back to news Sept. 19, 2018

Former art chair Harvey named head of Applied Arts at Royal College of Art

Rebecca Harvey, former professor and chair of the Department of Art, was recently named head of Applied Arts at the Royal College of Art in London, which is considered by the QS World University Rankings as the top postgraduate art and design university in the world.

In addition to this new appointment, Harvey will continue to serve the Ohio State community in a new role as Applied Arts and Engineering/International Liaison, which will allow her to work with both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering to cultivate collaboration between Ohio State and other London institutions, particularly the Royal College of Art.

As head of Applied Arts, Harvey is charged with overseeing the development of the Royal College of Art’s Ceramics and Glass program and its Metals and Jewelry program, which are being merged into one department. She will help develop the institution’s goal of growing and expanding its program and foster international relations. Her tenure officially began Sept. 12.

In accepting the position, Harvey, who’d been at Ohio State for nearly 25 years, thought of how she could leverage her new post into a joint opportunity between Ohio State and the Royal College of Art. It seemed the perfect time, she said, to put into place a long-discussed bridge between the disciplines of art and engineering. Harvey spoke often with mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Blaine Lilly about how to connect students’ research to the world and how to give them more opportunities to work beyond and through disciplinary boundaries.

There was an enthusiastic response from both Arts and Sciences and Engineering, and Harvey’s position as Applied Arts and Engineering International Liaison materialized. Within the role, she hopes to develop connections between Ohio State and the Royal College of Art to facilitate student and faculty exchanges, study abroad opportunities and interdisciplinary ventures between arts and engineering.

“We’d been getting some really interesting data lately that shows our biggest population of students after our art majors are engineering majors. It makes perfect sense; they’re students who like to build things and make things and test things,” Harvey said. “I’ve had lots of great discussions with engineering faculty about the importance of experiential learning and learning by making and learning by doing. … My work as international liaison becomes a way of extending the planned ties between the two units. I think that this becomes really important — providing a space for new ways of working and new methodologies.”

Harvey plans to spend much of her first year building and fostering relationships that can serve as bridges to new internship and research opportunities, both within the Royal College of Art and their partner institutions and beyond into the broader community. She is particularly focused on opportunities that allow individuals to cross-disciplinary boundaries. Ohio State has a large alumni base in London and a broad slate of study abroad opportunities. Harvey sees her first steps as identifying people and potential areas of synergy.

I’m hugely attached to Ohio State,” Harvey said. “To have this ability to go off and do this really interesting thing and still maintain this connection to Ohio State and be able to add opportunities to Ohio State and add opportunities to the Royal College of Art, for me that was the big win-win.”

Harvey earned her BFA in crafts from the University of the Arts before earning her MFA in ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art.