Re-enact Scandinavian values through design in the exhibition space

  • Julia Gros

Case study of the exhibition Century of the Child: Nordic design for Children 1900 to Today at the V&A Museum of Childhood. Dissertation Abstract (October 2018) The research undertook in the dissertation considers the Nordic progressive and educational theories that brought a new importance to material culture and environment adapted to children, in order to reveal the importance of means of mediation to help visitors understand the subject of an exhibition. Throughout the 20th century, the debate around the place of children has led to the production of objects and environments which represents children. The exhibition 'Century of the Child: Nordic Design for Children 1900 to Today' presented at the V&A Museum of Childhood in 2018, tackled the history of children through Nordic child-centred design. It also highlighted the progressive model in terms of design attributed to Nordic countries that arises from the integration of an ethical approach in the production of child-centred objects and environments. The dissertation looks at the interests of deploying workshops and play areas directly in relation with the topic of this exhibition. The participatory approach in the exhibition setting is therefore a way to provide a better understanding of the exhibition as an exhibition of design. This dissertation approaches the exhibition through the lens of design which has been playing a key role in the creation of the welfare state that we now take for granted. Design is therefore regarded as a means improved children’s lives throughout the 20th century and foster creativity and experience in the museums setting. Exhibition is both for children and about childhood which reveals the interweaving aspects of Nordic culture experienced in the exhibition space as in the light of an evolution of attitude towards children.