The cross-disciplinary perspective of the Centre for Design History extends to other arts and humanities, the social sciences, engineering, health, and community engagement and orchestrates wide social and economic impact via its links with the cultural sector, particularly museums and art galleries, government and voluntary sectors, and creative businesses.
The centre contributes to an expanded field of design history that embraces the conjunction of professional and non-professional practices; digital and analogue artefacts; the de-centring of design practice away from singular object to complex ecologies, objects and systems, and the embedding of design thinking into management and organisational processes.
While traditionally, design history has been applied to museology, business history and within academia (both informing design practitioners and as a subject in its own right), opportunities emerge for new applications and forms of impact for the discipline. The current reflexive use of design as a value in policy and planning opens up new fields of investigation both in contemporary design history and re-investigating the past, and offers exciting opportunities to pioneer new research routes and produce new, impactful and high-quality research outcomes.
The Centre for Design History’s partnership and co-location with the University of Brighton Design Archives ensures researchers of international standing continue to visit UoB and recognise its significance as a centre of excellence and through which, new fruitful exchanges and plans are developed. Recent research initiatives include conferences and symposia linking with archives held here, and doctoral studentships on ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design [Tanya Messel] and ICOGRADA (International Council of Societies of Graphic Design Organisations [Dora Souza Dias])
The centre has a close partnership with the nearby Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove, enhanced by co-curations and research projects across a range of collections, collaborative doctoral supervision, and notable academics who work or have worked at both institutions.
Through a co-developed professorial post with the V&A, the University of Brighton’s partnership with the V&A has been particularly rich. Other close connections with the multiplicity of South East galleries and archives include Ditchling Museum of Art + Crafts; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill; Worthing Museum; British Museum; Whitechapel Gallery; Design Museum; London Transport Museum; Jewish Museum, London. We work further afield with Bowes Museum, Bluecoat, Liverpool, Weimar Klassik Stiftung (Germany); Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin; Wolfsonian Florida International University, USA.
The place of the University of Brighton in establishing international dialogue in Design History is witnessed by the active interchange of visiting academics and international conferences. Among the most notable of these are the Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts, Vienna; National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; Ambedkar University, New Delhi; Research Centre for Material Culture, Leiden; Cooper Hewitt - Parsons New School, New York; Bauhaus Museum, Weimar; Wolfsonian Florida International University; Tsuda University, Tokyo; University of São Paulo, and University of Rennes.
Members of the Centre participate in the activities of the Design Museum London; De La Warr Pavilion; Charleston Trust (Bloomsbury in Sussex); Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft; Brighton Museum and Art Gallery; Worthing Museum and Art Gallery; Design Council; Design History Society; the Association for Art History; the Costume Society; Association of Dress Historians; Design Research Society; College Art Association (USA); Gesellschaft für Designgeschichte (Germany); ICDHS International Conferences on Design History and Studies; 4T Design History Society (Turkey); Design History Workshop Japan, and the Dutch Design History Society.
In 2016 the University hosted the 50th Design Research Society conference (led by Professor Peter Lloyd) and in 2019, the University of Brighton will host the annual Association of Art History (led by Dr Lara Perry).