University of Oxford, DPhil History, 2019
Kingston University & Design Museum, MA Curating Contemporary Design, 2010
University of Łódź, Poland, MA History of Art, 2008
Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (UK), 2017
I am a cultural historian of Eastern Europe during the Cold War.
I joined UNSW in 2019 to develop a comprehensive programme in design history and theory. Since then, I have been lecturing and convening a range of courses in history and theory for BA and MA students. I am a co-convenor of the Design and Humanities Work in Progress Seminar (with Livia Lazzaro-Rezende) and an international Design History Writing Group (with Leah Armstrong, University of Applied Arts Vienna).
I am currently completing the manuscript of my first book 'Socialist by design. The state, industry, and modernity in Cold War Poland' based on my doctoral thesis (History, Oxford, 2019). The central task of this book is to uncover how modern Poland was conceptualised and visualised in the three decades between the 1940s and 1970s. It shows that more than merely developing a new iconography, the state turned to the products of industry, which allowed it to connect the search for Polishness with the national economic and social objectives. At stake was a political project, which from the start was imbued with a paradox: how to demonstrate the socialist commitment of post-war Poland while providing it with a clear distinctiveness vis-à-vis other countries, including, most importantly, the USSR.
My second project 'Coal Nations and Carbon Cultures' continues an investigation into the political potential of material cultures, placing coal at the forefront of this enquiry. It unearths the complex relationship between natural resources, industrial products, and national identity.
UNSW The Associate Dean of Research Philanthropic grant, 2021 UNSW Faculty Research Grant, 2019 Design History Society research and conference grants, 2018, 2016, 2015 and 2012 Arts and Humanities Research Council grant for the doctoral research, 2015–17 Student Travel and Research (STAR) Grants, St Antony’s College, 2018 and 2016 The Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies Internship grant, the National Museum, Warsaw, 2015 Oxford Noble Foundation scholarship, 2014 Polish Culture around the World grant, The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, 2014 and 2012 Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Scholarship, 2012
My scholarly interest in design diplomacy has developed in parallel to my curatorial practice. Over the last fifteen years, I collaborated on exhibition projects and public programming with design industry partners, governmental bodies and cultural institutions. I developed thematic exhibitions and temporary displays for the London Design Festival, Milan Design Week, Istanbul Design Week and Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In 2018 I curated Back to Front: Polish Exhibitions on Show, an exhibition for the Triennale Design Museum in Milan that recontextualised historical material to make it relevant for contemporary audiences. You can read more about my curatorial outputs in the Publication section on the right.
My Research Supervision
Julie Gai Oliver, ‘Colonial jewellery displayed in museums and galleries in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania: the nature of the jewellery and the methods of display. The correlation between museum collections and colonial jewellery narratives.’ PhD Art, Design and Media, Part-Time, since February 2022. Joint supervision with Dr Zoë Veness.
National Design Histories, BA DDES1200
Global Design Discourses, BA DDES1201
Positions in Design, BA DDES2200
Making of Design Culture, BA DDES3200
Design History and theory, MA SAHT9143