The exhibition will feature work from students studying animation, visual communication and the new programme of information experience design, including graphic design, illustration, drawings, paintings, film, video and interactive installations.
Adrian Shaughnessy, RCA senior graphic design tutor, says, ‘It’s really blown me away. I think in recent years the RCA has been criticised for neglecting the aesthetic, but this year I’ve been really struck by a return to beauty.’
The show, which is curated and mounted by the students, sees work from all areas displayed together, rather than organised by programme or discipline.
From the Animation programme students, one of the highlights looks set to be Neely Goniod Sky’s animated book, with words that literally fly off the page.
More word-based work will be on show courtesy of visual communication student Rosy Penton, who has created a series of posters as part of the programme’s study on social change, which asks students questions about their social backgrounds.
Shaughnessy says, ‘One theme I’ve noticed is the continuing strong interest in social issues. Over the past few years graphic design students have been interested in using graphic design as a tool as a way of seeing the world.
‘They’re not interested in being fetishistic designers who make something that’s just beautiful – they want to use graphic design to promote the things they believe it, and doing that beautifully. I see a real crafty element coming back, where graphic design isn’t just about the result, but the process’
It’ll be particularly interesting to see the work from the information experience design programme, which only began last autumn, and looks to teach students how to work ‘in collaborative, interdisciplinary ways with a range of emerging practices in digital and transmedia design’, according to the RCA.
But from what we’ve seen, it seems the course’s students are more than finding their feet. Among the pieces on show will be Hanna Lee’s piece The Tube Network, which aims to provide services adapted to the individual needs of the people that use the London Underground.
Rather than simply relying on existing digital social network services, Lee proposes that in the future, a new digital network will form whereby the underground tube lines each have different personalities, allowing it to better communicate with its users.
Shaughnessy says, ‘The [information experience design] programme attracted a really adventurous and ambitious kind of student to that department – but I really like how well things like a sound experiment can sit next to illustration and graphic design.’
RCA School of Communication Work in Progress Show runs until 27 January at RCA, Kensington Gore, London SW7