My recent PhD at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and V&A looked at design and craft in Socialist Czechoslovakia. I followed a path of personal narrative and incident, using oral histories, visits, time with objects and collections, to try to build an understanding of making in controlled and restricted political conditions. Humour, whimsy, and the everyday were key to my approach, often led by the stories of those working for state organisations under Communism. Craft is a beautifully slippery term that allows me to access many material realisations, from textiles, to ceramics, glass, jewellery and interiors. I also looked at animation, literature and film as a means of getting under the skin of history.
I lecture in critical, contextual and historical studies at the Royal College of Art, London College of Fashion, and the Universities of Hertfordshire and Middlesex. Visiting lectures and workshops also include The School of Life, NYU, and UMPRUM Prague. See my Teaching & Lecturing Specialisms for more.
I have written on art, craft and design for a variety of publications including West 86th Journal, Slashstroke Magazine, Home Cultures Journal, and co-edited publications such as The Roundel: 100 Artists Remake a London Icon, London: Art/Book (2013).
Making Enhanced Collective
I am a member of Making Enhanced, a collective of design historians and designer-makers working collaboratively to explore design research methodologies (exhibitors Collect 15 at the Saatchi Gallery). My partnership is with ceramicist Tamsin van Essen; our current research concerns ideas of materiality, subjective narrative and absence in the context of studio spaces.
Background & Contemporary Art Commissioning
I completed a First Class MA (Hons) and an MPhil in History of Art at the University of Glasgow, and worked for artist studios including three years with sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, travelling to his farm in Dumfriesshire. I moved to London for a role at the Design & Artists Copyright Society and then five years with Art on the Underground, the commissioning programme for London Underground. The latter included projects and publications with Mark Wallinger, Jeremy Deller, Cornelia Parker, and Michael Landy.