City Nomads is an attempt to imagine an environment that would surround today’s city nomads. Who is a city nomad? Can they straddle a metropolis, quench their thirst for new roads, and preserve their roots?
The first City Nomads exhibition showcased Kazakhstan's creative industries during London Design Festival 2016 in September 2016.
In October 2016 the British Council launched a brief to students of Kingston University’s MA Curating Contemporary Design to investigate Kazakhstan’s design identity. The students devised a range of curatorial responses tracing nomadic traditions to contemporary culture through the themes of food, culture and domestic space and the cultural significance of storage chests. Following this research, five students travelled to Almaty for a week-long study visit alongside the curators of City Nomads. They unpicked ‘cultural codes’ in Kazakhstan’s design and visual culture to set a brief for contemporary designers revolving around the resourceful, transformable, transportable and multi-functional design approach found in historical and contemporary objects.
The six groups of designers and artisans exhibited in City Nomads then worked with tutors from MA Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins in a three day workshop exploring different storytelling devices to support communicating context and uses of the objects. Each object responds to a modern day city nomad who might use it, their environment and what role it might play in their life.