The Centre for Design History applies a cross-disciplinary perspective to understand how design in all its forms has shaped things, spaces and actions across time. Our approach extends to other arts and humanities, the social sciences, engineering, health, and community engagement. We aim to develop wide social and economic impact via our links with the cultural sector, particularly museums and art galleries, government and voluntary sectors and, crucially, creative businesses. Our research makes an important contribution to cultural life and wellbeing.
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, opportunities have emerged 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.
All of CMNH’s' real-world/face-to-face activities are cancelled until it is deemed safe for everyone to revert to normal life. The risks to people's health in carrying on as usual are now clearly too great, and it would be irresponsible to continue our non-virtual activities until those risks significantly diminish.
If you would like to hear about CMNH on-line seminars and events directly please email us and ask to subscribe to our mailing list. Memorynarrativehistories@brighton.ac.uk
In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories affirms its commitment to developing historical research that challenges racial and other social inequalities, oppressions and injustices; interrogates dominant racist and other ideological meanings of the past; and produces alternative histories and memories to generate fresh thinking about transformed futures. This commitment requires unremitting dedication to anti-racist work aimed at achieving a fully participatory and egalitarian ethos in all aspects of education and the production of knowledge.
As one contribution to this end, CMNH supports the following Joint Statement of Intent for the Heritage Sector, issued by leading organisations in the UK museums, galleries, heritage and archives sector, to identify and actively confront racism in all aspects of the sector’s work:
"The Black Lives Matter movement began in America after a series of killings of black people in or following police custody. The movement has resonance in the UK, not least because of our nation’s history in which racism has become entrenched.
"As the leading membership bodies representing the UK museums, galleries, heritage and archives we take responsibility for ending racism in the heritage sector. This work is overdue. This work is non-negotiable. It cuts across all aspects of our sector, from the collections we curate and preserve, the people who make up the heritage workforce, to the learning programmes we deliver. The conversation and the action is ongoing.
"We commit to pro-actively support:
representing our members across the heritage sector, acknowledging that our nation’s history and heritage is an invaluable tool in the fight against racism and discrimination.
"Signees: The Group for Education in Museums (GEM), The Association of Independent Museums (AIM), The International Council of Museums UK (ICOM UK), The Museums Association, The Heritage Alliance, Engage, The Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland), and The Association for Heritage Interpretation."
For CMNH's current engagements in anti-racist and anti-colonialist research, see the research area ‘Race’ and representation: The politics of history, memory and reparation
For an introduction to the wider culture of anti-racist education and critique at the University of Brighton, see the journal Decolonising the Curriculum: Teaching and Learning about Race Equality, edited by Marlon Moncrieffe, Yaa Asare, Robin Dunford and Heba Youssef, Issue 2, December 2019).