Scholarly biography and interests  

Professor Jonathan Woodham is a leading figure in the development of the History of Design as an academic discipline over the past three decades. He was Director of the Centre for Research & Development (Faculty of Arts) at the University of Brighton from 1998 to 2015. Having initially joined the institution in 1982 as course leader for the then new and innovative BA(Hons) History of Design degree, he was awarded his Professorship of Design History at Brighton in 1993, the year in which he also became founding Director of the Design History Research Centre. His first degree was in Fine Art (First Class, 1973) at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art, before he went on to take an MA in British Romantic Art under Professor Michael Kitson at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1974).

Woodham was involved in curriculum innovation in design history from the mid-1970s, becoming closely involved with the Design History Research Group and the Design History Society, founded in 1977. He later played a key role in the establishment in 1994 of what was to become the internationally significant Design Archive at the University of Brighton and has been intimately involved with most of its subsequent major acquisitions.

Professor Woodham has contributed as a keynote speaker to many international conferences over the past 20 years. These include a number of significant design history-centred conferences in many countries including Belgium, UK, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. Professor Woodham has published widely since the late 1970s, having also been a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of a number of leading periodicals in the field and a national and international peer reviewer for leading research funding bodies.

Research focus

Professor Woodham’s research expertise is largely centred on design issues in the industrialised world from the early twentieth century to the present day, particularly within a British context. These include various aspects of governmental policy and design in Britain and overseas, particularly those of design and the state, the politics of design, design and national identity, design and imperialism, the sociology and culture of design, the development of the design profession, and the meaning of design in everyday life. His research is also particularly concerned the intersection of design with economic, political, social and cultural concerns in Britain over the past century.  

Woodham has become increasingly concerned with the realities of 'lost histories' whereby, in the increasingly powerful economic pressure to modernise and globalise, the significance of many indigenous contemporary design traditions and those embracing issues of cultural heritage are simply being swept aside in the quest for economic success. This is not restricted to design activity in those countries that have undergone rapid industrialisation in the recent past, where the drive to establish an internationally oriented design language and design profession has often severed links with the national past, but also in countries – such as a number of those in Eastern Europe – where economic re-orientation and significant investment by western industrialised concerns has also impacted upon the maintenance of distinctive national design identities.

Featured works and projects

Prof Jonathan Woodham: Dictionary of Modern Design

Dictionary of Modern Design

The 2005 Dictionary of Modern Design is a major, internationally acclaimed and best-selling reference book on contemporary design culture.

Research from the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

Design Historical Map

Prof Woodham's project tackles the problem of traditional design historical focus being limited to particular countries in the industrialised world

Prof Jonathan Woodham: National Design Policies

National Design Policies

This article was prompted by the publication on 5 January 2009 of the American Design Communities’ Redesigning America’s Future

Prof Jonathan Woodham: Expo '58

Expo '58

The chapter focused on the British Government’s Pavilion and site conceived and designed by James Gardner

Research from the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

Britain Can Make It

This article focused on the Furnished Rooms Section of the 1946 'Britain Can Make It' Exhibition (BCMI), the COID’s first major public showpiece

Prof Jonathan Woodham: Twentieth Century Tudor

Twentieth Century Tudor

Jonathan Woodham's chapter developed from an invitation to participate in a symposium sponsored by Colston Research Society and the British Academy.

Prof Jonathan Woodham: Slovenia and Iskra

Slovenia and Iskra

The aim of both the book and the exhibition was to recover the ‘lost’ or ‘hidden’ history of the Iskra company

Research Activity

Repository holdings

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Extended list of works


(2016) In preparation: British Design 1915 to 2015: Empire, the Welfare State and Entrepreneurialism (contract negotiations underway) 

(2006) A Dictionary of Modern Design, Oxford University Press, paperback (2006) ISBN: 0192806394, hardback (2004) ISBN: 0192800973. 

(1997) Twentieth-century Design, Oxford University Press, 1997, paperback, ISBN: 0192842048, hardback, ISBN: 0192842471. 

(1990) Twentieth-century Ornament: Decoration from 1900 to the Present, Cassell, ISBN: 028980020X. 

(1983) The Industrial Designer and the Public, Pembridge Press, ISBN: 0862060060. 


(2009) From art school to university: art & design at Brighton 1859-2009, University of Brighton, 100pp. ISBN:  978-1-905593-59-0.

Edited and co-authored books

(2009) Co-edited Philippa Lyon, Art and Design at Brighton 1859-2009: From Arts and Manufactures to the Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Brighton, 2009, 400pp. ISBN: 1905503589.

(2007) Co-edited with Alan Tomlinson, Image, Power and Space: Studies in Consumption & Identity, Meyer & Meyer, Aachen and Oxford, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-84126-244-4.

(2004) Co-edited with Volker Albus and Eyer Kras, Reyer, Icons of Design: the Twentieth Century, paperback, Prestel, ISBN: 3791331736.

