The pedagogy of ‘Good Design’ in art and design education, in relation to the ILEA/Camberwell Collection and the University of the Arts London.
Camberwell College of Arts
The Inner London Education Authority (ILEA)/Camberwell Collection comprises a few thousand domestic and industrial objects in various materials including; glass, ceramics, metal, plastics and textiles. Between 1952 and 1976 this body of material culture had been used as a handling collection circulating in London schools until the disbandment of ILEA in 1990, when it was acquired by Camberwell College of Arts.
My research aims to tell the story of the ILEA/Camberwell Collection adopting art and design historical methodologies that acknowledge the problem of a largely undocumented body of material culture. In addition, the research examines the implications of ‘good design’ as a term used by the authorities that shaped the ILEA/Camberwell Collection, that is the Council of Industrial Design and the capital’s local authorities (the London County Council and later the Greater London Council).
With respect to these authorities, I consider the Collection as a reflection of the ethos of ‘good design’ taking into account how the connotations of the phrase change across time.
A dominant research theme is the relevance of ‘handling’ and its possibilities/limitations as a means of perceiving ‘good design’ and ‘making’. This leads to issues relating to the the impact of handling (and circulating) collections as a valid parameter in craft and design education, within and outside the physical and symbolic space of the museum.
Diverse attitudes to ‘making’ in studio crafts and design are being investigated within two contexts: firstly in a historical context that examines the ILEA/Camberwell Collection as part of the wider debate of British art and design education during the latter half of the twentieth century; secondly, in a contemporary context that views the Collection as a repository of objects, which retain their educational potential beyond the aesthetic didacticism associated with ‘good design’.