Introduction by Ruth Slatter.
This article was originally published on visit1862.com in January 2016.
In December 2015 History of Design (HoD) and Information Experience Design (IED) MA students from the Royal College of Art (RCA) collaboratively hosted a one-day exhibition at the Machines Room, London. ‘Memories of the Future’ reflected on the historical culture of great exhibitions and expos in order to consider what the future of expos should, or could look like. (A review of the exhibition has been published on Fig.9 Collective website.)
Students on the project were specifically encouraged to use the 1862 International Exhibition as a starting point for their research and the editors of Visit1862 joined the teaching team as historical consultants. Additionally, Visit1862 has become a complimentary ‘exhibition’ space, hosting written reflections on the process of researching and creating ‘Memories of the Future’. Of particular interest is the HoD students’ collaborative post reflecting on working with design students to collectively research and curate knowledge (see here).
Over the next couple of weeks Visit1862 will be hosting a series of individual posts written by HoD students based on the research they carried out at the very beginning of this project. Each post reflects on a specific aspect of the 1862 and other historical exhibitions from a range of methodological perspectives. Therefore, the posts both demonstrate the historical research that the final exhibition was grounded on and are interesting contributions to Visit1862’s research aims in their own right.
The editors of Visit1862 would like to extend their thanks to Sarah Teasley, Justine Boussard and the RCA HoD team for inviting us to participate in this project. We very much enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to this collaborative process. More importantly, thanks must also be given to all the students who were involved in the project particularly the six HoD students whose work we’ll be sharing over the next few weeks.
Visit1862.com in an online space dedicated to collaborative research into the 1862 International Exhibition. Established and edited by Helen Cresswell and Ruth Slatter, visit1862 is one project associated with the Figure 9 Collective that engages with design history beyond the academy.