RCA suspends Design Interactions admissions

The College says it has suspended this year’s intake to the course due to the staffing situation being affected by “events beyond our control”. Design Interactions founders Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby left earlier this year.

Design Interactions co-founder Anthony Dunne, who stood down earlier this year. Image courtesy of RCA
Design Interactions co-founder Anthony Dunne, who stood down earlier this year. Image courtesy of RCA

The Royal College of Art has suspended its Design Interactions course following the departure earlier this year of the programme’s founders Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby.

The RCA says it has suspended this year’s intake into the Design Interactions course to focus its resources on the current second-year students. An RCA spokeswoman said that most new students who had been offered places on Design Interactions had accepted a place on another RCA course.

Dunne & Raby announced in March that they were leaving to focus on their own practice and gave a departure date of July. The Design Interactions course was founded by Gillian Crampdon Smith as Computer Related Design and became Design Interactions under Dunne & Raby’s leadership in 2006.

No replacement appointed

The RCA said at the time it was launching an international search to find a new Head of Programme for Design Interactions.

No-one has as yet been appointed to the post, but a spokeswoman for the RCA says a new head is expected to be announced later this week.

A statement from the RCA says: “[We] put in place full staffing arrangements [for Design Interactions] shortly before the end of term. However, the situation changed over summer due to events beyond our control.

Applications set to open

“Our students are our number one priority. Rather than risking any further disruption to their studies, we took the difficult decision to suspend this year’s intake to ensure our already enrolled students did not experience any issues.”

The RCA spokeswoman says applications for next year’s Design Interactions course are set to open in two weeks’ time.

Dunne has described the aims of Design Interactions as “exploring new roles, contexts and approaches for interaction design in relation to the social, cultural and ethical impact of existing and emerging technologies”.

“Designing for the complex people we are”

He added: “Students work closely with experts outside the College, designing for the complex, troubled people we are, rather than the easily satisfied consumers and users we are supposed to be.”

Graduates from the Design Interactions programme include experience designer and International Space Orchestra director Nelly Ben Hayoun and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, whose work explores synthetic biology.

Avant-garde and experimental

Marguerite Humeau, whose projects include The Opera of Prehistoric Creatures, also graduated from the course. She told Design Week: “My two years in the Design Interactions department were a life-changing experience.

“The course was avant-garde, experimental, and gave us a space of total freedom as well as total support. I still thank my tutors everyday for helping me to be where I always wanted to be.”

Discover more:

• Dunne & Raby to leave Royal College of Art

• Ab Rogers steps down from RCA where he reinstated interiors course

• Jeremy Myerson steps down from RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Centre

• “We will introduce contestable design into the long history of design at RCA”

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