Celebration of DesignLab Nation – Bradford District Museum & Galleries and the V&A, London

Article dated Thursday Aug 24, 2023 at 05:59 PM

Students from three local secondary schools – Hanson Academy, Beckfoot and Beckfoot Upper Heaton - attended Cartwright Hall Art Gallery to celebrate their achievements in the DesignLab Nation project, delivered in partnership with Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and Bradford District Museums & Galleries.

DesignLab Nation is part of the V&A’s National Schools Programme, which aims to inspire the next generation of designers, makers and innovators and expand the reach of the V&A collections. The programme brings together secondary schools in partnership with regional museums, designers, industries and the V&A to engage students and support teachers through in-depth design projects. Students worked to a 4-day design challenge, co-designed by the lead teachers at the secondary schools and local designer/maker Zahid Rauf. The project focused on the theme ‘Textiles for Traditions’.

Through visits to Bradford Council’s Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford Industrial Museum and the V&A, London, students were able to take inspiration from the rich textile history of the Bradford district, as well as Bradford District Museums and Galleries’ wide-ranging Islamic Art collections. Students also had the opportunity to visit Melrose Interiors in Wibsey, where they were given a tour and shown how the design skills they had been learning in the project can translate into creative careers.

To support and inspire students in their design challenge the V&A loaned Nylon rainbow sweater and trousers by Lebanese fashion designer Tatyana Antoun, part of her Vamata Collection 2018, to Cartwright Hall for the academic year 22/23.

Tristram Hunt, Director of V&A said: “Congratulations to this year’s brilliant cohort of DesignLab Nation students in Bradford, who have drawn on the rich heritage of the Bradford district’s textile and Islamic Art collections to celebrate creativity, bound in local resonance. We are proud to continue our partnership with Bradford District Museums & Galleries that is enabling so many of this district’s young residents to explore and build their creative capacity.”

Kate Kennedy, Learning Producer, V&A said: “It has been fantastic working with students from Bradford district as part of the V&A’s DesignLab Nation project. Over the course of the project, we have seen students develop their passion, enthusiasm, and confidence for design through engaging with national and regional museum collections and DLN designer, Zahid Rauf. We hope this experience will encourage students to select a creative subject at GCSE and become the next generation of designers, makers, and innovators!”

Sue Jacques, Purchasing & Creative Manager at Melrose Interiors said: “Being involved in the DesignLab Nation project has been such a rewarding experience all round. Our aim was to show the students the reality of design in the workplace and offer a broader perspective of the product journey (from a commercial viewpoint). We were really impressed with how the students took this on board and related it to their designs. As a long-standing Bradford business (55 years), we are in full support of preserving local textile heritage and improving job prospects in the area.”

The students created their own textile pieces, designed to enhance or support a routine, ritual or tradition they take part in.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for Bradford District Museums & Galleries said: “The students have produced some fantastic final pieces of work. It was great to see them taking so much inspiration from our venues at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery and Bradford Industrial Museum as well as the V&A (London) and you could see this reflected in their final designs.”

The students’ finished work will be on display at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery until September 2023.

DesignLab Nation is generously supported by Art Jameel as part of the V&A’s Jameel Programme. Bradford District Museums and Galleries are delighted to have taken part in DesignLab Nation – influencing and inspiring the career pathways of young people from our district.

DesignLab Nation will be continuing in the Bradford district in academic years 23/24 and 24/25 and we are currently recruiting new schools to take part. For further information about this year’s programme please contact Sofia Fallon, Learning Officer, Bradford Museums and Galleries – sofia.fallon@bradford.gov.uk

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