Design Museum announces Johanna Agerman Ross as chief curator

As Agerman Ross steps into the new role from the V&A, current chief curator Justin McGuirk will turn his focus to the museum’s climate-focused research unit Future Observatory.

The Design Museum has announced Johanna Agerman Ross as its next chief curator, taking over from current chief curator Justin McGuirk in September 2023.

Agerman Ross joins the Design Museum from her role as curator for 20th Century and contemporary furniture and product design at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), where she has been since 2016.

During her time at the V&A, Agerman Ross curated the permanent gallery Design 1900-Now with Corinna Gardner and the touring international exhibition Plastics: Remaking Our World, in collaboration with Vitra Design Museum, V&A Dundee and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology Lisbon.

She also led the new initiative Make Good: Rethinking Material Futures, an annual symposium and display focused on natural and renewable materials in design and architecture, supported by John Makepeace OBE.

Photo by Chris Tang

This is also not the first time Agerman Ross has worked at the Design Museum, previously working as a researcher there in 2007 and 2008.

Agerman Ross is from Sweden and moved to the UK to study a BA in Fashion Promotion at the London College of Fashion, later completing a MA in History of Design at the Royal College of Art.

In addition to her curatorial experience, Ross has worked in design media. She founded the design journal Disegno in 2011, and previously worked as deputy editor of Icon magazine. As she takes up the role at the Design Museum, Agerman Ross will continue to act as director at Disegno.

“Johanna Agerman Ross is hugely respected across the cultural and design sectors. She is a writer, teacher, magazine founder, consultant and curator”, says Design Museum director and CEO Tim Marlow.

“Her experience ranges from museums and academia to publishing and journalism, wide-ranging but rooted in the understanding, exploration and mediation of design. She has all the attributes to be an outstanding chief curator at the Design Museum and I’m very much looking forward to working with her.”

Writer and curator Justin McGuirk, who has been chief curator at the Design Museum since 2015, will be moving into a new role at the museum, leading its research unit Future Observatory.



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