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Design for Life 

Design for Life: Using Museums to Engage Young People in Design  

Design for Life is a national museum education project that explores how museums and galleries can work together to enhance young people’s understanding, skills and knowledge of design. It has brought together museum educators, teachers, youth workers and professional designers and trialled projects with schools and community groups. The ideas and activities that emerged have been developed as learning resources to support youth workers and Design & Technology teachers to use museums with young people.




For Schools

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery worked with two local secondary schools to run the Trash Fashion project, which saw young people in years 9 and 10 create sustainable fashion designs inspired by the museum’s Fashion & Style gallery.  The students worked closely with two fashion industry professionals to realise their ambitious designs, which were then showcased at a sell-out catwalk show at a professional theatre. A second strand of this project involved young people from the schools acting as creative apprentices in order to stage the show itself – learning skills as diverse as graphic design, A/V production, make-up artistry, journalism and photography.      


For Community Groups

The museum also ran a deep impact project with a local young mother’s group, in which participants used objects within the museum to inspire screen printed T-shirt designs for their own children. The young women ranged in age from 18 to 21, and after two intensive museum sessions with a professional illustrator, the outcomes were of a very high quality.





Design for Life is a national partnership led by the Victoria and Albert Museum, with Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, the charity Action for Children and fifteen other regional museums.  It was conceived as part of the government’s strategic commissioning programme for museum and gallery education and has been funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Education (2008-11) and also by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (2010-11).


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