This is the Centre for Design History’s statement on how our researchers think about ‘Design’, and how we understand our work

At the Centre for Design History, we research ‘design’ in its broadest, most inclusive forms. We critique and question Western, industrialised and commercialised hierarchies and hegemonies of modern design, including its legacies in research, practice and education. We consider the designed objects, spaces, images, systems and paradigms that are produced, consumed and entangled with all human and non-human activity. We consider the handmade, the unique, the digital and the ephemeral as well as the mechanised and mass manufactured. We are interested in aesthetics, function and form but also emotions, senses, politics, ethics, power structures and systems of thought. While many of us engage with individual ‘designers’, we also privilege the amateur, the collective, the consumer, the pluriverse and the multiverse, and the many other agents involved in the global production of images and objects. At the Centre for Design History, our methods and influences are transdisciplinary. We focus on design throughout histories, including the present and future.

Our many and transdisciplinary research interests extend to research across other arts and humanities, the social sciences, engineering, sustainability, health, and community engagement. A wide social and economic impact develops through our links with the local and global cultural sector, particularly museums and art galleries, government and voluntary sectors and creative businesses. Our research in design history makes an important contribution to knowledge making, cultural life and wellbeing.