Department 21 is a project where designers, artists and architects can meet, collaborate and share working space beyond the institutional boundaries of their own disciplines.
Department 21 was set up in 2009 when a group of students at the Royal College of Art, London initiated an experimental cross-departmental studio space, thereby engendering new discussions and ways of working than had been seen in recent years at the college.
Emerging from an institutional context in which individual authorship and outcome-driven projects are the dominant frames for creative production, the project is the result of a need for new, collaborative forms of exchange between students from different disciplines: it is a means to get in touch with other peoples’ practices (and in this way question one’s own practice), as well as being a platform to support collaboration beyond specialties.
The philosophy driving Department 21 is an emancipated vision of postgraduate studentship, where all those entering a space of education have the responsibility to take a position regarding their learning process. Contrary to the commonly found format of short interdisciplinary collaboration with a secure outcome, Department 21 feels it necessary to create premises for individuals to encounter the others’ spontaneous collaborative working methods based on common interests, curiosity and critical dialogue. The ongoing research work of the project is therefore to identify, test and refine methodologies that enable this type of encounter to emerge and thrive.
Info via Department 21