Helen Hamlyn Centre to berenamed reflecting its dedicated focus on design


The Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art is launching a new name and structure next month.

The centre is to be renamed as the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and will focus its work around three research labs: Age & Ability, Health & Patient Safety and Work & City.

The HHC focuses on people-centred design research and is supported by an endowment by the Helen Hamlyn Trust. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the trust’s support of design research at the RCA.

Jeremy Myerson, director of the HHC, says, ’Having the word design in the centre’s title is very important. We are applying to a number of trusts, charities and other organisations and we wanted to signal that we are practice-based.

’In addition, there are now a number of other Hamlyn centres in higher education – such as the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery – and we wanted to distinguish ourselves from them.’

Myerson adds, ’We created the research lab structure because in a tough funding climate with lots of people competing for funds we feel it’s good to draw on pools of expertise. Now the centre has grown – we now have 23 staff – the three labs give us clarity and focus.’

Myerson will lead the Work & City lab, HHC deputy director Rama Gheerawo will lead the Age & Ability lab and senior research fellow Ed Matthews will lead the Health & Patient Safety work. Resident design anthropologist Jo-Anne Bichard will work across the three labs.

The centre’s research associates programme will continue in its current format, but each research associate will be attached to a specific research lab.

RCA rector Dr Paul Thomson says, ’The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, as it will now be called, is one of the jewels in our crown.

’It is our largest discrete research centre with a distinctive profile, a dedicated team of 23 staff, an international reputation and a record of social activism in inclusive design.

’These changes will help to cement its reputation and explain its mission better.’

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