(1998) Co-edited with P MaguireDesign and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain: Britain Can Make it Exhibition of 1946, University of Leicester Press, 1998, paperback, ISBN: 0718501411, hardback, ISBN: 071850073.

(1986) Co-edited with Suzette Worden, From Art School to Polytechnic: serving industry and the community from Brighton – 1859 to 1986, Brighton Polytechnic. ISBN 10 0904167305.

Book Chapters

(2014) 'Ilmari Tapiovaara - Design, myth and reality in Finland' in A Svenskberg (ed), Ilmari Tapiovaara life and design, Designmuseo, Helsinki, pp.142-165 ISBN: 9789529878840

(2014) Chapter 6 , ‘Advertising and Design Culture’ (Section III: Science Fiction as Culture) in Rob Latham (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.364-382 ISBN: 9780199838844

(2012) ‘Urban Visions: Design and the Welfare State’ in C Breward & G Wood (eds) Design in Britain 1948-2012, London: V&A, 2012.

(2011)‘Mrs Thatcher and Postmodern Design’ in J Pavitt & G Adamson, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990, London: V&A, 2011, pp.238-241.

(2010) ‘Twentieth Century Tudor Design in Britain: an ideological battleground’, in T C String & M Bull, (eds) Tudorism: Historical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century, Proceedings of the British Academy, Oxford University Press.

(2009) ‘Post 1945 Industrial Design Perspectives – Slovenia and Iskra in a changing world’ In Barbara Predan (ed) ISKRA: 1946-90, Non-Aligned  Design, Architecture Museum, Ljubljana.

(2009) Chapter 1, ‘Brighton School of Art: from Victorian origins to the twenty-first century’ in Philippa Lyon & Jonathan M Woodham (eds), Art and Design at Brighton 1859-2009: From Arts and Manufactures to the Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Brighton, pp29-174. ISBN: 1905503589.

(2009) Chapter 5, ‘The ‘Art College’ Basement: some recollections, in Philippa Lyon & Jonathan M Woodham (eds) Art and Design at Brighton 1859-2009: From Arts and Manufactures to the Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Brighton, pp265-285. ISBN: 1905503589.

(2007) ‘Britishness in Design, Material Culture and Popular Artefacts’ in Alan Tomlinson & Jonathan M Woodham, Image, Power and Space: Studies in Consumption & Identity, Meyer & Meyer, pp135-63. ISBN: 978-1-84126-244-4.

(2007) ‘Foreword’ in Zap Art- Twenty Five Years of Cultural Innovation, Zap Art, Brighton, 2007, pp8-12.

(2006) ‘Entre Plusieurs Mondes: Le Site Britannique’, in Rika Devos  & Mil De Kooning (eds),L’Architecture Moderne À L’Expo 58: ‘Pour Un Monde Plus Humain. Fonds Mercator/Dexia Banque, pp246-261. ISBN 90 6153 6421.

(2005) ‘Charles and Ray Eames: bridging industrial and post-industrial design’, in Designer Hall of Fame: Charles and Ray Eames, Gwanju Biennale 2005, South Korea, pp62-6.

(2005) ‘Eurooppalaisen ja Amerikkalaisen Art Decon Ornamentiiikasta’ in Art Deco 1918-1939: modernia eksotiikkaa, Designmuseo, Helsinki. ISBN 9529878389.

(2003) ‘From Pattern to Abstraction’ in T Benton, C Benton, G Wood (eds) Art Deco 1910-1939, London: Victoria & Albert Museum. ISBN: 082122834X.

(2003) ‘Postmodernism’ in Noel Riley & Patricia Bayer (eds), Elements of Style, Mitchell Beazley, pp482-505 ISBN: 1840004312.

(2001) ‘A British Perspective’ in Vernacular Mirror: 20C Design Collection, ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design), Seoul.

(2001) ‘British Design History from an International Perspective’ in Helena Dunin-Woyseth and Jan Michl (eds), Towards a Disciplinary Identity in the Making Professions: The Oslo Millennium Reader, Oslo School of Architecture.

(2000) ‘Recent Trends in Design History Research’ in Anna Calvera (ed) Historíar des de la Perifèria, Historia I Historias del Disseny, University of Barcelona.

(2000) ‘A Brand New Britain?’ in Jane Pavitt (ed), V&A/Princeton University.

(1999) ‘The Council of Industrial Design and the Co-operative Wholesale Society’ in Judy Attfield (ed), Utility Re-Assessed - The Role of Ethics in the Practice of Design, Manchester University Press, 1999, IBSN: 0719058449.

(1999) ‘Design and the Role of the State’ in Judy Attfield (ed), Utility Re-Assessed - The Role of Ethics in the Practice of Design, Manchester University Press. IBSN: 0719058449.

