This poignant phrase emblazons the front doorway of the V&A museum. A reminder that as the heart of the museums displays, design has a responsibility.
This view was shared indeed by the museums supporter William Morris who encouraged famously that art should be both beautiful and useful.
What this message reminds me as an artist is that what I do should not solely exist in my studio, nor as an idea in my head, but should, if it may be useful, be brought into the world for the good of others.
It is good practice to remember that ultimately things are created to have a function in the world. There is in this digital age a lot of self indulgent and useless information. Things to waste our time with and it is increasingly difficult to navigate around what is good and matters and what really doesn’t benefit anyone at all.
What it does bring in to question however is the usefulness of the art form of social media. In its hands, it has the weight of responsibility of being a positive influence in terms of disseminating information and of educating. But what seems to appeal most, indeed what leads in popularity in the use of sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc is the self- indulgent nature of the content users upload and share. This self obsession can obscure a persons real-world view.
I believe that social media at its best can be an incredibly accessible platform for education, with many apps and content being completely free of charge. The knowledge we could share with the underprivileged and the quality of information we could give to those who really need education should be at the forefront of our intentions.