all our students I am confident the Design Interactions conversation will continue to impact at the RCA and in the outside world for a long time to come.
Acting Senior Tutor
In Design Interactions we explore new roles, contexts and approaches for design in relation to the social, cultural and ethical impact of existing and emerging technologies. Projects, which are often speculative and critical, aim to inspire debate about the human consequences of different technological futures — both positive and negative. Students work closely with experts outside the College, designing for the complex, troubled people we are, rather than the easily satisfied consumers and users we are supposed to be. Project outcomes are expressed through a variety of media — including prototypes, simulations, video and photography. Graduates go on to set up their own studios, work in industry research labs and design consultancies.
Professor Design Interactions 2005 – 2015
London SW7 4EU
+44 (0)20 7590 4353