(1997) Chapter 2, ‘Britain Can Make It and the History of Design’, in Patrick Maguire & Jonathan M Woodham, Design and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain: Britain Can Make it Exhibition of 1946, University of Leicester Press, 1998, paperback, ISBN: 0718501411, hardback, ISBN: 071850073.

(1997) Chapter 4, ‘The Politics of persuasion: State, Indusry and Good Design at the Britain Can Make It Exhibition’, in Patrick Maguire & Jonathan M Woodham, Design and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain: Britain Can Make it Exhibition of 1946, University of Leicester Press, 1998, paperback, ISBN: 0718501411, hardback, ISBN: 071850073.

(1997) Chapter 6, ‘Putting the Industrial Into Design: Early Problems Facing the Council of Industrial Design’, in Patrick Maguire & Jonathan M Woodham, Design and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain: Britain Can Make it Exhibition of 1946, University of Leicester Press, 1998, paperback, ISBN: 0718501411, hardback, ISBN: 071850073.

(1996) ‘The Consumers of the Future: Council of Industrial Design Educational Strategies for Schools from 1944 to the late 1950s’ in Linda Sandino & Jane Pavitt (eds), The Camberwell Collection: Object Lesson, Camberwell College/London Institute. ISBN: 0952901706.

(1994) ‘Design, Industry and Propaganda: British Exhibition Policy at Home and Abroad in the Nineteenth Century’ in M Ganci & M Giuffrè (eds),  Dall’Artigianito all’Industria: L’Esposizione Nazionale di Palermo del 1891-92, Società Siciliana per la Storia Patria, Palermo, pp301-18.

(1994) ‘Women, Design and the State in the Interwar Years: A Case Study of Elizabeth Denby and the Council for Art & Industry’, in Jill Seddon, & Suzette Worden, Women Designing: Defining Design in Britain Between the Wars, University of Brighton. ISBN: 1871966426.

(1993) ‘Ornament and Industrial Culture: Design and Meaning in the 20th Century’, in Industrial Design: Reflection of a Century - 19th to 21st Century, Flammarion (English and French editions), 1993. ISBN: 2080135392.

(1987) ‘British Modernism: Illusion and Reality’, in Anty Pansera (ed) Tradizione e Modernismo: Design 1918-40, L’Arca, Milan.

(1987) ‘Ceramic History’ in Hazel Conway (ed), Design History: A Student Handbook, Allen & Unwin. ISBN: 0047090197.

(1986) ‘Interview with Lord Reilly” in Penny Sparke (ed), Did Britain Make It?, London: Design Council, ISBN: 0850721687.

(1986) ‘Design Promotion 1946 and After’ in Penny Sparke (ed), Did Britain Make It?, London: Design Council. ISBN: 0850721687.

(1985) ‘The Post War Consumer: Design Propaganda and awareness’ in Nicola Hamilton (ed),Design Since 1945: From Spitfire to the Microchip, Design Council.  ISBN 0850721342.

(1980) ‘British Art in Industry 1935’ in Design and industry: the effects of industrialisation and technical change on design, N Hamilton (ed), Design Council, 1980, pp39-44, ISBN: 0850721148.

Conference Organisation

For many years Professor Woodham has been involved in conference organisation, an important means of furthering debate from early ventures when he was the events organiser for the Design History Society, such as the Design, Industry and Film Archives conference, London (1979) and the Design History and Business Archives conference, London (1980) through to his involvement with international conferences as a member of the international organizing collective of the International Conference for Design History and Design Studies (ICDHS, established Barcelona 1999). ICDHS has held conferences in Barcelona (1999), Havana (2000), Istanbul (2002), Guadalajara (2004), Helsinki (2006),  Osaka (2008) and Brussels (forthcoming 2010).

(2009) Art and Design Education for the 21st Century International Conference: 6-7 February, University of Brighton

(2008) Member of International Organising Committee for ANOTHER NAME FOR DESIGN: Words for Creation, International Conference on Design History and Design Studies, Osaka, Japan

(2006) Czech Design Symposium on Challenge and Change: Czech Decorative Arts and Glass in the 20th and 21st Centuries in conjunction with the Czech Centre, Brighton University

(2005) Czech Design Symposium on Czech Design, Culture and Society: Changing Climates in conjunction with Czech Design Icons exhibition in conjunction with the Czech Centre, University of Brighton

(2002) Member of International Organising Committee for Mind the Map: Beyond Borders International Conference on Design History and Design Studies, Istanbul, Turkey

(1999- ) Participant in idiscussions resulting in the formation of the International Council of Design History & Design Studies (ICDHS) which has been holding biennial international exhibitions ever since, with the aim of extending design discourse on a genuinely international front, beyond Anglophone  and leading industrialized nations

(1995) Design, Industry and Government Initiatives: Past, Present and Future,  organiser of international conference, Design History Research Centre, University of Brighton

(1987) Design History: Past, Present and Future, 10th Anniversary Conference of the Design History Society, London and Brighton in conjunction with the Design Museum

(1986) Design, Imperialism and the Visual Arts theme at the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, Brighton Polytechnic

(1980) Design History and Business Archives Conference for Design History Society at the Victoria and Albert Museum

(1979) Design, Industry and Film Archives Conference for the Design History Society in conjunction with Dunlop Limited at Dunlop House, London

Journal articles

(2010) ‘Formulating National Design Policies: Recycling the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’?', Design Issues. ISSN:0747-9360.

