Design Museum as a place of learning
The Design Ventura summit “Design: the problem and the solution” was held on 29 March 2017. Its purpose was to bring together educators, designers, cultural providers and policy makers to discuss how they can ensure that young people are developing creativity, design thinking and employability skills to prepare them for future success.
The following extract is by Helen Charman, Director of Learning and Research, Learning at the Design Museum and her take on the issues discussed.
The challenges facing design education today are not insurmountable. They are an example of the constraints that designers work within, creatively and with a problem solving mind set. The new Design Museum is an example of this. A refurbishment of the former Commonwealth Institute, a grade II listed modernist building and design landmark that by the opening of this century was largely defunct, it was also an opportunity in waiting. An opportunity for investment in design education that can be a critical force in the twenty-first century, harnessing the potential of design to tackle the challenges of today’s complex world, addressing the skills and workforce needs for a joined up and industry relevant approach that promotes applied creativity and can navigate the challenges of a post Brexit UK. The museum’s response to the problem of design education posed by the summit is to place learning at the core, physically, by establishing a campus-style learning environment with dedicated provision across a suite of spaces in the Swarovski Foundation Centre of Learning, and programmatically, through positioning the museum as an educational hub that connects learning with real world contexts for design – a core tenet of our response to the Industrial Skills Strategy green paper. Design Ventura, the museum’s flagship programme for secondary schools, is a great example of this approach. Supported by Deutsche Bank, the project connects young people to the professional context and practices of design by teaching enterprise, creative and business skills to enable young people to respond to a live brief. The economic future of the UK lies in its creative industries, the UK’s fastest growing sector. The museum has a serious purpose and role to play in education. It is both a showcase for the world’s most inspirational examples of intelligent design and a place to model design education for the 21st century, helping to create the people the future needs: empathic and collaborative, creative and critical thinkers and doers – because with Brexit now a reality, the future isn’t going to get any less complicated anytime soon.