Subject Overview

Critical and Curatorial Practices in Design (CCPD) explores the fields of design criticism, publishing, curating, exhibiting, writing and research. CCPD nurtures a culture of criticality and experimentation, while exposing students to archival research and critical spatial practice. Professor Alan Pert and Professor Philip Goad, along with masters students from The Melbourne School of Design have to date curated six exhibitions: The Motel 2014, Towards an Archive 2015, The House Talks Back 2016, The House of Ideas 2017, Stylistic Species 2018, Endangered Species 2019 and the virtual exhibition, Austria to The Antipodes 2020. The subject is supported by researchers including Dr Catherine Townsend, Jarrod Haberfield and Jeromie Maver as well artist and curator, Dr David Sequeria. CCPD has collaborated with the following Museums, Galleries and Archives: Museums and Collections at the University of Melbourne, The State Library of Victoria, Sydney Living Museums, RMIT Design Archives, NGV, Victoria and Albert Museum, Duldig Studio, Jewish Museum, The Jewish Holocaust Centre, Lyon Housemuseum and Justin Art House Museum.

Excavating Modernism is the ongoing teaching and research agenda for CCPD, which explores the ephemera of past lives, found deeply embedded within the culture(s) of post-war Melbourne, most notably that of the modernist era. Through a critical and curatorial lens, familiar imagery such as specific suburban architectures, landscapes, motifs, post-boxes, or signage can be elevated as objects to be bestowed with significance. Archival material as well as biographical fragments are used as a way of extracting new knowledge, where photographs, letters, drawings, passports, scrapbooks, film and art are used as a means of communicating information and ideas and breaking new ground, which Svetlana Boym, suggests “allows us to take a detour from the deterministic narratives of history”.


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