A plastics collection of national importance
This exhibition will be held in TheGallery, AUB.
In January 2022, AUB’s Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP) was awarded Designated Outstanding Collection status by Arts Council England. This prestigious award recognises the objects in the museum’s care as forming a ‘collection of national importance’.
This exhibition is a visual representation of the national significance of the subject of the museum – design in plastics, the outstanding quality of the collection and its research value.
The Designation scheme, which has been running since 1997, celebrates exceptional collections and raises their profile nationally and internationally. It aims to reveal the strength of England’s leading collections and encourages the care and retention of the nation’s treasures.
National significance of design in plastics
Today, when many people think of plastics, the first thing that comes to mind is the negative impact they can have on the environment. Excessive packaging, unnecessary single-use products, and images of debris and waste in oceans, waterways, and streets are evocative.
Within the last 50 years, more things, and a greater variety, have been designed and made in plastics than in any other materials group. With no intrinsic form, texture or colour, plastics have released design from the constraints imposed by the inherent characteristics of traditional materials, such as wood and metal. This has enabled innovative methods of manufacture leading to colourful design filled with forms, textures and functionality that was previously unachievable.
Documented design history, like art history, has been dominated by privileged western, white males. MoDiP’s collecting practices address this by reviewing and developing its representation of gender and cultural diversity. The collection also considers how design in plastics can provide equity to people with a variety of restrictions and improve the lives of many.