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The Royal College of Art is the UK’s only entirely postgraduate institution of art and design, dedicated to teaching, research and knowledge exchange with industry. In 2021, the RCA has been named the world’s leading art and design institute for the seventh consecutive year by the QS World University Rankings by Subject. 

One of four Schools at the RCA, the School of Design engages with design on multiple levels, and currently offers nine programmes from the highly conceptual to the deeply practical, with a strong culture of innovation, experimentation and debate. The School is currently undergoing a period of strategic expansion that will result in enhancing and growing our research expertise, our postgraduate research community and will establish new technology footprints that address multi-disciplinary opportunities across many business sectors investigating societal, cultural, economic and global challenges. 

Within the School of Design, the Design Products (DP) programme is about creativity for purpose – educating students to be design leaders, who address real-world challenges through balancing high levels of creativity and technical capability with contextual insight and empathy for people. The programme takes a pluralistic approach to product design by exploring it through a number of design cultures – ‘design through making’, ‘design for manufacture’, ‘object-mediated interactions’, ‘design as catalyst’ and ‘exploring emergent futures’ – underpinned by a set of contextual themes. Students conceptualise and validate ideas by canvassing, provoking, challenging and questioning people, places and things through crafted artefacts. 

The appointment of a new Head of Programme is a part of the College’s vision to create a School of Design of outstanding international reach and reputation focused on creating new interdisciplinary opportunities between and beyond the disciplines and programmes, introducing new programmes that build on established and emerging research themes, and encouraging dialogue and active engagement with intellectual and professional debate from other disciplines and areas of human creativity.

The Conran Chair of Design Products will be the College’s second named academic Chair and a fitting way to honour Sir Terence by keeping his legacy present amongst the vibrant College community.

The Conran Chair of Design Products will provide hands-on academic leadership and take overall responsibility for academic quality and direction, research, teaching and learning, and management of all the resources of the Programme and its staff team. 

Candidates will be proven leaders with an internationally-recognised track record of research in a related field. They will be inspirational teachers, dedicated to enhancing the student experience through high calibre content and innovative teaching methods. They will also have the appetite to seek out interdisciplinary opportunities both within the RCA and externally, and to steward, cultivate and engage with established and new donor communities for fundraising purposes.

If you would like to know more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the Gatenby Sanderson RCA Appointments site, or for an informal and confidential conversation, please contact our advising consultants at GatenbySanderson: 

Stephanie Crossland – 07760 190 290 / 

Hilda Gjika –  

Julia Roberts –   

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