The Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) Mentoring programme is open to RCA alumni of all disciplines who graduated between 2004 and 2013, bringing the experience of leading creative practitioners to bear on key issues about the mentoree’s future.
Some potential outcomes of Royal Designer mentoring:
- Review your career options
- Choose your employment path
- Plan your own practice or studio
- Expand or change the direction of your existing business
- Commercialise your ideas
- Manage or recruit your team more effectively
- Examine new markets
- Build your confidence
What is a Royal Designer?
Royal Designers are members of one of the most exclusive collectives in the design world - iconic figures from the fields of product design, fashion and textiles, graphics, ceramics, film and theatre to name but a few. The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) is part of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). The RDI distinction is regarded as the highest accolade for designers in the UK, and only 200 designers - those who have achieved 'sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry as well as significant benefit to society' - may hold the distinction at any time.
Participating Royal Designers:
- Derek Birdsall RDI, Graphic Design
- Mike Dempsey RDI, Graphic Design
- Malcolm Garrett RDI, Interactive Design
- Matthew Hilton RDI, Furniture Design
- Martin Hunt RDI, Ceramics and Glass
- Betty Jackson RDI, Fashion Design
- Eva Jircna RDI, Architecture
- Professor Rodney Kinsman RDI, Furniture Design
- Martin Lambie-Nairn RDI, TV Graphics
- Robin Levien RDI, Ceramics and Glass
- Tom Roope RDI, Interaction Design
What the RDI mentoring programme involves
You must have graduated from the RCA between 2003 and 2012 to apply for RDI Mentoring. Additionally, 2013 graduates can apply for the RDI Workshops run each Autumn/Winter.
If you are selected, you will see your appointed Royal Designer in three to four separate two-hour meetings designed to assist you with thinking through the next key stage of your career. These will take place over a period of up to six months. Meetings will normally be at the RDI's place of work during working hours so that the mentoree can see an established practice in action, but may be held elsewhere by agreement. Induction will take place at the start, and feedback will be required at the conclusion.
It is not all one-way either. Royal Designers will in turn benefit from interacting with you and your ideas; remember, you are part of the next generation of designers and artists.
The online application form (link below) is short and simple, but the more thought you put into preparing it, the more likely you are to be accepted and the more the RDI will be able to help you. This is a chance to fine tune your long-term career plan, so take time to decide what you think the experience could do for you.
How to Apply
1. Enter your RCA log-in below to access the enquiry form link. Username: <first.last> (omitting @network.rca.ac.uk) Password: as provided by the RCA. Important: after you log-in the Helpline page will refresh and the Helpline link will appear at the end of the page so please scroll down to access it.
When completing the form, think carefully about the issues you would like to discuss with an RDI mentor. Bear in mind that the main focus should be on an aspect of your professional development, not exclusively your creative work.
2. When requesting an RDI mentor to see, it may be helpful to think beyond your own discipline. For example, a ceramicist with considerable experience of running a studio and employing people could have a lot to offer designers or artists from other disciplines. You can see profiles of the volunteer RDIs via the links given above, and an example of the programme in action here.
3. The RDI co-ordinator will contact you about your application withinh 2-3 weeks and will seek to match you with a suitable RDI. You will be notified of the RDI co-ordinator's decision as soon as possible (please read the small print below).
This website and the application form should tell you all you need to know. If you still have unanswered questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Small but important print
The RCA maintains contact throughout via the programme co-ordinator, who will make the final decision as to which Royal Designer is appointed to mentor the student or graduate.
The content of the meetings is confidential, except where disclosure is required by law or by the RCA. Participating RDIs sign a Confidentiality Agreement with the RCA which covers current RCA students in relation to work carried out as a Royal College of Art project. However, if some or all of the work you will be discussing has no connection with the RCA, or if you are no longer a student but a graduate (alumnus) of the RCA, we recommend that you ask your RDI Mentor to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement before or at the start of your first meeting.
RDIs participate in the programme on a voluntary and pro bono basis. During the period of mentoring, no business arrangements may be entered into between mentor and mentoree.
In order to evaluate and improve the programme, the RCA requires feedback from participants.
Mentoring meetings will take place over a period of up to six months. Meetings will normally be at the RDI's place of work during working hours so that the mentoree can see an established practice in action, but may be held elsewhere by agreement. Meetings are to be initiated by the mentoree and confirmed to the mentor and co-ordinator by email.
Your personal information is needed for operation of the RDI mentoring service and by providing personal information you are consenting to its use. Such personal information will be used by the RCA to identify you as a unique user, and the information will not be shared with any other entity or organisation, other than authorised agents, mentors or consultants to the Royal College of Art's FuelRCA professional development service who are required to provide any assistance or information you have requested of the service.
Any problems should be raised first with the programme co-ordinator, then if necessary with InnovationRCA.
The RCA reserves the right to admit or remove participants.
No liability arising from the RDI mentoring programme is accepted by the RCA or RSA or their authorised agents, mentors or consultants, or by the RDI mentors.