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I am a design curator and Associate Professor at the Kingston School of Art in London heading the MA Curating Contemporary Design in partnership with the Design Museum.
My transdisciplinary research and publications cover questions around formats of interaction and contemporary design practice engaging with society, technology and the environment.
I am a Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum where I have been previously the Curator of Contemporary and Modern Furniture and Product Design working on acquisitions and exhibitions, such as 'What is Luxury?' (2015) and 'Cold War Modern' (2008).
I am a member of the AHRC' Peer Review College, and a member of the board of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg and the Stanley Picker Gallery in London. I am also on the board of idea journal.
I am one of the initiators of The Design Film Festival (2020) and co-curated the exhibition ‘At Home' for the XII International Design Biennial Saint-Etienne (2022).
Teaching the MA Curating Contemporary Design in partnership with the Design Museum (CCD) allows me to actively engage in design and curatorial discourse, reflect on current practices and test potential expansions of conventional formats, procedures and structures. Undertaking this process within pedagogical practice allows risk taking, speculating and moving beyond boundaries while offering spaces for reflection and reconsideration.
With CCD we engage in long and complex research through year-long course projects which we aim to publicly present. Former projects were The Curated Dinner at Stanley Picker Gallery (2017), the exhibitions Reconsidering Canon (2018) and Architectural Radicals, (2019) presented at Design Museum and the Design Film Festival, hosted with Institut Francais and Design Museum (2020), and the exhibition and webinar Visibility of the Invisible at Stanley Picker Gallery (2022).
I am inspired by inter- and transdisciplinary practices and have been fostering collaborations within and outside of Kingston School of Art. For the collaboration with MA Sustainable and MA Art and Design History in 2016-19, we developed a new model for interdisciplinary and collaborate teaching, titled after the Radio 4 programme, the ‘Moral Maze'. This model encourages performative learning processes.
An example for interdisciplinary teaching was our collaboration Design and Film, Film and Design, a co-taught programme between MA CCD, KU, MA Space and Communications at University of Art and Design (HEAD) Geneva, and the elective Montage at Parsons The New School New York (Parsons) in 2019-2020, leading to the founding and first delivery of the Design Film Festival.
My research is focused on the curatorial and contemporary design which my monographies confirm: ‘Medium Ausstellung' uses semiotic theory to propose a method for analysing museum displays. The monography of celebrated designers Barber Osgerby uses conversations as tool to interrogate conceptual work. As a curator at the V&A, I contributed to catalogues of major exhibitions such as Modernism, Cold War Modern, Shoes, and Japanese Art and Design.
A current strand of my research is design and the curatorial in its response to ecological, technical, and global challenges. Previous research on curatorial practice covered themes from immateriality to expanded formats. ‘Tables: The School of Expanded Formats' delivered curated dinners for the Istanbul Design Biennial (2018) and informed the book chapter ‘Other Spaces for Curating'. Invitations to speak at conferences such as at ‘Curatorial Things' (2014) in Berlin, lead to the contribution of its proceedings, such as in ‘Cultures of the Curatorial'.
My research and practice are often interconnected, such as the recent co-curation with Penny Sparke and Cat Rossi of an exhibition about domesticity for the Design Biennial at St Etienne (2022). The project developed research around topics such as shelter, identity, health and well-being, technological and social connectedness. We continued our research with a display of four key films by Martha Rosler, Noam Toran, Superflux and Simone Niquille at Stanley Picker Gallery in 2022/23.
I have participated in research projects of different scale and in various countries. An example was the project ‘Material Culture as social memory of a society' supported by Volkswagenstiftung (2013-16). As member of the Modern Interiors Research Centre, I was involved in a webinar (2021) and its publication Interiors in the Era of Covid-19 (Bloomsbury). I am co-leading with Penny Sparke an interrogation of ‘The Exhibition as Interior' concluding in a symposium, conference and publication.
Sparke, Penelope , Kirkham, Patricia , Scholze, Jana , Knott, Stephen and Ioannidou, Ersi, eds. (2023) Interiors in the era of Covid-19 : interior design between the public and private realms. London, U.K. : Bloomsbury. 312p. ISBN 9781350294219 (In Press)
Scholze, Jana (2017) Barber Osgerby: projects. London, U.K. : Phaidon. 312p. ISBN 9780714874838
Scholze, Jana (2004) Medium Ausstellung : Lekturen musealer Gestaltung in Oxford, Leipzig, Amsterdam und Berlin. Bielefeld, Germany : transcript. 300p. (Kultur- und Museumsmanagement [Cultural and Museum Management]) ISBN 9783899421927
Scholze, Jana (2020) When things disappear: curating immateriality. In: von Bismarck, Beatrice and Meyer-Krahmer, Benjamin, (eds.) Curatorial Things. Berlin, Germany : MIT Press/Sternberg Press. (Cultures of the Curatorial, (4)) ISBN 9783956792809
Scholze, Jana (2017) Wonder : a state of passion, absorption and distraction. In: Cormier, Brendan, (ed.) Values in Design. Shanghai, China : Shanghai Fine Arts Publisher. ISBN 9787547916483
Scholze, Jana (2016) Ghosts and dancers : immaterials and the museum. In: Farrelly, Liz and Weddell, Joanna, (eds.) Design objects and the museum. London, U.K. : Bloomsbury. pp. 61-69. ISBN 9781472577238
Scholze, Jana, Faulkner, Rupert and Josephine, Rout (2016) Modern and contemporary design. In: Irvine, Gregory, (ed.) Japanese Art and Design. London : V&A Publishing. pp. 221-245. ISBN 9781851778553
Scholze, Jana (2015) Extreme future. In: Persson, Helen, (ed.) Shoes : pleasure and pain. London, U.K. : V&A Publishing. pp. 82-91. ISBN 9781851778324
Scholze, Jana (2017) Why gather? The luxury of time and space. In: Nouveau Reach : Past, Present and Future of Luxury; 11 - 14 May 2017, Toronto, Canada. (Unpublished)
Scholze, Jana [Curator] and Wierzba, Leanna [Curator] (2015) What is Luxury? .