Photograph of the Design Archive's reading room. In the foreground is a desk with files, a pencil, gloves and a brown box on top, a trolly with archive boxes is to the side of the desk.


The University of Brighton Design Archives (UoBDA) and Centre for Design History (CDH) invite applications for a funded International Visiting Research Fellow (VRF) to spend time at the CDH and the Design Archives in the spring semester (February-June 2024) of 2023/24 to pursue their research within the UoBDA’s collections and within CDH’s themes, and to form collaborations with the Design Archives and with CDH members.

Working closely with CDH, the University of Brighton Design Archives is a world-renowned resource for twentieth century design history. Our unique collections and distinctive principle of research-led engaged stewardship generate critical reflection on a diverse range of collection-based practices and disciplinary fields. At the heart of our mission is the mobilisation of archival content to enrich and refine understandings of design and its social contexts over time.  

CDH examines the production and consumption of visual and material culture – images and things – in their widest social and cultural contexts across diverse histories and geographies. It contributes to an expanded field of design history that embraces the conjunction of professional and amateur practices; digital and analogue artefacts; the decentring of design practice away from the singular object to complex ecologies, objects and systems, and the role of design and material culture in everyday life. It is committed to taking global perspectives on how colonial and post-colonial narratives of design have been constructed and to consider what voices and practices these exclude. 

CDH research is currently grouped around five thematic strands: 

  • Fashion and dress histories 
  • Graphic design histories 
  • Transnational design histories 
  • Museums, archives and exhibitions 
  • Sustainability 

Cutting across these themes, we are committed to research approaches and practices that decentre cultural privilege and engage with the University’s Global Challenges agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We particularly welcome applications that address these areas.  

CDH comprises over 50 members including artists and designers, archivists and curators, activists and academics from PhDs to Professors. We have a vibrant research community and a rich programme of seminars, workshops and conferences. For detail of recent CDH activities, see our lively blog. 

This fellowship is dedicated to a project that is specifically focussed on Design Archives collections and/or design archives in theory and practice. 

The aims of the International Visiting Research Fellow scheme are to: 

* provide an external researcher with an opportunity to immerse themselves in CDH’s research culture 

* offer an opportunity for an external researcher to work collaboratively with the Design Archives 

* foster international networks within design history research 

* develop a stimulating intellectual environment for advancing collaborative bid development, co-convening events and / or co-authoring publications 

* give a visiting researcher a platform for presenting their research to staff and students 

Travel, accommodation and Fellowship-related research costs up to £1200 are part of the Fellowship (to include the £200 administrative fee for the scheme), but no salary or stipend will be paid. Fellowships run for the duration of the semester, fellows are not expected to reside in Brighton for all of this time, but will be required to visit Brighton to benefit from and contribute to our research community (stays are usually expected to last between two weeks and two months).  

For visa purposes, where needed, CDH can provide a letter with the formal start / end dates plus an outline of the specifics of the role. 

Visiting Research Fellows will have access to: 

* University of Brighton campus card, which enables access to University facilities and resources, such as the library.  

* Design Archives Reading Rooms (appointments must be booked in advance of your stay in Brighton to ensure availability) 

* Information Services (including libraries) and to computer, printing and copying facilities 

* University of Brighton email address 

* Sponsor (a member of CDH academic staff) plus CDH administrative support 

In addition to conducting their own research, Visiting Research Fellows will be expected to: 

* contribute to the CDH’s vibrant research community 

* contribute a post to the CDH’s blog 

* give a seminar on their research open to all staff and students 


We are inviting applications from established researchers beyond the UK and this position is not for Doctoral students. If you have been awarded a PhD within the past 24 months, see the Post Doctoral VRF call. If your project does not focus on the collections at the University of Brighton Design Archives specifically, refer to the CDH only International VRF Scheme. 

Applications are due by 5pm GMT on Monday 29th January 2024 to 

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 1st February 2024. Any Fellowship-related costs need to be settled by 15th July 2024 (and must meet the University expenses policy, available on request).  

Applicants should ensure that they address the following in their application: 

* their proposed contribution to CDH’s research culture (with justification for their activities to take place either remotely or in-person; travel to Brighton is preferred, but optional, depending on the applicant’s plans) 

* the fit between their plans and one or more of CDH’s themes and priorities, and, where appropriate, with the collections and mission of the Design Archives, 

*the fit between their plans and one or more of CDH’s themes and priorities 

* details of the collaborative activities and outcomes to be delivered during their Fellowship 

* indication of how the £1000 expenses will be spent, and the duration and format of the planned Fellowship 

Applicants for the Design Archives/CDH Fellowship are asked to contact Sue Breakell, Archive Director, in advance of submission to discuss their proposal – 

How to apply 

Please refer to the application forms and details linked below, but please note that documents need to be submitted in the first instance, by the deadline, to

Visiting Research Fellowship Guidance
CDH UoBDA International Visiting Fellow Application Form
IT Account Registration