The Royal College of Art has been celebrating the 21st birthday of its sought-after Masters in the history of design. The course, which prides itself on paying as much attention to everyday items such as fish fingers, nail varnish and ice cream vans as to elite objets d'art, is run jointly by the college and its Kensington neighbour, the Victoria and Albert museum. Graduates of this full-time two-year Masters go on to work in universities, galleries and museums all over the world. Others have established design consultancies or work for organisations such as the Design Council and the National Trust. Staff and students have played a part in major V&A exhibitions like Brand New, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Events to mark the anniversary of the course have included the inaugural lecture last Thursday of Jeremy Aynsley, professor of history of design, who gave a talk about interpreting modern European graphic design and typography of the early 20th century, and the past achievements and future prospects of design history. For further details, visit

* Preparations for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing are well under Luton University. Its media arts department is playing host to 46 Chinese journalists and press officers taking a custom-made Masters in media management, designed to get them ready for the invasion of the world's press. "We are addressing cultural barriers because they are not familiar with Western mixed economy media systems such as ours, with its commercially controlled press and the strange hybrid that is the BBC," says Garry Whannel, one of the tutors. The programme is sponsored by the Beijing Municipal Government (BMG) and includes intensive English language tuition, with a module on potentially baffling media jargon. Two cohorts of students are in Luton at the moment, and the university hopes the course will continue to run until the start of the games. Three BMG bigwigs are visiting the university this month to discuss the project and the possibility of other collaborations between China and Luton, which already has a large number of Chinese students. A packed agenda has been arranged for them which includes dinner with Luton's new vice-chancellor, Professor Les Ebdon, a tour of the media arts department, and a visit to a Chinese restaurant.

* A key player in the war in Iraq will give this year's Open University Business School annual lecture. Air Chief Marshall Brian Burridge, who was promoted after the war, is an alumnus of the school. Its dean, Professor Roland Kaye, thinks that Burridge will have plenty to say to today's MBA students about leadership under fire, including how to generate trust inside an organisation and between it and its stakeholders, and what it is like to operate under the gaze of the modern media. Tickets to the event, which will take place at the CBI Conference Centre at Centre Point in London on the evening of 26 November, are available to everyone at £25, and may be booked by e-mail at or by calling Nicola Gray on 01908 652 097.