We study how social groups shape their surroundings and how they create, use and appropriate design products. We also examine how design reacts materially and symbolically to cultural, social, economic and political circumstances. We focus on how the production and consumption of design shape cultural interaction.
We explore new approaches to historicising design, taking account of institutional structures, geopolitics, environmental sustainability and activist networks. Starting from a European perspective, we follow transnational patterns to observe the complex circuits of social life shaping contemporary design practices. We draw on theoretical approaches that explain cultural dynamics: gender studies, theories of national identity, post-colonial and decolonial theories, new materialism and the interaction between materiality and visual culture.
We study various forms of design:
- Product design
- Graphic design
- Fashion and dress
- Interior design
Our group is a part of the CLUE+ Humanities Research Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Within CLUE+ we work on the research field ‘Paradigms of creativity, Practices of Production, mediation, and Reception in Media, Art, Literature and Design’.