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Graphic Design

Roland Ross

I am an Interdisciplinary designer and researcher. I make work that utIlises archival material, constructed situations, and observation to develop spatial narratives that subtly critique the environments in which we study and work. These narratives play out ephemerally, in a variety of online and offline settings such as; the classroom, the studio, the exhibition space, the workshop as well as on the world wide web. I use these different platforms as containers to provoke discussions that speculate as to how participation, interdisciplinary education, and collaboration might be used collectively as a method of designing spaces which are more inclusive and reflective of different body and minds.

Together with Max Kohler, Kat McGrath and Julia Schaffer I am a co-founder of the anonymous publishing platform, which provides an alternative space for cultural workers to discuss the urgent issues facing their industry.

I regularly collaborate with Max and Kat on bits of writing, graphic design & curation and with Marnie Hamilton, Bakhtawer Haider, Betty Brunfaut & Ravista Merha on workshops.


Degree Details

School of Communication

Graphic Design

I wasn't going to participate in this online show at first because I felt the limited functionality of its design couldn't support or represent the individual complexities of each student or their work. I still feel that way, but after a conversation I had with someone recently about who our art institutions are designed for, I have started to speculate as to how these virtual spaces might be used as sites to support the people that physical spaces continue to ignore (and continue not to see).

Recent events have forced our institutions to ask some difficult questions and while a lot of them are throwing money around desperately trying to appear inclusive. I want to use this site and its events programme to discuss how we can design something totally new that doesn't rely on pre-existing structures / modes of thought.

Please see the School of Communication home page for details on a series of talks and events that we are organising which relate to this very thing.

Links to resources:

w / Kat McGrath

w / Kat McGrath

w / Kat McGrath

w / Kat McGrath

NAB National Advisory Board, 1983 Cuts Issue. (inverted)

NAB National Advisory Board, 1983 Cuts Issue. (inverted)

Neurodiversity in Albertopolis is a support network that I have been developing with students and staff from RCA, RCM, Imperial and the V&A. Its aim is to campaign for more inclusive study and work environments for neurodiverse people across our institutions. We host bi-monthly talks and workshops from different neurodiverse practitioners and we are currently in the process of creating both a physical (when safe to do so) and virtual space to share our experiences and concerns.

Please see the events programme for information on an upcoming roundtable discussion that we are hosting with Hart Club where we will be talking about the issues that face neurodiverse people in the arts.

S. Thompson 1984, Jaded Palette, ISSUE 6, RCA Student Union (facsimile)

S. Thompson 1984, Jaded Palette, ISSUE 6, RCA Student Union (facsimile)

The Studio

The Studio was a live, working studio space occupied by second year MA Visual Communication students at the Royal College of Art. The space was designed to sustain a studio practice for students, while inviting the public to observe, engage, and interact with the works displayed. Students were active in the space for the duration of the show.

Its conception was the result of the following concurrent considerations:

The Value of Visual Communication
Visual Communication practice is often interdisciplinary. A single project may involve input from colleagues, subject experts, technicians, and audiences, and lead to a range of outcomes spanning multiple mediums. The Studio is an attempt to find a more suitable approach to exhibiting layered, multimodal practices-in-progress. It departs from traditional exhibition models that focus on finished outcomes, and instead takes the form of a live studio where work is simultaneously produced, displayed, critiqued, dismantled and remade.

The Value of Education
In the cultural sector, a general lack of resources and support has made it more difficult for institutions to run gallery-style shows. This is a consequence of decade-long policies driven to defund the cultural sector, privatise the built environment, as well as the costs of higher education. We believe an exhibition concept that abandons the individualised, gallery-style model (and its significant material requirements) in favour of shared resources and radical collaboration is a necessary response to these conditions.

The Value of Collaboration
As curators, we did not predetermine how access to common resources in the studio should be organised. Instead, we provided the physical materials (modular furniture, a set of movable display surfaces, printers, projection equipment), then allowed both the spatial arrangement and social organisation of those materials to emerge naturally over the course of the show. Here, The Studio has been designed by the practitioners who are working within the space. It is an investigation in to how a studio within an educational institution can function when its students choose to design, and delegate space and materials amongst themselves, in the true spirit of collaboration.

Organised and Curated by Myself, Kat McGrath, Max Kohler & Marnie Hamilton.


Curation / Exhibition Design


Dimensions Variable

In Collaboration with:

'The Business of Design' with Max Kohler —

'Here's Jony' with Max Kohler —

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