Design History/Design Heritage

The treatment of heritage is found in isolated papers across the design literature, rather than in focused, concerted outputs in the leading journals on design (the Journal of Design History, Design Issues, Design & Culture, The Design Journal, Interiors, Home Cultures, and the Journal of Material Culture, among others). By the same token, design is recognized but also somewhat subsumed in heritage-focussed journals such as the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Heritage and Society, and the Journal of Cultural Heritage to name a few. The Design History/Design Heritage project will provide a focus for research at the intersection of design history and heritage studies.

Three chief tensions will form the framework for the proposed research.

  1. Mapping the various concepts and terms related heritage at play in different fields and regions. How can we work to develop adequate shared conceptual models of heritage and apply them to design and its histories?

  2. Exploring the distinction between tangible and intangible heritages and what these categories mean for design history and design heritage. What are the implications of intangible heritage for design, as process and as product?

  3. Questioning ownership and belonging, and the politics of heritage. How might we disentangle design from its role as the handmaiden of commerce, and ownership, belonging and authority, to promote a truly equitable understanding of heritage that illuminates the social, cultural and economic roles of design?

Upcoming for this project is a panel at the College Art Association Annual Conference 2019 in New York City, 16-19 February 2019.

This project is conducted jointly with Professor Rebecca Houze (Northern Illinois University), who is Visiting Professor for the TVAD Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire and contributes to the DHeritage Professional Doctorate in Heritage programme as a co-supervisor.

Prof Rebecca Houze and Prof Grace Lees-Maffei on board the Spirit of New York boat, New York City, September 2018.

Prof Rebecca Houze and Prof Grace Lees-Maffei on board the Spirit of New York boat, New York City, September 2018.