(2005) ‘Local, National and Global: Redrawing the Design Historical Map’,  Journal of Design History, 18 (3). pp257-267. ISSN 17417279.

(2004) ‘Design and everyday life at the Britain can make it exhibition, 1946: 'stripes, spots, white wood and homespun versus chintzy armchairs and iron bedsteads with brass knobs’, Journal of Architecture, 9 (4), pp463-76. ISSN 1360-2365.

(2004) ‘The Design Archive at Brighton: serendipity and strategy’,  Art Libraries Journal, 29 (3). pp15-21. ISSN 0307-4722.

(2003) ’Building on the past, looking to the future: design history in the Twenty First Century’,Design History (Japan), 1. ISSN 1348-5407.

(2001) ‘The Festival of Britain and the Council of Industrial Design: Educating the Consumer in Postwar Britain’, Crafts Magazine, September/October, 2001.

(2001) ‘Designing Design History: From Pevsner to Postmodernism’, Working Papers in Communication Research Archive, Vol 1(1): Digitisation and Knowledge. ISSN1177-3707. For pdf click here.

(1996) ‘Managing British Design Reform I: Fresh Perspectives on the Early Years of the Council of Industrial Design’, Journal of Design History, Vol 9, no. 1, 1996, pp 55-65. ISSN:09524649.

(1996) ‘Managing British Design Reform II: The Film  - An Ill-Fated Episode in the Politics of ‘Good Taste’,  Journal of Design History, Vol 9, no. 2, 1996, pp 101-115. ISSN: 09524649.

(1995) ‘Redesigning a Chapter in the History of British Design: The Design Council Archive at the University of Brighton’, Journal of Design History, Vol. 8, No. 3 (1995), pp. 225-229.

(1995) 'Resisting Colonization: Design History has its own Disciplinary Status', Design Issues, Vol. 11, No. 1, Spring, 1995, pp. 22-37.

(1994) ‘Fact, fiction and fantasy : design in Brighton between the Wars’, Southern History,  vol 16, 1994, pp. 152-179. ISSN: 0142-4688.

(1993) ‘Establishing a Permanent Collection: The Centre de Creation Industrielle’, Journal of Design History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (1993), , pp. 55-57 ISSN:09524649.

(1993) invited participant in published debates on ‘Disseny i llibertat en el procés de creació de formes’ in Special Issue on “Diseño, Herramento de Futuro”,Temes De Disseny, No 8, April.

(1989) ‘Images of Africa and British Design Between the Wars’, Journal of Design History, Vol 2, no. 1, 1989, pp.15-23 ISSN:09524649.

(1986) ‘Escape from the Imitation Game’ (Hong Kong) in Design Magazine, May.

(1986) ‘Designs on Britain: A New Mythology’, In Designer, November.

(1980) ‘Design and Empire: British Design in the 1920s’, Art History, June, 1980.

Encyclopaedia, biographical and dictionary entries

(2004) ‘Gardner, (Leslie) James (1907–1995), designer and graphic artist’, Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. Biography index number 101058538.

(2004)’ Braddell [née Busse], Dorothy Adelaide (1889–1981), designer and decorative artist’, Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. Oxford Biography Index Number 10106396.

(2004) ‘Scott, Douglas William (1913–1990), industrial designer and educator’, Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. Oxford Biography Index Number 101066042.

(1997) Essays on the ‘Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels 1925’ and ‘Exposition International – Arts et Techniques 1937’, a definitive essay on Modernism (8000 words), and entries on Donald Deskey and Betty Joel in Joanna Banham (ed), Encyclopaedia of Interior Design, 2 volumes, Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN:1-884964-19-2.

(1997) All British entries (with Sarah Hardaker) in Le Dictionnaire International des Arts Appliqués et du Design, Editions du Regard, Paris.

Selected conference papers, lectures, panels

(2015) Invited keynote at the 40 Years On: The Domain of Design History – Looking Back Looking Forward conference, 22 May, 2015 (forthcoming)

(2015 Invited keynote at Being Modern Conference: Science and Culture in the early 20th Century at the Institute of Historical Research, London organised and supported by the Science Museum, Queen Mary’s at the University of London, the Sainsbury Centre and the AHRC, 22-24 April 2015(forthcoming)

(2015) Chair of the ‘Thinking Modern with Science’ strand for the above conference(forthcoming).

