University of Brighton Design Archives

Collections • Collaboration • Research

A black and white collaged image showing the portraits of Tom Wilson and Leah Armstrong

Professional successes for Design Archives doctoral students

 

A black and white collaged image showing the portraits of Tom Wilson and Leah Armstrong

The AHRC collaborative doctoral awards encourage research projects that link academic and non-HE partners. Working with both the Design Museum and the Chartered Society of Designers, the University’s Design Archives were successful in winning two studentships, in 2010 and 2011. We are now delighted to share the progress and career advancement of the students.

This summer, Tom Wilson was appointed Head of Collection and Research at the Design Museum to lead the development and implementation of the collection, library and archive for the new museum. Tom’s doctoral project considers the history of the former Commonwealth Institute building into which the Design Museum moves in 2016. Entitled, ‘Design Strategies and the Representation of the Commonwealth: From Institute to Museum’ his thesis makes the first detailed analysis of the unique records of the exhibition displays by James Gardner, held in the Design Archives. In his new role he will have a key role in design resource development at an international level.

Leah Armstrong, whose doctoral project at the Design Archives mined the membership records of the Chartered Society of Designers to map the evolving shape of the design profession, is about to move to Vienna where she has been appointed Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the History and Theory of Design, University of Applied Arts (Angewandte). Having undertaken research fellowships at the V&A and Glasgow School of Art since graduating, elements of Leah’s archival research are about to appear in the Journal of Design History. She is also working on a book project with Dr Felice McDowell entitled Fashioning Professionals.

With research practice and knowledge transfer at the heart of the Design Archives’ work, the professional competencies and confidence of all the students who engage with the collections is of paramount importance. As Curatorial Director of the Design Archives, Professor Moriarty commented, “Tom and Leah’s success goes to show that research undertaken in a dynamic and collaborative environment, where inquiry is nested in stewardship, reaps enduring benefits.”

Tom Wilson’s supervisors:
University of Brighton: Catherine Moriarty, Anita Rupprecht
Design Museum: Helen Charman, Donna Loveday
AHRC no. AH/1025085/1

Leah Armstrong’s supervisors:
University of Brighton: Catherine Moriarty, Jonathan Woodham
Chartered Society of Designers: Frank Peters
AHRC no. AH/H036121/1

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Sirpa Kutilainen • September 28, 2015


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