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RSA Replay: Craft and Technology; the Twin Pillars of Innovation

Betty Jackson CBE RDI gives the 2015 RDI Address exploring the source of creativity and innovation in design.

RDI Address 2015

Over the last half century much of the thinking about creativity and innovation in design has focused on abstracts, on concepts – an intellectual hinterland. The incoming Master of the Faculty for the Royal Designers for Industry, Betty Jackson, internationally acclaimed fashion designer and educationalist, suggests that this has resulted in an imbalance, in the neglect, both in practice and in teaching, of the two most important factors driving worthwhile, valuable innovation. She defines these two as Craft, the designer’s hard-earned, hands-on skill with her materials, and Technology with its ever-evolving, ever more ingenious ways of manipulating the physical world. Only when a designer masters both can she or he produce truly original, useful and beautiful work.

Prior to the Address, 5 new Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) and 3 Honorary RDIs are welcomed to the Faculty.

The title ‘Royal Designer for Industry’ was introduced by the RSA in 1936 to promote the important contribution of design in manufacturing in industry, to encourage and reward outstanding practitioners, and to raise the profile of the design profession. Now regarded as the highest accolade for designers in the UK, it is awarded annually to designers of all disciplines who have achieved sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value, and significant benefit to society. A maximum of two hundred British designers can hold the title and non-UK designers may receive the honorary title Hon RDI.

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