The brief

Course Title: BA Interior Design Unit Title: Collaborative Project Unit Credit: 20
Year/Level 2/5 Term: Spring 2014
Project Title: The Cumin Museum ‘Arte or Artefact’ Issue Date:  5th December 2013 (For the research element). Submission Date:

24th Feb 2014

Lead Tutors:

Steve Manattini and Gregory Messiah

Specialist Supporting Tutors


Plagiarism: When submitting work for assessment, students should be aware of the UAL guidance and regulations in concerning plagiarism. All submissions should be your own, original work. Lecturers may, at their discretion ask you to provide an electronic copy of your work on an appropriate media application in order to check it through the JISC plagiarism website. You must retain an electronic/digital copy of all submitted work until the end of your course.


This unit has the following aims:


  • To offer you the opportunity to work collaboratively with students from other courses and disciplines across the College, and more widely with collaborators externally;
  • The unit will introduce you to team skills and the roles and responsibilities associated with group working and additionally enable you to put into practice principles associated with personal and professional development;
  • You will work in interdisciplinary teams on live, competition or set projects in which you will use your subject specific skills, in collaboration with those of other disciplines, to achieve a common goal. The unit requires that you establish teams with specific roles and responsibilities related to the research, analysis, concept generation, presentation and communication of solutions.




Indicative Content


The following areas will be explored and applied in this unit:

  • The establishment of teams and team building in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • Team roles and responsibilities;
  • Interdisciplinary research and analytical skills related to the design, media and communication processes;
  • Conceptualisation and ideas generation;
  • Presentation and communication skills;
  • Evaluative skills.


Learning Outcomes


On completion of this unit you will be able to:

  • Confidently engage in focussed research and demonstrate confidence in the application of analytical skills that will assist with the generation of appropriate solutions to posed problems (Research and Analysis).
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the application of subject discipline, alongside the sharing and exchange of knowledge with other disciplines within the College (Subject knowledge).
  • Demonstrate confidence in the communication and presentation of ideas to an identified audience through effective means (Communication and Presentation).
  • Show evidence of engagement with the principles of Personal and Professional Development (Personal and Professional Development).
  •  Evidence the ability to collaborate with those of a different discipline in undertaking a common project, demonstrating an interdisciplinary perspective (Collaboration and/ or Independent Professional Working)

For more information about Learning Outcomes, go to section 2.0: Course Aims and Outcomes and section 6.6: Marking Criteria.








“Si ton musee est mort, essaye le mien” (if your museum is dead, try mine!)


The context:

Introduction: The above quote was made by the artist Jean-Francois Bocle, born on the French West Indian Island of Martinique and whose work looks at the moral issues of Ethnographic collections. He angrily questions the relevance of museums, how they, aquir(ed), curate, exhibit their works and above all, defend the three pronged thorny issues, which we will over the course of this unit be looking at: the morality of acquisitions; are they perpetuating or promoting the last vestige’s of empire and with it, the connotations that it represented and finally, how do we, as future thinkers and creators, design spaces that are relevant to the new generation of stakeholders? We will be questioning if the existing institutions are too big, too confusing or just simply irrelevant in a world where the virtual can, in may cases, replace the actual!

Some would go further and argue, if we are now entering a new phase in which the main focus is of conservation, regeneration and sustainability, how can we defend the institutions that consume not merely the objects collected from the dispossessed but the very costs of maintaining, securing and keeping safe these acquired artefacts. Surely, many would argue, how could one justify, in an age of austerity, the leviathans of the art and cultural world whose huge buildings (British Museum) are a far cry from the very basic and founding principles many of the Victorian philanthropists promised and devoted their entire lives towards achieving!




The scenario:

The Cumin Museum, situated in Southwark, along the Walworth road, not far from The London College of Communication, with its close proximity to the main transport hub and the boroughs commercial centre, Elephant and Castle; has a key role to play in the commercial and Socio/cultural regeneration (hence the reason behind The Heygate Estate being demolish) of the area and beyond.

The Cumin Museum like many similar ‘community museums’ is relatively small with an ‘eclectic’ collection of ethnographic and cultural icons and had recognised that many of its artefacts were of a sensitive and redolent nature. Their strategic plan was to take many of the artefacts out of the museum and into the community, via its online database catalogue-

-this would, in theory, allow schools, colleges and any individual institutions such as hospitals and doctors surgeries to hire out the artefacts via an inter borough wide database (see above link). In addition, was the introduction of ‘pop up museums’ in places such as empty shops in place such as the Elephant shopping mall and east Street Library that would have brought the artefacts into the community?

Sadly, and before any of these schemes went ‘live’, on-stream, early in the spring of 2013, fire tore through the main building, which although serious enough to ensure that the structure was condemned, did not damage the artefacts, however, the water from the fireman’s hoses did!

With much regret, The Cumin has had to close its doors for the past nine months as both the damage to the building and the cost of restoration has taken its toll and with it, the potential to play a key role in re-invigorating an area.

All is not lost however, a recent and substantial European Union regeneration grant has meant that the Museum has been offered an unexpected lifeline this has resulted in the possibility of re-opening sooner than expected although it will still not be ready until the end of 2016. As part of its short-medium term plan, the Museum is now in discussions with various stakeholder parties about how to keep alive the memory and ethos of the museum whilst restoration is taking place. There are two possibilities that are being considered:

Plan A: The design and construction of a new ‘front of house’ reception and information centre, this is to be built in the grounds, at the front left of the building.  This will be an external, stand alone structure that can be pre-fabricated, produced off-site and is not a temporary structure but something that can be integrated into the main building in years to come.

