Central Saint Martins presents The Intelligent Optimist, an exhibition and events programme exploring various futures for design. Future Gazers, Material Explorers, Social Agents and The Fixers; all use creative practices and critical intelligence to propose provocative and hopeful new perspectives.

The Intelligent Optimist exhibition goes to the heart of everything we do at Central Saint Martins. The work of our students is almost by default optimistic – why design the world as a worse place? – and is always shot through with a canny intelligence. This intelligence takes multiple forms: the rigour of traditional inquiry, emotional intelligence of empathy, tacit intelligence built through experience, haptic intelligence where hand meets mind, and so on. In all cases the intelligence is deployed in a productive manner to transform the status quo or to imagine new and better futures.

Last year’s highly acclaimed Restless Futures exhibition at CSM explored the societal issues that designers are engaged with; this year’s exhibition and events programme presents the types of designer that are needed to achieve positive change within those issues: Future Gazers, Material Explorers, Social Agents, and The Fixers.

The Intelligent Optimist has never been needed more than in the current era of political and social despondency. We are all looking for alternative visions, but not naively hopeful ones. In their various combinations of wit, rigour, lateral thinking, sensuousness, ingenuity, social engagement and all round intelligence, these Central Saint Martins graduates provide a brilliant riposte to the novelist Howard Jacobson’s provocation that he “has never met an intelligent optimist.”

Alongside the exhibition featuring over 50 key recent CSM design graduates, the Lethaby Gallery will host The Intelligent Optimist events programme, a week-long series of events by the exhibitors including talks, demos and workshops. Meet the designers of the future, and get fascinating insights into the concepts behind their work and how they were made. All events are free but must be booked in advance via Eventbrite. For further information and to book click on the Eventbrite link in the links section.

Lethaby Gallery & Crossing Windows Galleries, Central Saint Martins
19 Sep – 17 Oct 2015

Press Jo Ortmans j.ortmans@csm.arts.ac.uk

We would like to thank our sponsors Farrow&Ball, LAB Design, GF Smith and the UAL University of the Arts London Postgraduate Community.

The Intelligent Optimist catalogue is available electronically via http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/whats-on-at-csm/the-intelligent-optimist/the-i... and in print for £5 in the CSM Lethaby Gallery.

Central Saint Martins

Central Saint Martins is one of the world’s leading centres for art and design education, a reputation based around the achievements of its graduates and the creative energy of its current staff and students.

The College brings a broad range of art and design activities together in an extraordinary new building, voted the world’s best higher education building in 2012. The building allows the exchange of ideas and techniques across disciplines, acting as a huge workshop of thinking and making, underpinned by a strong research base and exceptional technical resources. Central Saint Martins is centred around nine programme areas:

Ceramic, Product and Industrial Design
Culture and Enterprise
Drama and Performance
Graphic Communication Design
Spatial Practices
Textiles and Jewellery
Foundation Studies and Access to HE

These programmes share an approach of exploring the boundaries of their discipline; our students and staff are continually curious and always restless in developing beyond the accepted norms of their subject, so the work emerging from Central Saint Martins is at the forefront of its area. Central Saint Martins inspires its students and staff to be alert to new approaches and ideas; the resulting journey can be challenging but is never dull.

This forward-looking approach places Central Saint Martins at the heart of London’s dynamic creative scene. All of our courses have strong links with practice and industry through visiting lectures, live projects and tutors who are leading practitioners. In any one-month numerous people, events and exhibitions pass through Central Saint Martins, enriching the core curriculum in multiple ways and making it a major force in the art and design world. Students from all over the world come to join us in this exciting adventure. You could be the next. Be brave and do what you love.

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