The minister for education, culture and science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, has given Het Nieuwe Instituut the task of identifying important and threatened archives of design and digital culture. The commission follows a joint letter from the design field, in which the Association Dutch Designers (BNO) took the lead. Together with Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Wim Crouwel Institute, the Louis Kalff Institute and other parties, they pushed for an action plan for design archives.
The requested Inventorying of Design and Digital Culture Archives serves to provide a perspective on the government’s task in relation to the question of archives in these professional fields. The minister also wants to gain an overview of the most important items of heritage in these sectors and how they can be made accessible to the public. The results and recommendations must be made available in May of this year so that they can be utilised in formulating the paper for cultural policy for the period 2021-24.
In November 2018, several organisations from the field sent a joint letter to the minister and members of the House of Representatives, requesting urgent attention for the pressing issue around heritage in the design sector and, in particular, the preservation of archives. The letter emphasised the great cultural significance of sources, historiography, critical interpretation, reflection and inspiration of the design heritage in the Netherlands: themes that were also addressed in the recent policy paper ‘Design for the Future’ by the Raad voor Cultuur.
The lack of a centralised heritage policy for design and digital culture formed the motivation for Het Nieuwe Instituut to take on the temporary guise of a design archive. From 19 October 2018 to 10 March 2019, the institute presented the Speculative Design Archive with objects and archival materials by, among others, Droog, Artifort, Kho Liang Ie, Cubic3 Design, V2_ en Hella Jongerius.
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