I recently received a marketing email from IKEA, inviting me to take a look at the company’s new SVÄRTAN range. I was struck by the incongruity of the use of the Swedish word for "river" to name a collection inspired by and co-designed in India. As a matter of fact however, the adoption of design ideas, appropriated, adapted and sometimes even stolen from elsewhere has long played a role, certainly in British interior design and decoration.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the choice of the Orient as a means of styling the interior was a fashionable practice for the well-to-do. More recently, the post-modern and twenty-first century deployment of "exotic" motifs can be seen in British shopping centres, for example. Acquiring themes associated with the glamour or mystery of foreign lands has a long history as a tool in the interior designer’s repertoire.
This studio will examine, reflect upon and critique this history, also reviewing theories around global-flow, translocation and post-colonialism.
Arjun Appadurai, Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy in Theory Culture Society 1990; 7; 295
Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter, A taste for the Exotic: Orientalist Interiors, Thames & Hudson, 2011
Gervase Jackson-Stops, Views of the Royal Pavillion, Pavillion Books, 1991
John Potvin, (ed.) Oriental Interiors: Design, Identity, Space, Bloomsbury, 2015.
Edward Said, Orientalism, Penguin Books, 2003
Michael Turner, Osborne, English Heritage Guides, 2014
Outline of the first seven weeks of study
Week 1: Introduction: aims, outcomes and overview
Week 2: Visit to the Royal Pavillion, Brighton
Week 3: Review of photos and drawings of the Royal Pavillion, presentations and class discussion
Week 4: Visit to Leighton House, Kensington
Week 5: The ‘Exotic’ in interior design, talk and class discussion
Week 6: How to construct a dissertation using ideas developed during this studio series
Week 7: Brief presentation and dissertation proposals, class discussion
Studio 1: Another India
Studio 1: Another India will examine, reflect upon and critique the historic use of "exotic" motifs in design.
Studio 2: Contemporary Ecology
In Studio 2 we will explore environmental topics through the lens of art, architecture, spatial practice, media and design disciplines.
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry is an exploration of race, gender, class and more in music.
Studio 4: Not allowed
Studio 4: What Not to Wear? will investigate the roles that dress and fashion play in our workplaces.
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories allows you to critically examine any work that can be seen as theory or presents an interesting relationship with theory.
Studio 6: Curating as a Spatial Practice: From the Wunderkammer to Installation art
Nico de Oliveira
Studio 6: This dissertation studio is designed to help students who are interested in curating as a broad subject, as well as those who wish to contextualise their own practice within the scope of displaying art.
Studio 7: Souvenir
Dr Lesley Stevenson
Studio 7: This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past.
Studio 8: Post – card
Studio 8 will look at one element of that system – the picture postcard – from a number of different perspectives.
Studio 9: ‘The Form of the Text’
Studio 9: Together we will explore the space of criticism; acknowledging our point of encounter with objects, places, sites and processes and the relationship between text, writer and reader.
Studio 10: Constellating
As creative practitioners we digest and produce images every day – as citizens of the digital age we consume between hundreds and thousands of images each day. This dissertation studio will slim down your daily diet to one image.
Studio 11: Science Fiction Futurity
Speculative descriptions of the future reveal a magnified — or distorted — reflection of the fears and desires of the present.
Studio 12: Alternative Fashioned Modernities
Much is happening in the world today that foregrounds questions pertinent to our identities in a globalised world.
Studio 13: Desire, Trauma, History
How does the relationship of memory to fantasy affect history? What are the links between desire, sexuality and trauma? How are these relationships played out or negotiated in visual and written practice? These questions will form the beginning of our enquiries into artworks, films and literature.
Studio 14: Design and Nature: Forms of an Entanglement
We will look at how the idea of nature has been constructed over time and place, and study its impact on design practice in an age marked by the sustainability imperative.
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas encourages you to explore how and why we make music, including its origin, relationship to technology and more.
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling will see you produce storygraphs, storyboards and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars.
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences will encourage you to study an audience group using qualitative research methods in your investigations.
Studio 18: Time and the Image
This workshop will address some perennial problems of writing in the field of visual culture.
Studio 19: Material in Motion
Studio 19: This studio will explore a reading of objects focusing on the interplay between materials, the objects they form and their context.
Studio 20: The Liminal
This Dissertation Studio examines instances of the liminal as they occur in critical theory and culture, and is open to any topic and students from all disciplines.
Studio 21: Reading the library (and nothing but the library)
This year, Studio 21 will stage an unusual experiment. It will move, unpack, catalogue, and perform readings from one private library; and make this library, without exception, the single resource for all the research and writing in the studio.
Studio 22: Meaningful work
Studio 22: Meaningful work explores the value of making and the idea of craft as meaningful work.