Introducing Seetal Solanki, V&A Innovate Judge 2022 – 23 

Learning & National Programmes
September 20, 2022
© Harriet Turney

We’re delighted to announce  that Seetal Solanki will be a judge for our V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge 2022 – 23.

Seetal Solanki is the Founder and Director of Ma-tt-er, a practice founded in 2015 to readdress our relationship with the planet by understanding what it’s made of, and move towards futures that are caring and respectful. It is focused on building and bridging kinships between ourselves, materials, the immaterial and virtual.

A Textiles Tutor at the Royal College of Art, and Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins Spatial Practices MArch, Seetal holds an MA in Textile Futures from Central Saint Martins and is the author of Why Materials Matter (2018). She has worked with Potato Head Bali, Molonglo Group, NIKE, Google, The Serpentine Gallery, Venice Biennale, Dezeen, The Architectural Association, World Water Day, IKEA/SPACE10, British Council, The Design Museum and Hyundai.  Her work has been widely featured internationally.

We spoke to Seetal about being on the panel and why design is important to her.

© Harriet Turney

What are you most looking forward to as a V&A Innovate judge, and why? 
Being in the presence of our future changemakers. A newfound energy to direct us towards alternative futures and get to know what this generation is needing and facing, as well as how we can build this together much like an intergenerational household.

What do this year’s themes of Adapt, Care and Disrupt mean to you? 
What they all feel like are processes and behaviours to guide us to a place where we as human beings can ultimately become guardians, stewards and caretakers of this planet we call earth. These themes offer the opportunity to imagine, explore and discover what possibilities there might be in an immediate, near and far future context.

Why is design important to you?
When you think about it, everything has been designed; whether it be by a human or by the rest of the living world. What makes design possible are materials, they make up our entire world. Everything is made of something. If we understand this principle then we can make more informed decisions about the way in which we consume and dispose of the goods we introduce in our lives, and head towards care and respect as we begin to break down and reveal what we’re made of.

What invention / innovation could you not live without?
Fire. Pen. Paper.

Can you share any top tips for students taking part in V&A Innovate this year?
Don’t be afraid to explore the unknown and to not be too fixated on a final outcome, the process is just as valuable. Consider what your role could be within the themes, how do you adapt, care and disrupt? Who can take on what role so that you build a collective spirit and approach, in order for you to have a much more holistic approach to co-creation and building something that has integrity as well as purpose. What are the processes involved? Who is it for and why does it exist? We must meet the peoples and planet’s needs.

Do you think your students have people and planet-conscious ideas that could amaze Seetal? Register to take part  in V&A Innovate  and enter your students’ ideas by 13 January 2023.

V&A Innovate is the V&A’s annual National Schools Challenge offering students in years 7, 8 and 9 the opportunity to design a solution to a real-world problem inspired by the V&A’s collections.

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