As Director of Design at the RSA Emily encourages debate, research, public engagement projects and design education to explore the potential of design today
In 2009 Emily Campbell published a new account of design for the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA), arguing that the potential of design today is to make people and communities more resourceful and self-reliant. As Director of Design for this 250-year old society, she is testing this account in debate, research, public engagement projects and design education.
As the British Council Arts Group’s Head of Design & Architecture for twelve years Emily commissioned the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennales of Architecture from 2002 to 2008; two of the first major international design exhibitions to tour India and China; My World, an influential exhibition about craft and design today, and design workshops all over the world. Her critical debates on design, initiated at the British Council, continue with RSA events like ‘Hacking design: folly, theft or a new democratic dawn?’ Her essay on contemporary London was published in the 2008 catalogue to Design Cities for the Design Museum and Istanbul Modern.
Emily has a BA in English from Cambridge, a Diploma in Clothing Technology from the London College of Fashion and an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale School of Art. She has also been a pattern-cutter for the fashion designer Jean Muir, a project manager at the design consultancy Pentagram in London and a graphic designer at Pentagram in New York.
Emily serves regularly as a visiting critic and speaker at universities in the UK; as a jury member for design awards and an advisor on international design initiatives.