Polish design education on display
The objective of academic education is to prepare students for future challenges. Is it not a paradox, however, that we train future designers based on what we know from the past? In a world that has since changed so dramatically, is traditional education still valid? After all, it is increasingly important to have the ability to adapt to change, be flexible, search for and select information. How to teach students so they can develop competences adequate to the requirements of the future market? What are those requirements?
Social research has identified potential scenarios of the future labour market. The employee’s attitude will become more important that expertise; team work will prevail over individual efforts; freelancers will replace many permanent positions. This overlaps with changes in the environment: driverless cars, self-service hotels, sprawling cities, ageing populations, migration crises, remote-controlled surgical procedures, democratised space travel… How will design graduates find their bearings in this world?
After the era of communism and a centrally managed economy, Poland opened up to a free market and democracy in the 1990s. It soon transpired that the early years of capitalism generated unforeseeable phenomena: the labour market focused on sales and trade while the quality of products was not a priority. It was only recently, after more than 25 years, that companies established at that time started to transform in interesting ways. Looking at education curricula, projects and student works which address them, it seems that a paradigm change is looming in the petrified educational system. What we need today is less scholasticism and more experimentation and intuition, more ability to combine abstract motions with properties of materials, and more team work.
Similar to electronic devices in stand-by mode, designers should never switch off, they must be capable of fast learning and of fast response. Stand-by also means standing up for yourself. Young Polish designers are proud of their roots and heritage, aware of the local potential, capable of tapping into the still vivid making culture in a modern way.
The exhibition asks universal questions about the status quo and the future of education both in Poland and globally. The objective is to take part in a global debate on design education, and to open up a space for discussion. The goal is not only to present works of students and design schools but mainly to track the educational process and ask questions which are key to education. The exhibition should also foster reflection on how the educational process should change in order to adapt to the changing world. This is why the exhibition opens with a review of the leading trends expected in the labour market in the nearest future with a special emphasis on the roles of designers.
To understand the Polish educational system, it is important to introduce the specific context of Polish design.
Along with presented objects, there will be room for comments from students, educators, the curator, and the visitors. In addition, its graphic design will reinforce communications through visual representations of the educational process and academic structures (infographics).
Selected designs will be arranged in a random order, in contrast with academic logics. However, the exhibition method is disciplined, reflecting the educational process and its stages (including errors, mistakes, and accidental discoveries). In addition, the designs will be accompanied by comments from the authors and the curator, assisting the visitors in understanding the objects. Working on the assumption that every object tells a story, we will make sure that it is clear on many levels (visual, aesthetic, textual, etc.). In addition to objects, the exhibition will showcase educational methods. Selected student project ideas will be described by educators and outlined in simple step-by-step instructions. Instead of a heavy catalogue, visitors can collect project sheets by picking the content which sparks their interest. They will also be encouraged to share their experience, using provided blank sheets. The exhibition will close with a contact hub – a space furnished with furniture pieces from Polish designers, offering a small library of selected publications and magazines related to the exhibition.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of events: workshops in designing new educational models, meetings with selected designers participating in the exhibition, curator talks and guided tours.
Marta Piechocka-Nowakowska and Michał Nowakowski
Curator: Agata Nowotny
Exhibition design: Wojciech Cichecki
Graphic: Rafał Benedek / Type2
Temporary Art Centre (TAC)
Map No. 34
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Organized by Adam Mickiewicz Institute/ Culture.pl
Culture.pl: promoting Polish artists and designers worldwide
The goal of Culture.pl, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute's flagship brand, is to promote Poland and Polish culture abroad. Through the presentation of high-quality initiatives and events in the fields of art, music, and design, Culture.pl aspires to introduce an international audience to contemporary Polish culture. The Culture.pl website provides daily fresh information on the most exciting Polish cultural events worldwide; it is also the biggest and most comprehensive source of knowledge about Polish culture. A special section dedicated to Polish design includes information about the latest trends, and the newest projects by Polish designers – the young and up-and-coming and the well-established and world-renowned.
Worldwide promotion of Polish design and its continuous support is one of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s main priorities. Design serves as a platform for the presentation of contemporary Polish culture and the promotion of Polish creativity. Our success in the pursuit of this goal has been possible thanks
to fruitful cooperation with such renowned partners as Ventura Lambrate (Milan), London Design Festival, Maison&Objet (Paris), Paris Design Week, DW! São Paulo Design Weekend, Inno Design Tech Expo (Hong Kong), Business
of Design Week (Hong Kong), Istanbul Design Week, International Furniture Fair Singapore, Design Trade Copenhagen, International Contemporary Furniture Fair (New York), Wanted Design (New York), Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair, What Design Can Do! (Amsterdam), Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven) and Wallpaper*.