Design Trust / RCA Fellowship in Design Curation 2020

18. 2. 2020

As of 10 April 2020, the call for applications for the 2020 Fellowship has been postponed. Please check back on our website and social media channels for updates.

Applications are invited for the Design Trust / RCA Fellowship in Design Curation. Extensively supported by Design Trust, this is a six-month to one-year opportunity for research, learning and engagement at the Royal College of Art.

Based at the Royal College of Art in London, the Fellow(s) will undertake advanced research into curatorial practice in relation to contemporary design and recent design history. Areas of focus might include: strategies for exhibition-making, display, interpretation and collections; design archives; design curating in the public sphere; design theory and method as curatorial practice; curating emergent technologies; and history and current practice in design curating.

Starting in September 2020, the Fellow(s) will undertake research and study, embedded within the RCA’s vibrant interdisciplinary environment and supported by Design Trust. The programme of studies is designed to broaden the Fellow’s knowledge and skills in curatorial practice, theory and understanding of design, to enable self-reflection on the Fellow’s practice to date, and to support their specific research direction. Each Fellow follows a bespoke programme tailored to their needs and interests; components vary across seminars and workshops in design and curatorial history, theory and practice, interdisciplinary workshops and projects and a placement with one of the RCA’s external partners.

Additionally, the Fellow(s) will devise and pursue an original, independent research project related to curating and design in Asia and its global contexts. The project is supported by engagement with subject specialists at the RCA and guided through regular 1:1 tutorials with a named project supervisor. The project will take the form of written work (ordinarily a body of writing comprising c. 10,000 words) and a public event in London, potentially but not exclusively an exhibition. The Fellow(s) will have access to technical resources and training facilities at the RCA, appropriate to their research.

Research may explore curatorial practice and theory in relation to existing and emergent design disciplines (such as product design, service design, wearable technologies, transport, performance or the digital). It might reflect on or generate curatorial approaches to design’s social, political or cultural contexts past, present and future (for example users/social practices, the public sphere, architectural practice or urbanism). A focus on Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area region is preferred. The research should result in an original curatorial proposal, demonstrate advanced understanding of curatorial contexts and approaches, inform the Fellow(s)’s future practice and show clear potential to inform curatorial practice in Hong Kong/the Greater Bay Area region more widely.

Sharing knowledge and experience generated is an important element of the Fellowship. Fellows’ written work may be disseminated digitally through the RCA/Design Trust platforms, and/or submitted for publication in an appropriate platform. The Fellow(s) will prepare at least one public presentation at the end of their research to be delivered in Hong Kong and/or London. The Fellow(s) will also present a final report on their research findings (including work placement activity) for the RCA/Design Trust and communicate the research process and experience of the Fellowship in an agreed social media programme.

The Fellowship is designed to address the burgeoning field of design curating in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area region 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, biennales and cultural festivals and other new platforms for public engagement with/through design, including urban development and archives).


Applications are welcome from individuals based in or connected to Hong Kong or the Greater Bay Area with a background in curating and a research interest in design. The provision of the Fellowship depends on whether the Fellow(s) obtains a UK visa. Applicants should either hold a postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline or an undergraduate degree with a minimum of three years relevant professional work or academic research experience. Proficiency in spoken and written English is also required.


The Fellowship is established with kind support to the RCA from Design Trust. This covers full fees for the year-long programme, as well as a stipend of £7,500 (6-month Fellowship) or £15,000 (12-month Fellowship) to cover living costs. An additional £3,000 budget will be available to cover further expenses. This additional budget can be used towards a one-off payment for round-trip travel between the place of origin and London; research expenses will be allocated after the research plan is developed and agreed with the RCA.

Assessment Criteria

-  Originality of research approach to design and its related subjects (including demonstration of historical and contemporary knowledge)

-  The research’s significance for Asian design history and contemporary practice

-  Potential for developing original curatorial strategies in design

-  Proven ability of the candidate to thrive in a multidisciplinary environment

-  Proven ability of the candidate to undertake new research to advance their professional growth.

-  Potential for long-term contribution to curatorial development in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area

-  The relevance of the RCA and London as a location.

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.

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 pieces of relevant written work, published or unpublished, of which at least two are in English

-  Evidence of applicant meeting the UK Home Office Tier 4 Visa language qualifications

Completed applications should be emailed to

As of 10 April 2020, the call for applications for the 2020 Fellowship has been postponed. Please check this website and our social media for updates.

The Royal College of Art, the internationally renowned art and design university, provides students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world. A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast paced world. The RCA was named the world's leading university of art and design in the QS World Rankings 2019 for the fifth consecutive year.

Design Trust was established in 2014 by Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, a registered charity in Hong Kong since 2007, as a grant funding platform. Design Trust supports creative projects that develop expertise, build research initiatives and content related to Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. Working across a multiplicity of design disciplines from graphics, media, architecture to the built environment, Design Trust aims to actively accelerate creative research, design and development of meaningful projects that advocate for the positive role of design.