News & Events


Recording of the History of Design Symposium 2014 –

‘Begin Where Others End’


The History of Design Symposium 2014 offered a chance for graduating students to present aspects of their theses, around a broader discussion of design history. The symposium was entitled ‘Begin Where Others End’, taking inspiration from a quote by the prolific design historian Paul Greenhalgh: ‘The history of design or material culture, or decorative arts, as it is variously understood, usually begins where others end.’

The aim of the symposium was to present and highlight the entire research process the V&A/RCA History of Design students go through in order to produce their dissertations. We did not simply want to present the finished topics, but highlight the diversity and interconnectedness of the projects by presenting aspects of the research process that stand behind each dissertation. If as a discipline we design historians intend to begin where others end how do we go about this process? The questions we asked were meant to help articulate the various unexpected, difficult, intriguing, etc aspects and methodologies of our research.

In small groups, we tackled the following questions:

Who was the most influential person for your research (dead or alive)?

Why did you choose the objects/material that you chose?

How was your methodology structured?

Where is your research grounded physically or conceptually?

What was unexpected about your research?




Unmaking Things Presents: Death by Slideshow

dbs programme


Unmaking Things presents: Death by Slideshow -A Talk Series Designed to Re-evaluate the Position and Direction of Contemporary Design Research.  

Disseminating some of the vibrant research issuing from students of the V&A/RCA History of Design Postgraduate Programme; Unmaking Things is pleased to announce the launch of its first talk series, Death by Slideshow.

Running each Tuesday evening throughout November, this series will offer insights into a range of material relating to the field of design research, including design practice and theory drawn from an array of geographies, periods and cultures.

Featuring two contributors each evening, this material will then feed into broader discussions around empirical and theoretical research and approaches within the field of design research.

Furthermore the event will reflect on the current direction of design and object-based history; and encourage discussion around the relevance of recent developments to contemporary design practice.

Held between 6-8pm over drinks at the RCAfe (South Kensington), the event is open to all. It is hoped it will prove a valuable opportunity for inter- and cross-disciplinary discussion both within and beyond the boundaries of the RCA.




V&A/RCA MA History of Design Open Day

Friday 29th November 2013


The V&A/RCA Postgraduate Programme in the History of Design is holding its Open Day on 29th November 2013.  The programme offers specialisms in the following:

  • Renaissance and Early Modern
  • Modern and Contemporary
  • Asian (Early Modern to Contemporary)

This two-year MA programme is run jointly between the Royal College of Art and the V&A Museum in Kensington, London.

The Open Day will offer introductory sessions in both institutions, as well as a chance meet staff and students. To register for a place, or for further information on attending the Open Day, course content, fees and application deadlines, please visit or contact

We also welcome enquiries from MPhil and PhD candidates.



Joanne Bailey Muses on History


An article was written by Dr Joanne Bailey, detailing teaching and working with the first year MA students, and which mentions Unmaking Things. Click the link below to see more: