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V&A/RCA History of Design (MA)

Jade Lindo

Jade Lindo is a Design Historian and a practitioner. Her research focuses on Caribbean design history, with her main aim to uncover hidden stories and untold narratives regarding the Caribbean diaspora.

Jade achieved her undergraduate degree in Fashion from University for Creative Arts, Epsom where her initial intrigue with research based on identity and heritage was realised through exploration of the body as a form of art, design and history.

During her MA History of Design studies, Jade developed her love for research by intertwining her own identity to develop her specialism in material culture anchored in Caribbean history. Her design history research focused on the relationship between race and identity amongst Black individuals in the diaspora and beyond. This was explored in her historiography essay ' Untangling Roots: A Historiography of Black Hair from 1930 – 1980'. Through extensive research, she was able to successfully garnish an understanding of the historiographical perspective of Blackness as a fundamental part of Black and later Caribbean history.

Jade went on to produce an artefact essay, titled 'Jamaican Craftsmanship: An Exploration of Tortoiseshell, Exoticism, and Colonial Influence in the 17th Century' that uncovered the history of a seventeenth-century case and comb made from tortoiseshell housed in the trade section of the V&A. The object-led research was rooted in Jamaica and investigated the social, cultural and environmental factors underpinning the production of the object, restoring to view techniques that were inherited from indigenous practices. During a research trip to Jamaica, Jade worked closely with colleagues in the National Library of Jamaica and Institute of Jamaica to uncover new primary evidence about hawksbill turtle and the design of the case and comb. Her findings resulted in updates to the V&A’s catalogue record for the object, which included the identification of the original maker of the case and comb. In recognition of her achievements, Jade was awarded the prestigious Gillian Naylor Essay Prize (given in memory of her son Tom Naylor) for her accomplished object history essay.

Most recently, Jade completed her dissertation thesis ‘Caribbean Hues: Nadinola Deluxe, Carnival Queens and the Performance of Beauty’ based on the relationship between the Caribbean diaspora of the United Kingdom in relation to skin bleaching. Her research pulls on the beauty standards laid out by pageantry in Jamaica and the migration of identity through the Windrush era of Britain. Reflecting on periodicals such as The Star newspaper and West Indian Gazette and the internal language of beauty that crossed the Atlantic. A snippet of her research was published on Design History Society's 'Provocative Objects/Spaces' blog.

Jade continues to showcase her love of Caribbean history through blog posts and articles, with the hopes to complete PhD studies in the near future.

Throughout my work my aim is always to showcase the inner working of structures within society that inherently effect and change the lives of Black individuals within the Caribbean and its diaspora. I demonstrate this with the use of material culture as critical tool to piece together stories of lived experience and narratives written from an Eurocentric perspective or often left untold. My time on the History of Design course has allowed my research to live beyond the pages and become larger than life.

About Mammy Forbes

The I-Land Song was a dedicated piece of writing about a woman called Rose Anne Forbes, also known as Mammy (or ‘Mamie’) Forbes, who lived in Jamaica in the early 1900s. For many years Rose Anne ran a ‘balm yard’ with her husband, George Forbes, at a place called Blakes Pen, Clarendon. People would travel to see Mammy Forbes to get help for various ailments and illnesses they were suffering and she became famous throughout the island as a healer. The balm yard that the Forbes ran was described in the Gleaner newspaper as a ‘Balming sanatorium’. 

Jade developed a piece as an ode to her and the methods of care that she offered to others but was not aways reserved for her.

Royal Premium Orange Juice Produced in Kingston, Jamaica.

Working with the Common Magazine

Commonly Traditional reflects on the common and some what nostalgic manner in which tradition is formed and understood across the Caribbean and in this case specifically Jamaica. Jade called upon her memories of food and drink, architecture and agriculture which were a few of the commonalities for her. This piece was developed to be published alongside several other contributors to the Common Magazine, a group dedicated to working class perspectives within society and culture.

Colonial Ties
Live Sculpture of Bark & Soursop
Cow Itch Vine
Yaws, Syphilis and Smallpox

Co-curating The Exhibiton

In May 2022. Jade co-curated ‘Black Botanicals: The Root of Caribbean Medicine’ reflection on the themes of horticultural innovation, embodiment and connection.

The exhibition drew on the impact of colonial expeditions and the natural resources attributed to indigenous knowledge. It considered the influence of illness in the production of botanical medicine, seated in the Caribbean shores from the eighteenth century to present day.

The exhibition was compiled within three sections- Dissolved Bodies, Folk Medicine: A Source of Healing, and Colonial Ties.The exhibition was well received and was requested to return in the future for further exploration.

Thinking Through Materials: Behind the Scenes

Jade was selected to be a part of a project designed to develop a cross- institutional course to provide students with a practical understanding of how materials science, history and art/design are intertwined and inform each others path and evolution. Through this module the students would develop tools for understanding historic materials, their evolution through art/design and how materials selection has guided the development of social, cultural and material life.

Throughout the development Jade was responsible for creating material specific research, and reading lists which led to her role as visiting lecturer and to continuing her research of Caribbean history as an indigenous practice and body of knowledge.

V&A History of Design Scholarship