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Social design, biodesign and a celebration of Factory Records: UAL at London Design Festival 2019

digital photograph & nano-fibres growing through cellulose.
digital photograph & nano-fibres growing through cellulose.
Bennie, Adrienne -Anonymised Nano Microbial Structure (2017), digital photograph & nano-fibres growing through cellulosev2.
Written by
Cat Cooper
Published date
06 September 2019

University of the Arts London (UAL) will showcase pioneering education and research to lead the long-term, sustainable evolution of design across a series of events as part of London Design Festival 2019, 14-22 September.

The Festival also sees an exhibition at UAL’s Chelsea College of Arts celebrating the revolutionary cultural impact of one of the UK’s most influential record labels on the music, art, design and ideas of our times.


EMERGENCE - 14 Sept – 16 October: This exhibition and events programme presented by The Design School at London College of Communication, UAL, explores the role of design in working towards goals of sustainable production and consumption, biodiversity, inclusiveness, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. Considering the question, what can we do together that we cannot do alone?, Emergence features a range of projects for service design, social innovation and sustainable futures.

Introduction to UAL Social Design Institute

A new cross-college research platform within UAL in its pilot year, The Social Design Institute at UAL concentrates a range of research and practice in social design and design for sustainability across the University. Its mission is to use research insights to change how designers and organisations do design, generating positive social and environmental outcomes.

The Institute will host its inaugural public events on 19 September in association with EMERGENCE:

  • Research Workshop: Futures That Need Anticipating: Making and Discussion Studio
  • Panel discussion ‘Is social design: political?; utopian?; transformative?; necessary?’
  • Social Design Institute: An Introduction. Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), UAL; Professor Lucy Kimbell, Professor of Contemporary Design Practices, UAL.
  • Keynote: ‘Staying with the Problem: Social Design Research and Practice’, Professor Guy Julier, Head of Research and Professor of Design Leadership, Aalto University.


At Biodesign Here Now: the London Design Festival exhibition exploring the future of materials, manufacturing, architecture & fashion, and as part of the EMERGENCE exhibition, UAL will showcase the research project Pharma-Factory, exploring how new high value products for medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and cosmetic use can be developed using  plant molecular farming via state-of-the-art technologies.

UAL is one of 6 academic partners to the project which works across 7 countries and works with a range of partners including a cohort of small to medium (SME) enterprises.

Earlier this year, UAL design researchers held bespoke co-design workshops to understand perceptions around the value of these advanced new technologies.

Designing in turbulent times

Central Saint Martins, LVMH and Maison/0 exhibition for London Design Festival 2019. 14 September - 27 October: Faced with increasingly urgent social and environmental pressures, creativity can be a powerful agent for innovation and transformation. Situated in the King’s Cross Design District, this exhibition will showcase Central Saint Martins, UAL graduate projects offering propositions for more sustainable and equitable futures.

Factory Records: Use Hearing Protection

Chelsea Space at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL will host Use Hearing Protection FAC 1 – 50 / 40, celebrating the ground-breaking early works and on-going influence of Factory Records. Curated by Jon Savage and Mat Bancroft, this hotly anticipated exhibition tells the story of Factory’s formative years from 1978 to 1982 through the first 50 numbered Factory artefacts, including works by Peter Saville, Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, Durutti Column and Linder Sterling.

London College of Fashion pop-up

A pop-up showcase curated by London College of Fashion, UAL for the Festival’s Chelsea Design District will challenge the notion of how products change and influence the world we live in, with pieces combining traditional craft with new technologies.

New courses

Explore our new courses: MA Biodesign at Central Saint Martins and MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures at London College of Communication.

Main image: Adrienne Bennie: Anonymised Nano Microbial Structure (2017), digital photograph & nano-fibres growing through cellulose. Adrienne Bennie.