Monica Hundal

Associate Director - Innovation

Tell us about your role

My role is to enable external businesses and organisations to tap into the expertise of our academic staff at CSM to help drive the development of knowledge, innovation and new networks. We have some of the world’s leading practice-based research centres including the Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) and the Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC). We work with a variety of organisations from commercial businesses through to the public sector.  

What are some of the most interesting projects you have been involved in?

I have been establishing the College's new innovation hub, 'CSM Public', which aims to apply the creative intelligence of CSM to public issues. We already have a number of highly regarded initiatives to build upon, as well as, the ever growing interest of our staff and students who are keen work on projects that contribute to the public good. The move to King’s Cross has also fuelled a desire to connect more with the communities around us and to position CSM as a valuable resource for collaborating with our neighbours. 

Examples of this ‘socially responsive’ work include, 'AIR' which introduces fine artists into local organisations and everyday conversations and situations. Another project was 'Green Camden' conducted in partnership with Camden Council - this involved teaming up students with members of the local community to explore and co-design more sustainable ways of living. They both show how art and design practice can be used to generate a different conversation and perspective around societal challenges and open up new approaches for dealing with issues linked to the environment, well being and community engagement.

The 'Future Wear Summit' that we produced for VF Corporation was also an interesting experience. VF are the world’s largest apparel company - their stable includes many of the denim brands like Lee and Wrangler through to performance wear brands like North Face and Timberland. Our Textile Futures Research Centre worked with them to produce a three day innovation summit held in the US for their senior management and design teams from around the world. We used the summit to bring emerging consumer, scientific and technological trends to life through talks, workshops and an exhibition that translated key themes into prototype products and services to help VF understand what these new advances could mean for the future of apparel. 

Is this your first role at CSM?

I’ve had the same role but it was a fairly blank sheet when I started and it’s evolved significantly over the last 10 years. I've had the opportunity to work with many academics across different disciplines and range of practices and projects. But I've always essentially been the bridge - helping to translate how our knowledge and expertise can benefit the external community.

What did you do before you started at Central Saint Martins?

I had business development roles in publishing and in online commerce. I also spent some time at Sotheby’s helping to organise their Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design selling exhibitions. I enjoy bringing diverse skills and capabilities together to make projects happen. I have been lucky to be always at the cusp of new things - the explosion of the internet, the launch of The Independent newspaper, even the Sotheby’s showcase was very original at the time when I worked on it 14 years ago - Sotheby’s positioned craft and design alongside fine art as ‘future collectibles’, much of that approach has now been adopted into the mainstream. It’s an exciting time to work in art and design as there is growing respect for the role of creative and cultural industries and the strategic contribution it can make both to society and the commercial arena.

What excites you most about working here? 

I feel lucky to work here alongside people who are very committed and passionate about their work, there’s a constant flow of ideas and talent. I enjoy that sense of the unexpected you get from working in a place like CSM.