It’s been almost a year since I’ve ventured out to a museum exhibition, and more than two since I had the chance to catch one in London. But with delayed research projects on salvage and upcycling kicking off again, and a small but very welcome early career grant from the University of Southampton’s Humanities Faculty, February seemed like the time to take another trip to the Design Museum to visit its exhibition on ‘Waste Age: What can design do?’
Every year the MA in Global Media Management that I teach on sponsors a series of events and talks around a chosen theme. This includes an annual study visit.
This year’s theme was ‘Mobilities’—in the broad sense, but specifically looking at the ways technology, location, embodiment, and identity inform people’s access to and relationship with the wider world. And shortly before the pandemic closures began we took a study visit to London.
Over the last few weeks we’ve all had to come to terms with cancelled trips, gatherings, and celebrations. Many more plans will likely be cancelled over the coming weeks and months. For me the hardest thing hasn’t been the confinement. I’m a homebody anyway, and have grown comfortable with quiet and isolation. For me the hardest thing has been a lack of new stimulus and input. My way of coping with and processing the world involves a lot of wandering and observation, of looking at new things in new spaces, and using them to think about old things in new ways. Now that I live near London, the ever-changing parade of exhibitions and events on offer has been a welcome distraction and balm against the stresses of work and life.
Today I’m the feeling loss of this distraction acutely. As excellent as the internet and my home media library have been, entertainment you have to curate for yourself is never quite the same as entertainment curated for you by others! And it doesn’t offer the same magical feeling a ‘day out’ can grant you. Tate Britain’s Aubrey Beardsley exhibition, for instance, was something I’d been looking forward to for months. Another exhibition I’d been looking forward to was Two Temple Place’s Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles, which I had planned to visit at the end of March.
Happily, the latter has now started exploring various ways to take women’s textile collections online. The original exhibition set out to celebrate ‘seven pioneering women who saw beyond the purely functional, to reveal the extraordinary artistic, social and cultural importance of textiles’.
As part of this year’s programme of events under the theme ‘Gendering Technology’, my students on the MA in Global Media Management took a study visit to London’s Victoria & Albert museum. In the morning we visited the special exhibition ‘Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt’, which was prefaced by an introduction from exhibition curator Marie Foulston. In the afternoon we were introduced to the V&A’s brand new Photography Centre by Dr Mihaela Brebenel.
This week I took advantage of my stay in the frozen north of Holland to visit an unlikely location: the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Groninger Museum, running from 11 December 2015 to 13 March 2016. A friend recommended David Bowie Is back in December. As a casual fans of his influence in pop culture, my husband … Read more