Professor Catherine McDermott celebrated by industry magazine
Professor Catherine McDermott was named one of the hottest properties in the design world last month by eminent industry magazine, Design Week. The magazine’s ‘Hot 50’ was a list of design champions whose commitment and determination burned brightest during 2009.
An eclectic collection of the people, places and organisations that have been inspirational during the past year, the list contained some surprising inclusions alongside the Kingston academic. Not only did Professor Mc Dermott find herself rubbing shoulders with such cultural icons as Anish Kapoor and Anthony Gormley; the list also included broadcasting heavyweight the BBC and retail power-house Selfridges, alongside the even more surreal entries of Abu Dhabi and London.
A Professor in the School of Communication Design, Catherine set up Kingston’s MA in Curating Contemporary Design with the Design Museum in 2001. Amongst other things, Design Week cited her pivotal role in instigating the Dream Lab challenge, in which Chinese design students were invited to communicate the science of sleep and dreaming using their creative skills, and Project Kingston Africa, a new venture linking design students at Kingston with South African Aids Charity Wola Nani, as reasons for including her on the list.
Professor McDermott said that although she did not place much importance on industry roll calls, to have received recognition from her peers was a welcome acknowledgement of her work: “Any industry lists of who’s in and who’s out are always interesting – but they do need to be more enjoyed than celebrated,” she said. “It is nice to be selected, especially by such well known industry peers and colleagues. It’s also a way of getting our work here at Kingston better known, and hopefully better funded.”
However, for Professor McDermott, it was the projects she has developed, with the support of colleagues from Kingston and across the wider design community, which were of real importance. “From my point of view, what makes me really proud is work such as Dream Lab and Project Kingston Africa, which reflects the teamwork of colleagues from several university faculties, including designers Simon Maidment and Rebecca Wright from our Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.”