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    The contemporary challenge of curating Brazilian design

    Duarte, Frederico André Silva (2021) The contemporary challenge of curating Brazilian design. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis addresses the exhibition and collection of design artefacts developed in Brazil between 2004 and 2014. During this exceptional decade of economic growth, social mobility and ideological struggles, Brazil challenged its traditional role as a peripheral, underdeveloped nation to become a key player in a multipolar, but increasingly fragmented and unequal world. Throughout this period, Brazilian designers were faced with a historical opportunity to claim a local, critical autonomy in their practice. Such practice integrates the quest for a more critical, self-reflexive positioning with a commitment to the reduction of dependence, the promotion of social equality and the consolidation of democracy. Although not contradictory or self-excluding, these two readings of design and autonomy tend to generate significantly different practices and results in their intent, process and effects. An introduction to the research parameters and institutional framework of this collaborative doctoral research project, developed at the V&A and Birkbeck College, and the exhibition ‘How to Pronounce Design in Portuguese: Brazil Today’, is followed by a discussion on design definitions and the contemporary public sphere of design curation and criticism. Chapter 2 addresses theoretical positions regarding shifts in dominant design discourses and quests for autonomy in design practice. Chapter 3 observes the key facts, events, issues and global ambitions that shaped Brazil’s 2004-14 ‘golden decade’, as well as curatorial approaches to Brazilian design that occurred during that period. Chapter 4 presents the curatorial discourse, display strategies, communication initiatives and critical reception of the exhibition on which this thesis is centred. Chapter 5 analyses a selection of local, critically relevant design artefacts according to the exhibition’s thematic challenges and suggests a collection approach aligned with the V&A’s collecting policy. Arguing for the collection and exhibition of contemporary Brazilian design as a transnational activity that reflects local contexts and global forces, this thesis contributes to a global debate on how design is practiced on a national level but especially how it is interpreted by museum curators within a broader public sphere of design.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2022 17:17
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:16


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