Photo: Oliver Killig

About Thomas A. Geisler

Thomas A. Geisler has been director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden since 2019. He is a trained ceramist, product designer and cultural manager. After intensive study of Viktor J. Papanek’s life’s work, Geisler was involved in the establishment of the Viktor J. Papanek Foundation at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

After several years of teaching and research in design theory and history, he became curator and head of the Design Collection at MAK Vienna. Together with Tulga Beyerle and Lilli Hollein, Geisler founded the Vienna Design Week, where he was jointly responsible for the program until 2010. As director of the Werkraum Bregenzerwald in Austria, Geisler worked at the interface between craft, design and building culture. He distinguished himself internationally as an exhibition organizer and author; among other things, Geisler curated the 26th Design Biennale in Ljubljana and is responsible for the German contribution to the London Design Biennale 2021.

In his work as director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Geisler is currently addressing the challenges that exist in the museum environment and will apply to institutions in the future. He sees the future of the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Pillnitz Palace as a Design Campus, a teaching and research center for socially and ecologically relevant design issues with access to the multi-layered collections, a summer school, and the establishment of a multidisciplinary network. In doing so, the collection of craft techniques and materials will be drawn upon as well as questions directed towards the future.

Design is constantly changing, for Thomas A. Geisler it also always has a political, social and utopian dimension. Geisler is a member of international committees and juries.


In 2022, the Design Campus will award three workshop scholarships for the second time as part of the German Design Graduates Initiative for the annual summer school, which takes place from mid-July to the end of August.

Thomas A. Geisler, Director of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Museum of Kunstgewerbemuseum in Pillnitz Palace, and his team have selected 15 young graduates from all participating universities for the shortlist from the works submitted in 2021.

About Design Campus 

The Design Campus is the think tank and research and development platform of the Dresden Staatliche Kunstsammlungen’s Kunstgewerbemuseum in Pillnitz Palace and Park. The collection of more than 60,000 objects of the Museum of Decorative Arts, founded in 1876, as well as the multi-layered Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, an association of 15 museums and institutions on old and new art as well as the avant-garde, serve as the basis for a discussion on design today and tomorrow. The campus allows a wide variety of audiences to come together in ever-changing formats, including an annual summer school and ongoing labs of applied and experimental research projects in transdisciplinary partnerships.

The Summer School takes place from mid-July to the end of August and offers 6 weeks of parallel workshops with international tutors. The program is developed each year with a newly invited “Head of School”. The school sees itself as a place of utopias and allows participants to think big and address complex questions about society and the environment. Design and creativity are given a key competence and role.