The summer of 2015 saw the United States and Europe preoccupied, yet again, with global migration, as American presidential candidates sought strong positions in party leadership campaigns and refugees fleeing war, poverty and oppressive regimes arrived on European shores. At the same time, Chinese stock market and currency fluctuations have sent analysts into overdrive, seeking to forecast the effects on global and national economies alike.
What does this have to do with design? Everything, global design historians would argue. In this talk, Sarah Teasley, Head of Programme for History of Design at the Royal College of Art in the UK, outlines the questions, methods and perspectives that she and colleagues bring to understanding global historical conditions and shifts through design and material culture, and argues for design history practice that engages directly and overtly with contemporary issues and practice today.
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Dr. Sarah Teasley is joint head of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA/PhD at the Royal College of Art in London.
Her research uses case studies in the history design and manufacturing to offer perspectives on issues in design, society and technology today. She is particularly concerned with policy implementation and its impact on everyday experience, and in how design mediates, shapes and reflects our relationships with technology. Her current research explores relationships between state organisations, furniture manufacturing communities and designers who mediated between them in twentieth century Japan.
Teasley is an active advocate for history’s contributions to design practice and policy-making. She consults for public and private organisations and runs workshops on public-facing, practice-based history through design and material culture. Her publications include the books Global Design History (Routledge, 2011) as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is Associate Editor of the journalDesign and Culture.
Teasley holds degrees from Princeton University, Musashino Art University and the University of Tokyo, and taught previously at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Northwestern University. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from organisations including the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Association of Asian Studies and the Design History Society.