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Design Curating and Writing

Design develops fast but does the debate on design as well? The Design Academy Eindhoven pushes forward with a new Masters programme on design curating and writing.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 20-02-2014

As we’ve reported here more than once before, the debate on design lags behind the developments in design itself.  This might simply be because designers are preoccupied with design, rather than debate. But debate can help design, theory and practice can be mutually beneficial, and so the Design Academy Eindhoven is acting. Next academic year a new Masters programme will start called Design Curating and Writing.  

“We’ll mix theory and practice,” says Louise Schouwenberg, Head of the Master programme Contextual Design and one of the initiators of the new programme. “Theorists will have to cooperate with designers so both will benefit: designers will have to think about the representation and description of their work, while the theorists will gain firsthand knowledge about the process of design, including all the pitfalls.”

The set-up was inspired by the experience of the current Master’s programmes. “Some Master’s students are so taken up by their research,” Schouwenberg says, “they graduate based on a thesis instead of designing any objects. These students become writers or curators.”

Effectively it is the type of course these students had carved out for themselves which is being institutionalized. 

Growth of the design field also warrants this development. “Fifteen years ago a designer would create an object and wait if a producer would show interest, or perhaps even a gallery,” says Schouwenberg.  The design field has reached entirely new frontiers nowadays in fields like social design. “Magazines still treat design as part of the ‘lifestyle’ department, but it’s much more these days. We need a body of theory to describe this. We need to think about the way design is presented and written about. It’s time to reinvent our own discipline. Designers need to redesign their own future.”


The new Master programme: Design Curating and Writing is a joint project of the heads of the existing three Master design programmes: Joost Grootens (Information Design), Jan Boelen (Social Design) and Louise Schouwenberg (Contextual Design). Many well known names in the world of design criticism will participate.

Image: Louise Schouwenberg