Monday, 25 March 2013

TVAD Visiting Researcher, Dr Kjetil Fallan, Returns

TVAD Visiting Researcher 2012-13, Associate Professor of Design History in the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo, Dr Kjetil Fallan is the author of Design History: Understanding Theory and Method (Berg, 2010), editor of Scandinavian Design: Alternative Histories (Berg, 2012), co-editor (with Grace Lees-Maffei) of Made in Italy: Reassessing a Century of Italian Design (Bloomsbury, 2013), and has articles in journals including the Journal of Design History, Design and Culture, Design Issues, Enterprise and Society and History and Technology. Dr Fallan is an editor of the Journal of Design History.

Icons and Iconicity Workhop (2B05, FMM Building) - Icons concern us all, as practitioners and viewers of contemporary culture. This day invites staff & students to reflect on the ubiquity of icons & iconicity in the world and in our work.
10 am to 12.45 pm (2B05) – Grace Lees-Maffei, editor, Iconic Designs: 50 Stories about 50 Things (Bloomsbury, 2014) will introduce staff presentations on icons and iconicity and chair a closing group discussion:
  • Alison Gazzard on Facebook 
  • Kjetil Fallan on Lego and Rubik’s cube 
  • Ian Willcock on the Graphical User Interface
  • Grace Lees-Maffei on Philippe Starck’s Juicy Salif lemon squeezer
  • Kerry Purcell on Helvetica
2 pm to 4 pm (2B05/AA143) Student presentations on the appearance, and/or absence, or icons and iconicity in their practice. (Students, please refer to the presentations help sheet circulated separately.)

10 am to 12 noon - Staff Reading Group – AA143. For research staff and students to get feedback on writing in progress and new work. Please send texts to by Friday 3rd May.

12.30 to 6.30 pm - Design History Society Day Seminar ‘It’s Personal: Subjectivity in Design History’ AA191/A161 
Convened by Grace Lees-Maffei (University of Hertfordshire) and Kjetil Fallan (University of Oslo) . Attendance is free, but delegates must register in advance by emailing

We are trained to put aside subjective responses in our analytical work, and yet personal interests, values and experiences continue to inform the work of design historians, from our choice of subject matter and theoretical frameworks to our methodological approaches and conclusions. Postmodern theory might have finally killed off the utopian ideal of history as an objective science, but it has arguably left a vacuum, with no comprehensive debate on the role of subjectivity and its potential challenges and benefits. Our aim is to contribute an examination of this under-developed topic relevant to the field of design history and beyond.

12.30 pm: Lunch, Lindop foyer
1.10 pm: Introduction, GLM & KF
1.20 pm: Dr Jo Turney (Bath Spa University) ‘It’s all about me: little voices, big stories (or vice versa)’
2 pm: Kerry William Purcell (University of Hertfordshire) ‘“The knots on the underside of the carpet”: Design history, the historian, and the shadow of the object’
2.40 pm: Professor Regina L. Blaszczyk (University of Leeds) ‘Adventures of an Archives Hound: Learning How Colour Became a Tool for American Designers’
3.20 pm: Tea, Lindop foyer
3.50 pm: Paul Hazell (University of Worcester) ‘The enthusiast’s eye: the dilettante of design history?’
4.20 pm: Nicholas Oddy (Glasgow School of Art, Scotland) ‘An Uneasy Alliance: Collectors’ items and history’
5 pm: Dr Pauline Garvey (National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland) ‘Are you the person who has the lamp on in the middle of the night?!’ The sensuous quality of domestic things’
5.40 pm: Professor Jonathan Morris (University of Hertfordshire), response, followed by group discussion
6 pm: Wine, Lindop foyer
6.30 pm Close.

For more information, contact Dr Grace Lees-Maffei

Kjetil Fallan, 'Kombi-Nation: Mini Bicycles as Moving Memories' Journal of Design History 26, no. 1 (2013)