We are the Design Museum Learning Team and we warmly invite you to join us, and a lively range of thought-provoking contributors, on the professional journey from the museum’s current site on Shad Thames to our new home www.newdesignmuseum.tumblr.com in the former Commonwealth Institute in South Kensington, scheduled in 2016 in what promises to be an elegant and sensitive redesign by John Pawson. I’m Helen Charman, Head of Learning at the museum and I’ll be posting and responding regularly here along with my high-kicking colleagues in the learning team. This blog aims to be a shared reflective space for cultural learning peers, design educators of every stripe and all others who share a genuine interest in the role and value of design education in the museum context.
What IS Designerly Learning?
Glad you asked. The blog’s called Designerly Learning for two reasons. First, our programmes aim to model the way designers think and work within the unique context of the Design Museum as a site for learning.
Design thinking as a tool for programme and audience development is enjoying a moment in the sun within the museum community internationally – long may it continue. For example, www.designthinkingformuseums.net, which emerged from a partnership between SFMOMA and the Stanford d.school, features Design Thinking for Visitor Engagement, a paper written by Dana Mitroff Silvers and Molly Wilson and presented at 2013 Museums and the Web.
Exploration of the role of design thinking in museums continues in Suse Cairns’ museumgeek.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/on-the-paradoxes-of-empathy and is the topic of conversation in the monthly podcast Museopunks 2, Flip the Script. If any of this makes your design education ticker tick quicker, may I humbly direct you to my paper in Design and Technology Education: an International Journal 15.3 on designerly learning as a model for teaching and learning.
Secondly, the process of producing a new museum is in many ways a designerly one. Without wishing to over-simplify the process, there was a problem (we have outgrown our current site); a solution/opportunity (create a new museum) and in-between a veritable ideas–led smorgasbord of consultation, exploration, experimentation, iteration, co-creation (including you, contributing to this blog) evolution, refinement, production, delivery, experience… all of which is taking place within the necessary and productive constraints of resource, because design = creativity within limits.
This blog is our way of pressing pause amidst the whirlwind of delivering a live programme at the current site, integrating this with our HLF Activity Plan for Learning and Participation, focusing on Audience Development, and shaping future programmes for the new museum. It’s a space to ponder rather than plan and produce. We do hope you will join us on the journey, helping shape the new Design Museum’s learning programmes for the 21st century and rethinking what design education in the museum can be in today’s complex world. #newdesignmuseum
Which topics would you like to see designerly learning explore?