DHS Virtual
Student Forum

a series of student-led events


This programme is now over.
Please join the DHS Student Forum in a new series of events: dhs.studentforum.online ↗

When the DHS 2020 Annual Conference Memory Full? was postponed to September 2021 due to the pandemic, the DHS Student Forum created a programme of events for students interested in design history to stay in touch virtually, to support each other throughout the year, and to offer the wider community of design historians a virtual "place to go" in the DHS. This space became the DHS Virtual Student Forum. The programme is now over, but check below what we were up to (some of the sessions were recorded).

Design in Quarantine was founded in April of 2020 in order to document and preserve in real time design responses to the Coronavirus pandemic. Inspired by the technique of rapid-response curation in museums, the digital collection of this archive is a real-time example of changing research methods in light of recent events.

In this session, Fleur and Anna will talk about how Design in Quarantine has developed since April, its operation as a digital archive, and how to contribute. Their presentation will be followed by a Q&A.

Design in Quarantine has recently been awarded the DHS Virtual Design History Student Award. Visit the project's website at designinquarantine.com

Anna Talley is a student at the V&A/RCA focusing on modern and contemporary communication design.

Fleur Elkerton is also a student at the V&A/RCA, focusing on medieval design, automata and spaces.

Andrea Foffa and Alex Todd are two of the DHS Ambassadors. In this session, they will be guiding a conversation about what it means to be a design historian. Expect personal views on the methodological detours, anxieties, and joys of learning and practicing design history.

Denise Lai will join the conversation. Denise’s project Wawasan 2020 archive, conducted in collaboration with the Malaysia Design Archive, has recently been awarded the DHS Virtual Design History Student Award.

Andrea Foffa is currently a design history PhD candidate at Kingston University. Andrea has a wide range of research interests, mainly around the ways in which material culture is mediated and how designers engage with mediation in their professional practice past and present.

Denise Lai is a student at the V&A/RCA focusing on the material culture and spectacle of national development blueprints in her home country, Malaysia.

Alex J. Todd is a design historian and educator. Alex lectures in Contextual Studies at the University for the Creative Arts and is currently undertaking PhD research into the political posters of Dutch graphic design collective Wild Plakken, funded by Techne at the University of Brighton.

Gael Welstead (DHS Ambassador) will be joined by Dr Artun Özgüner and Jenna Allsopp in a conversation about the Design History Society’s social media activities and online presence.

This session will be a great opportunity for students interested in design history to learn more about the society and how to be involved in future activities. Expect a relaxed conversation.

Dr Artun Özgüner has recently been awarded a PhD from the V&A / RCA History of Design programme. His research explores the official culture of commemorating and representing nation states as opposed to more individual practices of reminiscence through design materialities. Currently, he works as a lecturer in Contextual and Theoretical Studies at the University for the Creative Arts.

Jenna Allsopp is an AHRC Design Star-funded PhD candidate at the University of Brighton, where she also completed her BA and MA in the field of Design History, with her BA dissertation being awarded the DHS undergraduate essay prize in 2014. Her doctoral research maps new histories of amateur film, exploring how neurodiverse filmmakers use the medium as a form of visual activism, or 'craftivism,' to construct alternative disability narratives.

Gael Welstead works in human centred design. She is fuelled by the relationship between people and design, and the interconnectivity of the systems that make the world go round. In her design historical work she likes to focus on what we can learn from the past in order to better design for the future. Whilst completing her MA in design history ('18) her thesis looked at the design of 21st century city maps and how visual trends were changing the experience of urban space.

Was there a particular moment that drove you to embark upon studies in design history? Perhaps it was an object, a reading or experience that sparked this journey or one which keeps you going. For this session, Lightning Talks, we invite students and learners of any kind to present an element of their research in design history. This may be a particular image or question you’re working on within the research. It may be an object you may wish to hold up on screen and discuss. Or it might be a part of your process and methodology (something all of us will appreciate has possibly necessarily changed during the past year) or a distinct topic in design history you’re developing for projects outside your studies.

We will hear four Lightning Talks in response to these questions:

Jenna Allsopp, Conceptualising Amateur Film as Digital Craft/ivism
Jenna is a final year PhD student at the University of Brighton, UK, where she also completed her BA and MA in the field of design history, and she works part time as the administrator of the DHS.

Rafael Amato, Design Encounters: Learning from the Difference
Rafael Amato is a graphic designer currently doing his master's degree in Theory and History of Design at University of São Paulo (FAU–USP, Brazil).

Felicity Hall, Flowers, Family, and a Wedding Photo
Following a career in arts management working with artists, circus companies, live art practitioners, touring theatre companies, local authorities and funders, Felicity graduated from the History of Design MA at the V&A and RCA in 2016 with a dissertation on the material culture and embodied skill of the contemporary florist. Felicity is a PhD candidate at Kingston University researching the professionalisation of floristry in the mid 20th century.

Toni Rutherford, Curiosity of a Maker
Toni Rutherford is a maker just finishing her MA in History of Design run jointly by the V&A/RCA. Her work engages with making practices and knowledge exchange from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

This session is convened by Jennifer McHugh.

Jennifer McHugh is a PhD candidate at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, conducting research in graphic design production in postwar East Central Europe and contemporary archive practice.

Jennifer’s Lightning talks was awarded the DHS Virtual Design History Student Award.

The DHS Student Forum will host three events led by students and early career researchers in response to the theme of the DHS 2021 Annual Conference, Memory Full? Reimagining the relations between design and history. A combination of community building and hands-on workshops will explore the playful, yet critical, motto forget-full? An invitation to reflect on practices that produce erasure, ostracism, forgetfulness.

Check the complete programme: dhs.studentforum.online ↗

Convener team
Tai Cossich
Jenna Allsopp
Jennifer McHugh
Artun Ozguner

Please direct any further queries to designhistorysociety@gmail.com with the subject line “Virtual Student Forum”.


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