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School of Arts & Humanities

V&A/RCA History of Design (MA)


The V&A/RCA History of Design programme marks its 40th anniversary this year, as the first ever postgraduate centre in our field. Our expansive chronology now ranges from 1400 to the contemporary and our geographies are truly global, as we continue to forge new ways to think critically about the histories of design. Our work is public-facing and socially and environmentally engaged, in line with our location in the public museum and the art school. This cultural span has been newly invigorated by the research of this year’s graduating students, encompassing histories of material culture, photography, and theatre and performance.

Our graduating cohort of 31 students began with us online, under on-going conditions of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Hybrid working is now the ‘new normal’ for our research community, embraced with criticality in our graduating student’s symposium, website and publication title ‘This Moment is Being Recorded.’ Resourceful, creative and unstoppable, you will find the fruits of their labours across these Show pages, in the student website and publication, and in the pages of each student’s dissertation.

Here are original insights into a dazzling array of research microcosms. This year’s student dissertations have taken us from England to Mexico, Japan, Italy, the Philippines, Russia, Hong Kong, Kashmir, Belgium, Morocco and more. They range confidently between the intensely personal, and the monumentally public, from Caribbean homes in London to the Building Conservation Movement in Bath; from Japanese senninbari stitches to public sculpture in Brussels.

We hope you will enjoy the collection of work you will find here.