state of education

Hello David,

I would like to take issue just a little with your standpoint expressed in your last mail [Post Industrial Design….]

Amongst some of the finest ‘Woodies’ that ever lived I would propose those delightful industrial designers, the Shakers…

Best from a cool and dry Long Island in NY where I’ve come to celebrate my 60th.

I used to lead the first year industrial design programme at the RCA 20 years ago, and one of the elements the students all enjoyed was the process of exploring other craft disciplines. A three week sojourn to the V&A painting department, or a group design programme shared with other disciplines, architect, glass maker, industrial designer, fashion designer. The results were always completely surprising and interesting.

Best to you



Hi Hugh,
Thank you so much for the response. There are, of course, caring people, like you, that deliberately buck the trend, but I believe my point holds good for the direction of travel of arts education. We now have the ridiculous situation of four year product design students having to come to us for post grad training because they have never, in four years, done anything meaningful with a bit of wood or any other material for that matter.

Their concepts are virtual, developed with little more than a “specifiers manual” knowledge of material. Worse than that, they have no real concept of how to make anything to any standard of competence beyond Blue Peter hot melt glue and toilet rolls.

I am so sorry Hugh, I get upset and angry at how young people are treated and now made to pay £9,000 a year for the privilege.

with kind regards


Ahhh and I do agree with you too…
I also used to be the external examiner at several universities in industrial design… Finally on one occasion, my co-examiner and I insisted on a downgrading of all of the students by 11% in order bring some sense of reality to the university…

I could go on…

And, now working as a photographer, I see fresh assistants with no or little relevant digital experience and no knowledge of how to address the subject with rigour.

Rant over!

Best to you



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