Design Trust / RCA Fellowship in Design Curation 2017

14. 5. 2017

Applications are invited for the Design Trust / RCA Fellowship in Design Curation, which is designed to support the development of curatorial careers in design.

The deadline for applications has been extended until 23 June.

The Fellowship is designed to address the burgeoning field of design curating in a global context, and its place within the interdisciplinary curatorial field (such as the growth of new institutions devoted to design, the presence of design in art museums, biennale and cultural festivals and other new platforms for public engagement with design; including new urban development).

Based at the Royal College of Art in London, the Fellow will be part of a centre for research and teaching in both curating and the history of design. The successful Fellow will have the opportunity to engage in advanced research into curatorial contexts for contemporary design practice and recent design history, as well as develop new thinking in curating practice and theory aligned with the social and cultural contexts for design. Areas of focus will include: strategies for exhibition-making, display, interpretation and collecting; the history and current practices of design curating; artefactual knowledge and the understanding of design’s systems, processes and mediation.

Starting in September 2017, the Fellow will undertake 12 months of research supported by a tailored programme of academic training designed to broaden their knowledge and skills in curatorial practice, theory and understanding of design. The programme of studies will include history and theory seminars, curating workshops and a curatorial placement with one of the RCA’s external partners. The specific programme will be devised with the Fellow and his/her supervisors, and will take, on average, two to three days a week.

In addition, the Fellow will devise and develop an original research project related to design in Asia and its global contexts, supported by subject specialists at the RCA. Research may explore topics related to the different disciplines of design (such as product design, service design, fashion, interiors and the digital), or be an interdisciplinary enquiry into an aspect of design’s social, political or cultural contexts in recent and current practice (including the relationship to contemporary arts or architectural practice). A focus on Hong Kong is preferred but not essential. The research should result in an original curatorial proposal that informs future practice and demonstrate advanced understanding of curatorial contexts and approaches. 

The development of curatorial methods and content will be demonstrated through written and non-written elements (such as digital, photographic, film) and may include, as appropriate, a prototype exhibition at RCA or an online curatorial component. In addition, the Fellow will produce a portfolio of writing (c, 10,000 - 15,000 words) which may take the form of several papers or an extended essay/thesis. The Fellow will also prepare a report on their research findings (including work placement activity).



Applications are welcome from individuals based in Hong Kong or the Greater Pearl River Delta region with a background in curating and a research interest in design. The successful applicant must secure a UK visa (Tier 4) in order to take up the fellowship. Applicants should either hold a postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline or an undergraduate degree with minimum three years relevant professional work or academic research experience. Proficiency in spoken and written English is also required.


The Fellowship will include a maintenance grant of £12,000. Additional support from the RCA is available to support the development of research outcomes and projects.

Assessment Criteria
- Originality of research approach to design and its related subjects (including demonstration of historical and contemporary knowledge)
- The research’s relevance to Asian design history and contemporary practice
- Potential for developing original curatorial strategies in design
- Proven ability of the candidate in undertaking advanced research
- Potential for long-term contribution to curatorial development in Hong Kong and the Greater Pearl River Delta region

Review Process
The fellowship will be awarded on a competitive basis by a committee comprising representatives from the RCA and Design Trust. After the initial screening process, shortlisted candidates will be invited to an in-person or remote interview in June.

How to Apply
Applicants should provide:
- A cover letter that includes a 1,000-word statement of research interests
- A full curriculum vitae covering education, professional experience, honours, awards and publications
- Two letters of recommendation (academic or professional), submitted directly from the referees to
- Three to five pieces of relevant written work, published or unpublished
- Evidence of applicant meeting the UK Home Office's basic Tier 4 Visa language qualifications

Completed applications should be emailed to

The closing date for application is 23 June, 2017.


About Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading university of art and design, placing at Number One in the 2016 and 2015 QS World University Rankings. Specialising in teaching and research, the RCA offers the degrees of MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD across the disciplines of applied art, architecture, fine art, design, communications and humanities. The RCA community includes more than 1500 Master’s and doctoral students and more than 1000 professionals interacting with them – including scholars, art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisers and distinguished visitors.