The Studio is a live, working studio space occupied by second year MA Visual Communication students at the Royal College of Art. The space has been designed to sustain a studio practice for students, while inviting the public to observe, engage, and interact with the works displayed. Students will be active in the space for the duration of the show.
Its conception is the result of the following concurrent considerations:
The Value of Visual Communication
Visual Communication practice is often interdisciplinary. A single project may involve input from colleagues, subject experts, technicians, and audiences, and lead to a range of outcomes spanning multiple mediums. The Studio is an attempt to find a more suitable approach to exhibiting layered, multimodal practices-in-progress. It departs from traditional exhibition models that focus on finished outcomes, and instead takes the form of a live studio where work is simultaneously produced, displayed, critiqued, dismantled and remade.
The Value of Education
In the cultural sector, a general lack of resources and support has made it more difficult for institutions to run gallery-style shows. This is a consequence of decade-long policies driven to defund the cultural sector, privatise the built environment, as well as the costs of higher education. We believe an exhibition concept that abandons the individualised, gallery-style model (and its significant material requirements) in favour of shared resources and radical collaboration is a necessary response to these conditions.
The Value of Collaboration
As curators, we did not predetermine how access to common resources in the studio should be organised. Instead, we provided the physical materials (modular furniture, a set of movable display surfaces, printers, projection equipment), then allowed both the spatial arrangement and social organisation of those materials to emerge naturally over the course of the show. Here, The Studio has been designed by the practitioners who are working within the space. It is an investigation in to how a studio within an educational institution can function when its students choose to design, and delegate space and materials amongst themselves, in the true spirit of collaboration.
We welcome you to The Studio, and hope you enjoy your visit!
— The 2020 Visual Communication Show Representatives
Statement co-written by Roland Ross, Kat McGrath and Max Kohler