Curating as Graphic Design Research
In 2019, I curated and designed Off the Grid, an exhibition on post-war Belgian graphic design at Design Museum Gent. The show included public events (Design Museum Gent, 2019–20) and led to a publication (De Bondt, 2022), all of which have been elements of my practice-based doctoral research at KASK School of Arts and Ghent University.
Curating Off the Grid allowed me to define my own research area, namely the investigation of graphic design from a specific country and period. The process also raised broader questions around naming, authorship, and canon-formation, which in turn have enriched my practice as a designer and educator. The curatorial thus became a methodology that allowed me to bring the two sides — my historical research and my graphic design practice — together. In this article, I discuss my engagement with graphic design via the curatorial, and how the latter can be deployed for practice-based graphic design research in and beyond exhibition spaces.