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University of Kingston

School of Art and Design History

Case Study Report, September 2003

Fran Lloyd:


Background Report 1
Background Report 2
Exploring Contexts Course Outline and Bibliography
Gender and Identity Course Outline and Bibliography
Modernisms and Post-Modernisms: Design and Architecture after 1945 Course Outline and Bibliography
Contextualising Photography and Bibliography
Sample Student Work
Course Feedback

NB. For pdf versions of the course outlines please go to the GLAADH Resources section and then choose Initiatives Course Materials and scroll down the index.



In the two years of the project the staff team have revised or introduced new modules at all levels on the BA (Hons) History of Art, Architecture and Design. This has encompassed 7 modules to date. At Level 1: Introduction to Architecture and Design History, Exploring Contexts and Object Analysis. At Level 2: Conceptualising Photography and Fashioning Gender and Identity. At level 3: Modernism and Post-modernisms and Meanings and Methods.

In addition, staff have begun to incorporate changes to the existing MA course in Design History, Curating Contemporary Design (in partnership with the Design Museum), Film Studies: Emergent Cinemas, and the MA in Art History. The revised MA modules will be piloted in 2003-4.

At undergraduate level the decision of the teaching team to integrate issues of cultural diversity and difference across the curriculum has had a marked effect on the overall BA. In particular, emphasis was placed on the two new level 1 modules that introduce students to the resources of their discipline (Exploring Contexts) and to different methods of approaching objects (Object Analysis). The aim was to ensure that from the beginning of the degree students were aware of both a wide range of material and cultures, and different ways of engaging with them.

Both of these modules were piloted in semester B of 2002-3. Each consisted of over 50 students. These included History of Art, Architecture and Design students (HAAD) and those studying Media and Cultural Studies, English, Drama or Film Studies. Hence, the issues raised in the modules reached a wide range of students.

Both modules were constructed so that they enabled students to select their own case studies for the assessment, while the lectures, visits and seminars introduced all students to issues about display, mediation and meaning. The student feedback (via anonymous questionnaires and a final student workshop) was complimentary and positive (see comments below). In both modules, a number of students chose to select objects, exhibitions or issues that focused on diversity and cultural difference (see example of a student essay below).

The two Level 2 modules Contextualising Photography and Fashioning Gender and Identity were primarily taken by HAAD students and studio based BA students studying Fine Art, Graphics, Illustration, or Fashion. Again student questionnaire feedback was highly appreciative of the teaching and the range of material covered in each module (see student comments below). Several students chose to focus on issues of gender, ethnicity and cultural diversity in both modules.

The revised Level 3 module, Modernism and Post-Modernism, focused on design and architecture in a global context. It extended the range of material covered to include Spain and raised issues of regional and national identity and issues of globalisation. Student work showed a sophisticated understanding of the issues and the student feedback questionnaires commented on the quality of teaching. Issues of cultural diversity, transculturalism and the postcolonial were also central to Meanings and Methods.

What Difference Has it Made?

The GLAADH project at Kingston has made a substantial difference in a number of ways. It has provided a timely impetus to focus on changes to the existing curriculum within a particular time frame. From the experience to date it is clear that staff and students are enthusiastic about extending the curriculum and engaging with current issues of identity, place and gender that encompass areas and aspects of Europe and beyond that are less well covered. Six academic staff have been involved in the project and the impact on teaching and learning is evident through student feedback, particularly at Level One and Two. Current first year students now expect issues of cultural diversity, difference and globalisation to be a natural part of their degree. This will have implications for further developments within the curriculum at Levels 2 and 3.

The building up of visual and reading resources has also made a difference and will enable further developments. From the beginning the project involved library staff to help in sourcing materials. Here the sources cited by GLAADH, together with AMICO, have been helpful.

The GLAADH project has raised awareness about what is taught and how, and the historical and cultural frameworks that have informed the discipline hitherto. This has had an impact on the development of the recently validated BA (Hons) in Visual and Material Culture which will be launched in 2003-4. The emphasis will be on developing understanding and knowledge of cultural diversity and difference through thematic modules such as City Cultures, The Politics of Craft, and a Special Subject on Diasporic Spaces.

