This resource is presented by the Design Archives as a record of an exhibition by design historians Jill Seddon and Suzette Worden on women designers in 1994. Though undertaken twenty years ago this research explored issues that remain at the centre of design historical investigation today, namely, the design professions, the significance of designer networks, and design exhibitions. Digitising this material provides a record of activities in the 1990s and reveals the connections between scholarship of different periods and the extended impact of pioneering research.
Inspired by the early work of feminist art and design historians in the 1980s, Jill Seddon and colleague Suzette Worden began to search out and record the names of overlooked female designers. Focusing on the interwar period in Britain, a time when strenuous efforts were being made to establish design as a profession, they started to examine the ways in which individual women designers worked both with, and against, this definition.
The list of women designers they compiled was built from a range of sources, including The Studio magazine; the Archive of Art and Design; Central St Martin’s Art and Design archives; the Design Council Archive; the RIBA Archive; the DIA Archives; the Crafts Study Centre; the Women’s Art Library; the Women’s International Art club archives; fellow researchers; museum collections and private collectors; surviving designers and designers’ family members. It was this list which came to underpin the 1994 exhibition.
Jill Seddon’s and Suzette Warden’s book ‘Women Designing: Redefining Design in Britain between the Wars’ is available to buy.