Exhibition design deserves its own CSD sector

The implementation of CSD Exhibitions headed by Neil Potter (News, DW 19 March) is a positive shift for the Chartered Society of Designers.

An exhibition division in the CSD should acknowledge the role of many professionals who- as I have felt myself- have not previously been recognised by the existing areas from interiors to products.

Exhibitions do bring together many of these disciplines, the practitioners are multiskilled and therefore risk being regarded as generalists on the edge of several other more focused fields.

Exhibition design is an independent field rightly resistant to being hidden under another heading. It surely deserves its own.

As with the evolution from the English use of the term “interior design” to the European “interior architecture”, this country could look to overseas examples of respect for the complexities of three-dimensional design including exhibition design.

The American Association of Museums publications refer to many specialists within an exhibition team, with titles such as exhibit artist and chief interpreter to clarify the role, evidence that exhibition design has its own layers which require the support from a section within a professional design body.

As an in-house exhibitions officer at Reading Museum Service responsible for design and installation, at a time when museums are required to adopt the business acumen of a commercial world to survive, I would appreciate the support for my specialist skill area.

Membership of the Museums Association and the Museum & Exhibition Design Group currently provide support for my CPD needs to develop standards of museum practice.

My membership of the CSD should balance this as a forum for design-specific issues applicable to museums.

Cassie Herschel-Shorland

Exhibitions officer

Reading Museum Service

Reading RG1 1QH

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