I am a design historian interested in researching, writing, talking and teaching about design past and present for a wide range of audiences. I have a keen interest in craft: In 2011 I completed an AHRC CDA entitled 'Modern Craft: History, Theory and Practice' in the RCA/V&A History of Design Department, which re-examined post-war Italian design through the concept of craft. I developed this research into Crafting Design in Italy: from post-war to postmodernism (MUP, 2015).
I joined Kingston University in 2013. Previously I was a Context Lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art. I have been a visiting lecturer in the UK and abroad, including at the University of Brighton and Sotheby's Institute of Art.
I enjoy communicating ideas about design in a range of media. In 2014 I curated 'Space Electronic: Then and Now' an installation for the Venice Architecture Biennale, which examined the role of disco in Radical Design and is part of my interest in political design practices. I have contributed to exhibitions including Postmodernism: Style & Subversion 1970 – 1990 at the V&A (2011). In addition to writing for academic journals such as the Journal of Design History and The Journal of Modern Craft, I contribute to magazines including Crafts, Disegno and Domus.
Over the last few years I have developed two main research areas. The first concerns design and its relationship to craft. I am particularly interested in how this theme relates to Italy, a nation renowned for its craft tradition. Completed in 2011, my PhD examined the craft's role in Italy's celebrated design history from 1945 to the 1980s. I conceived craft as a method of manufacture, a set of materials, disciplines and skills and ideas that designers turned to. I have since developed this craft-based approach to explore craft's fashionability today more broadly, and am interested in what this means for contemporary design amidst continuing technological advance.
My second main area of research has been concerned with what is variously called radical, critical, or otherwise politically and socially engaged design – both in relation to the past, specifically 1970s Italy, and the present. As with my interest in craft, I have explored this research in a number of conference papers and publications, always with the aim of doing so in a way that is accessible and relevant to those in and outside of the academic and design communities. This interest in politically engaged and socially responsible practice is also what underpins my practice as a design historian. I am always interested to find ways to collaborate with others to develop research projects.