(2014) Strand co-Chair with Dr Helena Barbosa: ‘Design Histories: tradition, transgression and transformations’, member of Scientific Committee and Round Table for the 9th ICDHS Conference on Tradition, Transition, Trajectories: major or minor influences?, Aveiro, Portugal, 8-11 July 2014  

(2014) Invited to deliver keynote on ‘Design and Place: Time and Place’ and to lead scholars’ workshop focussing on the relationship between Chicago as a place and the design and designers that developed there. Supported and organized by The Terra Foundation for American Art. Chicago, this workshop brought together approximately 25 academics, archivists, museum curators, practitioners and collectors with a special interest in Chicago’s design history 

(2014) Invited plenary reviewer for ‘1920-45 Inter-Asia design assimilation: Translations, Differentiations and Transmission’ Symposium, Design Museum, London, part of AHRC-funded project: Translating East Asian Design for the Global World 

(2012) ‘Design, Histories, Empires and Peripheries’, 8th International Conference of Design History and Design Studies (ICDHS), Sao Paolo, Brazil; also member of plenary panel session on national design policies and chair of the ‘New Imperialism’ strand.

(2011) ‘Max Gill’s large-scale decorative North Atlantic Map in the Queen Mary’s 1st Class Restaurant, 1936: design in a changing world’, paper presented to the Out of the Shadows: MacDonald (‘Max’) Gill Symposium at the University of Brighton

(2008) Keynote: ‘Design Peripheries, Hidden Histories and the Cartography of Design’, in: Another Name for Design: Words for Creation, Conference Proceedings, International Conference for Design History and Design Studies, Osaka, Japan.

(2008) Panellist: Words for Design: A Comparative Study of Design Terminology, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures/Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts,  sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research.

(2008) Invited specialist contribution, ‘Twentieth-Century Tudor Design in Britain: An Ideological Battleground’, to Tudorism: Historical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century three-day symposium at the University of Bristol, sponsored by the Colston Research Society and the British Academy.

(2008) ‘Throwaway Society: New Thinking, Old Words?’ as one of five invited international experts to contribute to EPSRC Network seminar on he Throwaway Society: Origins, Causes and Consequences, held under the auspices of the Centre for Sustainable Consumption at Sheffield Hallam University.

(2008) Invited speaker, ‘Experiences in Supervising Doctorates in the Arts’, invited speaker at Symposium on Research in the Creative Arts at Insttut voor Onderzoek in der Kunsten, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

(2007) Expert Panellist, 'Art & Design in a Modern World' at inaugural Washington DC Art Fair, Washington Convention Centre.

(2007) ‘Cool Britannia:  The Branding of the UK through the Arts’, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London.

(2006) Keynote: 'Design Today: Its Transformation in the 21st Century', organised by the Center for Industrial Design Research, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México at the Franz Meyer Museum, Mexico City.

(2006) ‘Hierarchies and Boundaries: Function and Ornament’, invited speaker and panellist at the Yale Center for British Art Conference on Histories of British Design: Where Next? At the V&A.

(2005) Keynote: ‘Charles and Ray Eames: bridging industrial and post-industrial design’, in Gwangju Design Biennale 2005: International Conference, South Korea, pp172-177.

(2005) Keynote: ‘An Outsider Looking In: Seaside Deco in Napier from a Brighton Perspective’, the Society of Architectural Historians of Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ).

(2005) ‘The Globalization and Commodification of Design History’, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.

(2005) ‘From Socialist Aspiration to Bourgeois Consumption: Design, Sculpture and the Crafts in Italy 1946-1956’, invited speaker, Design & Sculpture international conference, University of Brighton.

(2005) Britishness in Design, Material Culture and Popular Artefacts, University of Turku, Finland.

(2004) ‘Britishness in Design, Material Culture and Popular Artefacts’, Renvall Institute, University of Helsinki.

(2005) ‘Branding and Mapping:  Design History & Colonization’, Globalization & Representation international conference, University of Brighton.

(2003) Keynote: ‘Design History in the Twenty First Century’, inaugural address at launch of Design History  (Japan), Tokyo.

(2003) Expert commentator for The Reunion: Festival of Britain, BBC Radio 4.

(2003) ‘Design and Everyday Life at Britain Can Make It, 1946’, invited contribution for the Lessons in Living: Post-War Model Homes Conference, University of Ghent.

(2003) ‘The ICOGRADA Archive: ‘Lost Histories’ and Future Prospects’, ICOGRADA XX Assembly, Nagoya (58 nations represented).

(2002) ‘Local-doing, National-defining, Global-redefining: Disciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity and Reinvention?’ plenary and panellist at the Mind the Map: Beyond Borders International Conference on Design History and Design Studies, Istanbul

(2001) Keynote: ‘Culture, Politics & Humanities: Designing Design History for the 21st Century’, International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) International Conference Proceedings, Seoul, 2001.

