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Cabinet: Connection and Collection: Architecture, Design and Education

Date posted: 17/12/2010

School of Architecture, Design and Environment, University of Plymouth and Plymouth City Museum and Archives: Tuesday 17 May 2011

This event, hosted by University Plymouth, and the Design Knowledge Research Group in partnership with Plymouth City Museum and Archives is a one-day conference to coincide with an exhibition in Peninsula Arts Gallery. The symposium will discuss notions of heritage, place-making, museums and museum/university connections and the relationship they have to design, sustainability, education and experience.

Is the best defence to funding cuts to accelerate the drive to think less about museums as places where things are kept, and more about them as places where interactive learning takes place, playing a role in a wider civic, social and economic context? Are we now shifting into an era where we move away from designing for people and towards designing with people, through active co-creation, where people are active participants in the process rather than passive test subjects or observers? And can we go further towards the emerging practice, towards designing by people? How can our museums and universities facilitate this? What can be the radical, contemporary strategies that release the historical perspectives of the architectures of the museum and refocus them towards different connections and how can the design of museums and the design of experiences contribute to this?

This conference will follow several of these themes and will give current focus to the following:

  • How would government funding be used to encourage museums to seek out more self-supporting governance models, and build the skills, leadership and confidence that will enable them to succeed as sustainable parts of the cultural economy.
  • How can museums see themselves primarily as open spaces for sharing learning where the public, rather than passively observe, can meet, participate and converse - and where after the visit, the conversation continues through the use of digital technology
  • What scholarship and expertise levels can be embedded in some institutions and shared better and gaps identified. How can the sharing of access to all publicly supported databases work?
  • How can museums work and collaborate with, partners who bring the most public benefit, including commercial, social and educational organisations.

The conference seeks diverse responses from a broad range of disciplines. Conference will run in conjunction with an Exhibition at the Peninsula Arts Gallery featuring the work of twelve architects and designers and their responses to Plymouth City Museum and Archives. The conference proceedings will be published. Conference publication will come afterward and selected authors will be asked for a commitment to deliver a book chapter within 90 days of their return home from the conference. This book will allow people to expand and improve their papers with new insights and ideas based on the conference conversation.

Key speakers from a range of practice-based and academic backgrounds include:
Glen Adamson: Victorian and Albert Museum, London
Lucy Bullivant: Architect and Curator
Peter Higgins: Architect and Designer ‘Land Design’
Neil Leach: Architectural and Cultural Critic
Matt Hunter: Designer and Director of Design Council

Cabinet: Connection and Collection: Architecture, Design and Education is hosted by the Design Knowledge Research Group, University of Plymouth. The conveners are, Roberto Fraquelli, Peter Quinn Davis and Mathew Emmett,

Submission deadline for abstracts: 20 January 2011

For more information: