Design History and Theory

Head: Univ. Prof Dr. Alison J. Clarke MA (RCA) PhD

Design History and Theory is an internationally active, research-driven department delivering a broad range of academic courses aimed at enhancing critical understanding of design practice and culture. From the design anthropology of everyday material culture, through to the politics of ‘things’, design is explored in an transdisciplinary context, whereby aesthetics are understood as just one of the many dimensions of the design and its objects.

With an international team of faculty members drawn from a range of disciplines including social anthropology, design history, cultural history and critical design practice, the department’s courses and doctoral supervision is underpinned by cutting-edge engagement in contemporary debates around the role of design and design culture. Design History and Theory has an active guest speaker programme, and is affiliated to the bi-annual international Papanek symposia that brings together cutting-edge researchers, practitioners and design theorists to debate the contemporary issues of design’s complex social and ethical role in mediating the material and non-material world.