MemberBess Williamson

Bess Williamson is a historian of design and material culture, focusing primarily on works and influences of the last half-century. She received her PhD in American History from the University of Delaware, and holds a Masters in the History of Design and Decorative Arts from Parsons The New School for Design/Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. She is particularly interested in social and political concerns in design, including environmental, labor, justice, and rights issues as they shape and are shaped by spaces and things. Her current book project, Designing an Accessible America, traces the history of design responses to disability rights from 1945 to recent times. Her writing has appeared in Winterthur Portfolio and American Studies, with reviews in Design and Culture and Design Issues. At SAIC, Williamson teaches a range of design history courses, from introductory surveys of modern design history to graduate seminars on issues in design, politics, and technology. She is the coordinator of design history offerings in SAIC’s Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism.

MemberDeborah Sugg Ryan

…Fellow, Royal Historical Society

Member, Design History Society…
…Professor of Design History & Theory…

I have been Professor of Design History and Theory and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at University of Portsmouth since 2016. I was previously Associate Professor of History and Theory of Design and Head of Histories and Theories in the Fashion and Textiles Institute at Falmouth University. I started my career as a curator at the V&A Museum in 1987 and curated ‘Ideal Homes’ for the Design Museum in 1993. I went on to lecture at University of Wolverhampton, University of East London, University of Ulster and Loughborough University, joining Falmouth University in 2007. I have also held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in Cultural and Historical Geography at Royal Holloway. I was academic convener of ‘The Politics of Design’, the Design History Society annual conference, University of Ulster, 2004. I was a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Design History from 2004-2010. I am a member of the AHRC’s Peer Review College. My research is on the experience of modernity in the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on design and visual culture, spectacle, space, performance and communities. I am currently working on Kitchen for Reaktion’s Objekt series. My monograph Ideal Homes, 1918-39: Domestic Design and Suburban Modernism was published by Manchester University Press in 2018. I was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship to support this research in 2012-13, for which I also undertook a programme of knowledge exchange activities with Media 10 Limited, owners of the Ideal Home Show. I have published several articles on the revival of historical pageants and spectacle in Britain, the US and the British Empire in the twentieth century, mainly focusing on the work of pageant master Frank Lascelles. My most recent paper on this subject ‘Spectacle, the Public and the Crowd: Pageants and Exhibitions in 1908’ is in The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design and Spectacle in Britain, 1901-1910, eds. M. Hatt & M. O’Neill, Yale University Press, 2010. I am currently developing a research project on vintage brands, events and subcultures.

MemberKaryn Hinkle

Karyn Hinkle is the visual and performing arts librarian at the University of Kentucky Libraries. She has worked in art libraries for over 15 years, including stints at the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives and the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, and Northwestern University. She holds a master’s degree in library science from the Pratt Institute, and a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Kentucky.

MemberAnca I. Lasc

…Ph.D. Art History Department, University of Southern California

Fields: Nineteenth-Century European Art and Design History; The History of Collecting, Display, and Institutions of Art; European History, 1789-1914

B.A. Jacobs University Bremen, Germany


Interior Decorating in Nineteenth-Century France: The Visual Culture of a New Profession (Manchester: Manchester University Press, Studies in Design and Material Culture Series, 2018).

– Reviewed in: Journal of Design History (Catherine Girard, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA, USA), H-France (Emily Davis Winthrop, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Heidi Brevik-Zender, University of California Riverside), Nineteenth-Century French Studies (Stefan Muthesius, The Universi…