Alongside these developments two major projects have been initiated in relation to Curating Contemporary Design. Building upon the strong Korean community in Kingston, a resource on Contemporary Korean Design and Visual Culture has been developed (see below for further details). Supported by Kingston University funding, the teaching and research resource is available to students on line through the University Blackboard system. As part of the MA in Curating Contemporary Design (in partnership with the Design Museum), a conference on Collecting Now was jointly organised by Kingston University and the British Museum in March 2003. The papers from the conference are currently being prepared for publication on the web (see below).

Overall, the GLAADH project at Kingston has been an ambitious one. Pragmatically, the staff team has put in place key questions and issues, and developed supporting case studies within a relatively short time span. One of the major challenges has been the sourcing of good quality images. However, a shift of paradigm has begun that will continue to develop beyond the scope of this project and will impact on all aspects of our teaching. The strategic approach taken by Kingston is certainly transportable. It does not rely upon specialist knowledge, but on a willingness to re-think existing material, to make connections outside of usual trajectories, and to foreground issues that have now become central to the discipline. In most cases, this has involved raising key questions about how particular subjects have been approached historically and to offer ways of both critiquing and opening up debates by extending the material in accordance with individual staff interests. In Kingston's case this has been possible through the creative use of existing local resources such as Kingston Museum and the Local History Research Centre, Dorich House and the Stanley Picker Gallery for the Arts alongside the rich resources of nearby London (see below for further details). By taking a team approach, including the involvement of library staff, the project has been manageable and beneficial to all concerned.


Korean Contemporary Design and Visual Culture

This resource explores the rich diversity of Korean contemporary design. It has two aims, the first to help students and staff resource information and ideas about Korean visual culture and to use this information in teaching both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The second aim of the project is to act as a template for resource information on other countries and cultures outside of Europe and America. We hope to launch other resource information sites and we look forward to ideas and collaborators. This project has been launched on Blackboard at Kingston University but will be available on the web in the Autumn once copyright clearance is complete.

This project was compiled and edited by Professor Catherine McDermott Eunjoo Maing, MA Curating Contemporary Design programme run jointly with the Design Museum and Kingston University. We would like to thank the ETU Unit at Kingston University for funding the project.

Collecting Now- Published conference papers on the Kingston University and British Museum websites, Autumn 2003

This conference was a collaboration between The British Museum and the MA Curating Contemporary Design course of the Faculty of Art, Design and Music, Kingston University. It considered The British Museum's mission for collecting the modern and will reflect more broadly on collecting now, including issues of globalisation, identity and the responsibilities of museum collectors. The papers are of special interest to students and educators of design, art and design history, museology and cultural studies lookig to explore issues in a global context. Papers include keynotes by Frances Carey and Tanya Harrod:

  • Modernity and tradition in the contemporary art of the Middle East: Leila Shawa and other artists
  • Banknotes and Identity in Eastern Europe
  • Central Asian felts from Kyrgyzstan
  • Images of war in Vietnam
  • Collecting for whom?

Further Information Contact: Catherine McDermott

Dorich House, Kingston University -

Dorich House, tall and narrow in the style of Eastern European architecture and influenced by the modern architecture of the Thirties, was built on a double plot of land on Kingston Hill in 1936 by Dora Gordine and her husband The Hon. Richard Hare. The name "Dorich" is a conflation of the names Dora and Richard. Designed by its owners it reflected their devotion to sculpture and art with two studios and a spacious gallery. The private apartment is on the top floor with a roof terrace.

As Dora Gordine and Richard Hare died without heir, the executors of their estate entrusted the house and its contents to Kingston University to provide a permanent home for the sculpture of Dora Gordine and the Russian art collection of Richard Hare.

Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University -

The Stanley Picker Gallery acts as a focus for the cultural needs of Kingston and is an innovative and exciting centre of contemporary arts for the pubic. The gallery presents a wide spectrum of work by professional artists from the UK and abroad and holds concerts and other related public events.

Built on a small island on the Hogsmill River, the Stanley Picker Gallery has now celebrated its second full year as Southwest London's newest purpose built art gallery. The building provides a vast and dramatic exhibition space with a high balcony which gives views over the whole gallery. In addition there are three artists' studios in the building, for international and UK-based Picker Fellows in Fine Art and Design.

Funded by the Stanley Picker Trust, the Gallery acts as a focus for the cultural needs of the University as well as being an innovative and exciting centre of contemporary arts for the pubic.

Exhibitions have included Sex and Consumerism, Contemporary Japanese Art, 14 February - 21 March 2002, contemporary art by leading Japanese artists, exploring the provocative boundaries between life and art.

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