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Friendly chimeras: the evolution of critical creative practice in exhibition design

By Geoff Matthews


This paper aims to develop and articulate an historical perspective on the relationships between exhibition design, academic endeavour in the humanities and professional development. It reflects on design culture and educational philosophy and traces the recent history of curriculum development in exhibition design.\ud The exhibition design course at University of Lincoln has a sixty-year history. Reviewing the way its philosophy has evolved reveals a consistently dynamic reflection of real-world interests. This has involved a pragmatic and somewhat eclectic appropriation of theory, particularly from the expanding field of museology, and its integration into an increasingly critical mode of creative practice. When the course became an undergraduate honours degree in 1991 the �project rationale� was introduced as an alternative to the traditional undergraduate dissertation. The principle of integrating theory and practice proved enormously successful and now applies throughout the curriculum.\ud Discourse analysis is applied to articles and course documents from the period 1970 to 1999. Bibliographical survey is also used to analyse the range and type of literature used to support students� studies. This is set against a background of influences on the exhibition design curriculum. These include contemporary changes in design practice, the growth of research into and for design, and changes in the national and institutional frameworks for course development.\ud The paper concludes with an evaluation of the role of the humanities in exhibition design creativity and highlights outstanding issues in the discipline

Topics: K100 Architecture, W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
Year: 2007
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