(2001) ‘Brand Mania: from Nation to Education’ at Brand New Conference at the V& A, London.

(2001) Keynote: ‘Current Developments’ at the Doctoral Design Education conference, Glasgow School of Art.

(2000) ‘Designing Design, Creativity and Critiques’ paper and Symposium Chair at the Contemporary British Design, Critical Voices in the Culture of Consumption symposium, sponsored by the British Council, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw.

(2000) ‘Nation as Product? New Britain and Branding’, invited speaker at international Is Everything a Product? Symposium relating to the theme What If….?, Moderne Museet, Stockholm.

(1999) Keynote: ‘Recent Trends in Design History Research’ in Historíar des de la Perifèria, Historia I Historias del Disseny Conference at the Ist Reunió d’Historiados I Estudiosos del Disseny at Universitat de Barcelona.

(1998) Keynote: ‘Writing and Researching Design History’, address sponsored by Oxford University Press and Lund Books at the Gothenburg Book Fair/Nordic Museums Fair, Gothenburg.

(1998) Invited speaker, ‘Design Research, Design Practice’, at open Research Seminar on Practice-based Doctorates at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design with Professor Chris Frayling (RCA) and Professor Colin Painter (Wimbledon School of Art), published in Gary Crossley (ed), Practice-based Doctorates in the Creative and Performing Arts and Design, SIAD, Farnham (1999).

(1998) ‘Tradition in British Twentieth Century Design’, Museum of Applied Arts, Gothenburg.

(1998) ‘Rebranding Britain - A Millennial Mirage’ at the Design History Society Annual Conference, Huddersfield.

(1998) History of Design, Theory and Practice Seminar Series for Industrial Design Doctoral programme at the Oslo School of Architecture and Industrial Design.

(1997) On-stage conversation with Matti Naar, Marketing Manager IKEA UK Ltd, as part of Swedish Style: Carl and Karin Larsson Study Day at the V&A.

(1997) ‘The Mini Car: A Symbol of National Identity’, invited contribution to the City of Birmingham/University of Central England Millennium Lecture Series.

(1997) ‘Cultural Values, Design History and the Design Council: the End of Value or a Tabula Rasa?’, at the Association of Art Historians annual conference at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

(1997)’ Populism, Propaganda and Products or ‘Keeping Up with the Groves Family’ at the Ideal and the Real in Design, Design History Society Annual Conference at the University of Brighton.

(1996) ‘Manufacturers with Taste and Consumers of Discernment: the Illusory Goals of the Council of Industrial Design’ at conference on ‘Museums of Industrial Arts: the Historical Experience and Modern Problems’ organised by the St. Petersburg State Industrial Arts Academy and the Museum of Decorative and Industrial Arts.

(1996) ‘Council of Industrial Design Educational Strategies for Schools from the late 1940s to the late 1950s’ at the Education through Design Conference: Craft, Design and Education Practices in the Postwar Period conference, London Institute.

(1995) Invited speaker at ‘A Brave New Brighton: Aspiration and Achievement in the Interwar Years’ at the World Congress on Art Deco, Brighton/London.

(1994)  Keynote: ‘British Exhibition Policy at Home and Abroad in the Nineteenth Century’ for Dall’Artigianito all’Industria: L’Esposizione Nazionale di Palermo del 1891-92 international conference for the Società Siciliana per la Storia Patria, Palermo.

(1994) ‘ Good Design Propaganda versus Proto-Heritage Industry:  British Design Policy and Identity in the Reconstruction Period’ at the Design and Reconstruction Conference, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1994.

(1994) Invited speaker,‘Social Utopianism, Cultural Elitism & the Council of Industrial Design’ at the Utility Reassessed - Design Utopia or Strategy symposium, Winchester School of Art.

 (1993) ‘Car & Countryside: Image and Imagination at the Ocean Hotel, Saltdean’ at the Moving Through Design: the Culture of Transport & Travel, Design History Society Annual Conference, Southampton.

(1993) Invited international participant in closed seminar on practice in design historical studies, Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

(1993) Platform speaker and panel member in Formes 2000 debate at the Grand Palais, Paris, in conjunction with the Design: Mirroir du Siècle exhibition.

(1992) ‘History, Heritage and Sportsmanship: British design and national projection between the wars’ at the Trading on Design annual conference of the Design History Society, Manchester Metropolitan University.

(1991) ‘The Design Legacy of the Festival: Misplaced Opinions of the Tastemakers?’ for the Festival of Fifty-One seminar,Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

(1991) ‘Consumer Rights: Who Needs Them?’ (in respect of 20th century American design) for The Guardian Talks symposium on American Rights at the Brighton Festival, organised jointly between Brighton Polytechnic and the University of Sussex.

(1991) Chair and paper-giver at Design Museum (London) Symposium From Fascism to Democracy, examining changing attitudes to design in Eastern Europe and post-Franco Spain.