Plan B: A piece of public (installation) art that will, it is hoped, become as iconic within the area as the Faraday Memorial has become at the Elephant Roundabout. Again, this will be positioned in the left hand piece of ground at the front. Ideally, it should be big enough for stakeholders to move around inside and reflect the ethos of the museum and its engagement with the local community.

Your Role: In collaborative groups of no more than five, you will work on a proposal (see below) in support

Whatever pathway your group decide upon, you will need to be consider how the structure will function within the confines of the existing foot-print of the (you can utilise the entire or part of) existing space. Both structures will have to work up to the maximum height of the first floor. A vital and key consideration will be its [The structures] ability to work alongside and within a Graded, listed building once restoration has taken place.

Importantly, (and a pre-requisite of any design tendered) the structure must be based upon an artefact from the collection, which can only be viewed at present online. The reception structure could be designed to work on more than one level; with the use of mezzanine floors. Key to a successful outcome must be the consideration and use (as far as possible) of recycled and sustainable materials.

At present, the entire space is cordoned off and (as you may often find in the professional world) therefore; you will have to work from archive materials, photographic images and online maps (Google Earth).


Your Role as a designer:

1a: You will be working in collaborative groups; however, you will each need to access the database of Southwark Collections,

choose an object, painting, body of work (manuscript). Individually you will need to investigate the object; the outcomes must not be simply a literal interpretation of the object but a detailed, ‘forensically examined’ researched and analysis of its historic, contextual and cultural significance to both, the original owners and to those who acquired and housed it. From this research, you will need to develop a design methodology and intellectual focus of how you think your object connects to a design outcome?

1b: You will need to conduct a full scale and detailed survey (not just a visual drawn one or copied off the ‘net) of the site, its now defunct reception area and how users moved into and around the former space; its [Cumin Museum] philosophies in how it engaged with all parts of the community. This part will need to be done alongside the object research. This needs to be done within your groups.

Parts 1a and b, will need to be ready for review by the 9th Jan 14.


Part 2- Once you have presented the objects on the 9th, you will as a group, decided which of the objects/designs are to be carried over, you will need to produce a clear agreed scheme for the entire group to focus upon. You will need to present this scheme in whatever state of completion by the 28th Jan 14 (times TBC) in your groups.

Part 3- The final design outcome of your proposal will be exhibited as part of Green Week on the 10th-14th Feb 14 at 10:00am (this will be further confirmed nearer the date) where your team’s intervention/Installation will be displayed in a public space.

Part 4- you will need to submit the group model, plans, and digital work along with your individual portion on The 24th Feb for summative assessment at 10:30 in WG28D.

If you have chosen to design a construct the Public art option, you must be clear as to what can be done in terms of building regulations and local byelaws etc.


A primary focus for either structure, will be the need for clear, good and visual message that “we are here and in business”


The tree, which has a preservation notice on it, can be removed but this will also need to be carefully looked into to reduce any damage to it.


As with any work on or around listed buildings, your design needs to work within the boundaries of the planning processes, the scrutiny of interested parties and with the so to be started, building in mind; your design will need to also reflect the historical importance and cultural significance of the museum and its place within the community. It is vital that you are familiar with current legislation, planning rules and are knowledgeable about what constitutes a listed building.

Key to the success of this unit will be for individuals to produce their own designs for the first part of the project, which we as your tutors will direct you in agreeing a final outcome which all of the group will work towards for the final submission in February.


















Assessment Requirements:


You will be required to produce a practical solution to the posed problem using design, media and communication methods and outcomes appropriate to your solution and to the project brief – team and/or individual – brief to stipulate (50% weighting of unit mark).

This will require you to produce:

  •  A card site model of where your structure will be located.

  • Clear (both individual and group) design documentary sketchbooks, schematics and if required, models, plans and elevations of the scheme in relation to the main structure of the building.


  • You will produce an individual evaluative record of the project including evaluation of your own individual role and experiences in an interdisciplinary scenario. (1000 words). This will be submitted in two, 500-word submissions to be agreed (Times to be confirmed).


  • Formats might include blog, report, journal – brief to stipulate (50% weighting of unit mark). One will need to be written from your individual standpoint, (28th Jan) how you approached the group, what you and your skills bring to your group etc. The other part should be written as a join response, the collective input to the final outcome (24th Feb).

For more information about how your assignments are marked, please go to section 6.0: assessment, particularly section 6.5: holistic and weighted assessment. You will also receive an assignment brief, which will give you more detail.

Teaching and Learning Methods


To enable you to demonstrate achievement against the learning outcomes, the subject will be introduced through a range of practical, theoretical, contextual and workshop sessions dependent on the project brief supported, where appropriate, by lectures, seminars, critiques and visits.


Essential Reading


Levin, P 2005, Successful teamwork! [electronic resource] : for undergraduates and taught postgraduates working on group projects Published: Maidenhead : Open University Press,

Gibbs, G 1998 Learning in teams: a student guide Edition Published: Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff Development,

Gibbs, G 1994 Learning in teams: a student manual Published: Oxford : Oxford Centre for Staff Development

Northedge, 2005 A The good study guide Edition[ New ed.] Published: Milton Keynes: Open University,


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