Exhibition organiser and CDH PGR representative, Nicola Miles, shares an insight on the  exhibition, Design Matters.

Following on from the CDH workshop in May this year, Curating Exhibitions in Practice, post-graduate students from a wide range of disciplines were offered the opportunity to create an exhibition in spaces within the university that are not regularly used for displays. These are the ground floor of St Peter’s House Library and the foyer of Pavilion Parade. Both spaces have a considerable daily footfall providing a good opportunity to exhibit work. Through a collaborative process, students chose to share an object or objects of design related to their research. They were asked to explain why these pieces mattered in the context of design and to explore the significance of the resulting relationship between the designer-artist, the design piece, and the user of the object. The project evolved over a period of four months enabling students to select their exhibits and consider the significance of each piece.

What is unusual about this exhibition is not just the diversity and range of exhibits but the fact that the exhibits have been chosen by students studying different disciplines with their own perspectives on viewing design. These include students who are undertaking and analysing a process of creative practice as designers and artists, and those who are researching objects from a design history and curation viewpoint. The resulting selection, therefore, offers insights into the past through historical objects as well as engaging with the present and offering potential new understandings of both.

The exhibits are composed of a wide variety of different materials and media which include porcelain, paper, film, print, metals, photography, textiles, and plastics. The chosen objects range from eleventh century illustrated poems, DIY devices for the home, tiny porcelain dolls, a film exploring fantasy and reality, a pocket mirror, elaborately embroidered and block printed textiles from Pakistan, and musical anklets for Kathak dance.


  • Stephen Anderson, ‘DIY Design’, Sequential Design / Illustration MA
  • Tim Auty, ‘Aperture’, Photography MA
  • Yao Feng,‘In That Sweet Reunion’, Sequential Design / Illustration MA
  • Sally Jones, ‘Frozen Charlottes’, History of Design and Material Culture MA
  • Preksha Kothari, “A dancer dies twice—once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.’ Martha Graham,” Curating Collections and Heritage MA
  • Sophie-Maris Hoelge, ‘Mirror, Mirror…’ History of Design and Material Culture MA
  • Chelsea Newton Mountney, ‘Sewing the 1960s’, History of Design and Material Culture MA
  • Che Pan, ‘The WORLD in Your Eyes’, Sequential Design / Illustration MA
  • Lois Pawson,‘The Illustrated Rubiyat’, Sequential Design / Illustration MA
  • Jin Qian, ‘Inside and Outside of Drawing’, Sequential Design / Illustration MA
  • Muhammad Umer Rehman, ‘Love Embedded in Stitch’, History of Design and Material Culture MA
  • Lada Shabunina, Sequential Design / Illustration MA
  • Shelley Warren, ‘DIY Design’, Curating Collections and Heritage MA

You can read a review of the exhibition here: https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/aadm/2022/08/15/student-led-exhibition-explores-the-nature-of-design-this-summer/