(1990) ‘Design History and Museums’ paper for Conference organised jointly by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Centre for Continuing Education, Brubeck College, University of London.

(1989) ‘Image or Reality: Corporate Identity and the Privatization of Electricity’ paper delivered at Annual Conference of the Design History Society in September, City University, London.

(1989) ‘The Marketing of Style: Italian Design in the 1950s’ for lecture series mounted jointly by Sotheby’s and the Royal Academy in conjunction with the Italian Art Exhibition at the Royal Academy.

(1987) ‘British Modernism: An Historical “Leger de Main?”’  as British representative at international design history conference in Milan in May, on theme Tradizione e Modernismo Design: 1918-1940.

(1986) ‘BCMI 1946: Social Idealism or Unfulfilled Realism’ paper delivered at the ‘Did Britain Make It?’ Conference at the Royal College of Art in conjunction with the RCA anniversary BCMI Exhibition.

(1986) ‘Japanese Industrial Design since 1945: the New Imperialism’ paper delivered at the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, Brighton.

(1985) Invited speaker, ‘The Hopes and Aspirations of Design Reformers in the 1930s’ at Conference organised jointly by the Design and Industries Association and the Design History Society Vaughan College, University of Leicester.

(1979) ‘The Success and Failure of Dorland Hall in 1933 and 1934’ at conference at the Victoria & Albert Museum in conjunction with The Thirties exhibition at the Hayward Gallery.

(1979) ‘British Art in Industry’ at the Design History Society Annual Conference at Keele University.

Research esteem 

Citations and Reviews

Much of Woodham’s work has been reviewed nationally and internationally since the 1980s. Many of his books and articles have been widely cited in design and design history publications over the past twenty years and have become standard in degree level bibliographies in many countries throughout the industrialised world. Twentieth Century Design (Oxford University Press, 1997) is widely known nationally and internationally and has sold more than 40,000 copies worldwide. Recently translated into Korean (2006) and Chinese (2007). its reviews include the following:

Woodham gives a deftly organised, extremely cool-headed account of the ideological spoon-fights behind the product ranges of modern capitalism: his range of reference and eye for detail are superb.
(Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 1997)

...a valuable contribution to the field of design studies, and it deserves careful attention. Woodham is one of many intelligent writers in the new wave of British design history. His likely to become a benchmark for measuring the aspirations and accomplishments of the movement. His book is a reasonable and valuable exploration of design history that is not easily falsified.
(Richard Buchanan, Journal of Design History, Vol 11, 1998)

Woodham successfully highlights design as a powerful marketing tool that has captured the international consumer through culture, socioeconomics, politics, and technology. Highly recommended.
(Stephen Patrick, Library Journal, 1997)

Woodham’s Oxford Dictionary of Modern Design has also sold widely and, having been published first in hardback in 2005, was issued in paperback in 2006 and reprinted. It has been included as part of Oxford University Press’s premium online service and the rights to 80% of its contents acquired by Reviews of the Dictionary have included the following:

A Dictionary of Modern Design covers the gamut of cultural artifacts and fashion touched by the concept of ‘design.’ A comprehensive lexicon that will prove to be a useful tool for both artist and designer. ****
(Art Times, March 2005)

Woodham's useful dictionary of modern design covers influential designers, movements, companies, materials, and technologies from Arts & Crafts in the 1860s to contemporary practices and practitioners....Cross-referencing and indexing are exemplary....Recommended.

Woodham explains postmodernism and every other trend, trope and personality in design in the last 150 years, keeping in mind the changing definitions of 'design'.
 (Reference & Research Book News)

An excellent lexicon of design concepts from the past 150 years.... Bottom Line: This marvellously compiled dictionary will answer just about any reference question on modern design. A delight to browse; highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.
(Library Journal (US), Starred Review, 15 February 2005)

Grants and Awards

Since the mid-1990s Professor Woodham has led a number of substantial, successful bids, including awards from the Getty Archive Program (commencing 1996 as the Program's 'largest archival project in Europe') and a British Academy award (Research Officer appointment, 1996-97). He also led a substantial bid for a prestigious six-year Institutional Research Fellow appointment at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London which was granted by the British Academy/Arts & Humanities Research Board (commencing in 1997 and still maintained by the university). Woodham has also been involved in other external grant-supported projects relating to the Design Archives and elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts. In collaboration with the Research Department at the V&A, he was successful in gaining for the university in 2005 an AHRC Collaborative Studentship Award centred on 2008's Cold War Modern exhibition at the V&A, co-curated by Jane Pavitt, formerly the University of Brighton Principal Research Fellow at the V&A.


