Art and Design in the Future University
Much contemporary public policy assumes that the purpose of the University is to be an engine of economic growth, generating new technology and know-how for a consumer society. If this is indeed the nature of the future university, then how might the humanities and social sciences be accounted for? Applied social science often functions as a kind of market research, whether for public services or the “knowledge economy”. The digital humanities are closely concerned with the design of shared and reflexive “user experiences”. In all these cases, academic work becomes entangled with the practices and epistemology of art and design. Yet the craft traditions of the art and design professions sit uncomfortably in an institution like the University of Cambridge. This informal talk will offer some comparisons to institutions such as MIT and the Royal College of Art whose public role has been more overtly instrumental, and also to our neighbour Anglia Ruskin University. Bronac Ferran, a previous Visiting Associate at Darwin who is recently affiliated with both RCA and ARU, will join us for this discussion.