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The Volatility of Definition

Unusual and overwhelmingly pressing concerns clearly impact and influence this year’s graduating RCA School of Communication cohort, splintering the year into far more personal and personalised portfolio statements. These pressures, and the consequent instability of practice, have polarised the students into two loci of practice: one that questions the world, and one that questions our place within it.

This shift in core practice is to one in which our roles as communicators is interrogated within a society that demands both unceasing response and vigil. These responses in many cases utilise new and renewed platforms to find expression – many students have become modern-day publishers, using public and printed spaces as politicised and participatory communication environments, while others have explored performance and place as their primary territories.

Producing high-quality work as ever, students have also questioned the means of production and finish as part of their narrative. Rough-edged or unpolished work brings a rawness of experience and directness of message. Sometimes the work decays and destructs to reveal new thoughts and possibilities; sometimes technology helps to elevate and connect us with new experiences that expose the world we inhabit in a different way.

There has also been a strong retrenching of the spirit of collaborative practice, a fundamental RCA principle. Many of the students I have selected here are part of collaborative groups, whose individual works sit alongside and contribute to joint-action and output.

I would have liked to include more students than space allows – in fact, I would like to include all of them. So many have excelled in this difficult and challenging time.

Professor Neville Brody

Professor Neville Brody

A Professor in RCA’s School of Communication, Neville Brody runs his design agency, Brody Associates, from his studio in London, working worldwide with clients such as Channel 4, the BBC, Christian Dior, Supreme and Samsung. He is a Royal Designer for Industry and received a Special Commendation in the Prince Philip Designer’s Prize.

Previously president of D&AD, Brody has always led his practice through experimentation and exploration, through influential projects such as FUSE and the ADF, and has continually placed a key focus on education and how it could develop to better support creative development and opportunity.

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