(2005) Member, International Jury for the Inaugural Hall of Fame Award, Gwanju Design Biennale, South Korea

Peer Review Committee Experience

(2004- ) Member, Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College

(1992- ) Reviewer for British Academy, AHRB, EPSRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust and other UK research funders

(2003- ) Academy of Finland Research Council for Culture and Society Peer Reviewer

(2003) Academy of Finland: Research Council for Culture and Society, Expert Scientific Evaluator for major Industrial Design awards (one of two international experts in panel of four scientific advisors)

(2003-08) AHDS (Arts & Humanities Data Service) Visual Arts Advisory Committee member

(2000-05 and 2009) Arts & Humanities Research Board/Council (AHRB/c) Postgraduate Qualifications Awards Panel: Visual Arts & Media, 2000-2005.  Invited for 1 year involvement in 2009, the first year of post Block Grant evaluation.

(2000-02) Member, EU (Socrates) Working Group on Practice-based Doctoral Programmes (Universities of Brighton, Barcelona, Industrial Arts Helsinki, Staffordshire, West of England and the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Offenbach)

(1999-2001) Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2001 Panel Member, Unit of Assessment 60: History of Art & Design for UK Higher Education Funding Council

(1987-92) Art & Design Member, CNAA (Council for National Academic Awards) Register of Specialist Advisers

(1984-87) CNAA (Council for National Academic Awards) History of Art & Design Board Member

(1987-  ) Member, Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation

Editorial Boards

(2006- ) Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Sage

(2004- ) Journal of Design History, Oxford University Press, International Advisory Board

(2003- ) Design History (Japan)

(2001-08) Art, Design & Communication, (LTSN Research Journal), Intellect

(1994- ) Design Issues, MIT Press

(1992- ) Arcos (Rio de Janeiro)

(1988-04) Journal of Design History, Oxford University Press


Since the 1980s Professor Woodham has taken on a variety of consultancy roles in the higher education, museum and publishing sectors. Higher education consultancy has involved a number of universities in Britain and overseas including the RAE 2008 where advice has been sought on professorial and other appointments, tenure, promotion, research, quality assurance, academic review, curriculum development, validation and the role of history and theory in the context of art and design education. Consultancy for museums has included the V&A (involvement with the Medieval, British and Twentieth Century Galleries and for the Cold War Modern Design 1945-1970 (2007) and Pstmodernism (2010). Earlier consultancy of note for exhibitions included liaison with the Centre de Récherche sur la Culture Technique, Paris, in relation to the large-scale exhibition, Design: Miroir du Siècle at the Grand Palais, Paris, 1993. For twenty years Woodham has also acted as consultant to a range of national and overseas publishers including Oxford University Press (volumes in the History of Art series), V&A Publications, Cambridge University Press, Manchester University Press, Reaktion Books, Chicago University Press, and Prestel Verlag, Munich. In an archival context Woodham's roles have included membership of the ICOGRADA (International Council for Graphic Design Associations) International Design Archive and Research Group's Steering Committee (1996-2001).  He was also a member of the advisory group for the Artists Paper Register (1995-2005).

External Examinerships

For much of his professional career Professor Woodham has been involved with external examining at all llevels, from A-levels through to doctorates.

(2009) PhD examination, Curtin University, Australia

(2008- ) BA (Hons) Ceramics, BA (Hons) Furniture, BA (Hons) Silversmithing and Jewellery, and new BA (Hons) Design Ciourses, Loughborough School of Art & Design

(2008) MPhil Examination, Royal College of Art

(2007) PhD Examination, UIAH, Helsinki

(2006) PhD examination, PhD Examination, University of Ghent

(2005-08) BA (Hons) Graphic Design and BA (Hons) Interior and Furniture Design, Dublin Institute of Technology

(2002) PhD examination, Royal College of Art

(1998-2002) History & Theory of Design for BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Nottingham Trent University

(1996-2000) History & Theory of Design for BA (Hons) Design courses, Glasgow School of Art

(1995-98) History of Design for MA History of Art & Design, Falmouth School of Art

(1993-96) History of Design for BA(Hons) History of Art & Design, Cardiff Institute of Higher Education

(1992-95) History of Design for BA in Interior Design, Napier University

(1987-90) History of Art and Design for all design courses at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin

(1986-88) History and Theory of Design for all BA (Hons) design degrees at Loughborough College of Art and Design

(1983-86) Craft History for BA degree in Combined Studies (Craft) at Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education

(1980-84) History and Theory of Art & Design at Preston Polytechnic for BA (Hons) courses in Fashion, Graphic Design and Fine Art

(1979-83) History of 20th Century British Architecture and Design for BA and BA (Hons) degrees in Contemporary Studies, Hatfield Polytechnic

(1975-79) Examiner in A-Level Art History of the Associated Examining Board


(1973) Andrew Grant Bequest Travelling Scholarship to USA, Edinburgh College of Art

(1972) Glaxo Volume Painting Purchase Award Prizewinner, Edinburgh College of Art

(1969) Fine Art Class Medal, Edinburgh University

(1969) Huntley Macdonald Sinclair Travelling Scholarship, Edinburgh University

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