Summer Abroad UK - Instructor

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Design in Europe

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Tim McNeil


Tim McNeil is Professor of Design at the University of California Davis, Director of the UC Davis Design Museum, and a principal with the design firm Muniz/McNeil. With 25 years of experience developing over 200 exhibition, signage and interpretive environments, his research, teaching and practice explore the exhibition space as a medium for the effective communication of objects and narratives. He seeks to define the exhibition design field and its impact on communities and audience engagement. Recent projects include the visual identity for the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, and co-curating Chaos at the Museum, a series of international summits to advance the understanding of experience and exhibition design practice. McNeil has an MFA from the University of the Arts London, his award-winning work has been featured in multiple publications, and he is a frequent writer and speaker both nationally and internationally on museum and design issues. Most recently as a contributing author to the new book “The Future of Museum and Gallery Design”.

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A Message to Students and Parents

"European countries are bursting at the seams with history, architecture and design. Join me on a journey through Great Britain and the Netherlands for an unparalleled insight into two countries famous for their design tradition as well as their design innovation.

We will stay in cities that are packed with historical firsts, great museums, stunning architecture and innovative design. Starting in the picturesque northern English city of York and the vibrant city of Edinburgh where I grew up, places so steeped in history they are the ultimate museum’s without walls, then traveling to global and trend-setting London where I completed my education at the prestigious St Martins College of Art and Design, and then worked professionally as a designer. The journey then continues into mainland Europe to the beautiful city of Utrecht in the Netherlands, the perfect place to stay and use as a jumping off point for Amsterdam and other Dutch destinations. The Netherlands is my home away from home and I’ve visited many times. I’m drawn to the Dutch people’s hospitality, their worldliness, and their reverence for design. Design is in their bones and I know few other places in the world where it is so integrated into life and culture.

I’ve been fortunate to have visited many parts of the world. If I had one word of advice it would be to travel. Exposure to new cultures, meeting new people, and being visually inspired is particularly relevant for those students interested in the creative fields. Through field trips, behind-the-scene museum visits, lectures and studio projects, this program examines the expanded role of the designer as an inventor and protagonist, a communicator of information, and a shaper of place.

I have been practicing design professionally for over 25 years, teaching design for over 12 years, and led a version of this program for 8 years. I use my knowledge, experience and connections to carefully curate a study abroad adventure that is as rewarding academically as it is fun. I guarantee students will return changed people, and if I’ve done my job right, ready for a lifetime of further international exploration."