Interdisciplinarity has always played a large role in my academic career, and this is very much reflected in my work as a design historian. My undergraduate degree was in Liberal Arts (English), which allowed me to explore a wide range of disciplines, including history, cultural studies, and philosophy, as well as topics beyond the humanities, such as psychology and criminology. Being given the freedom to explore such a broad range of subjects has given me the flexibility and confidence to engage with diverse academic approaches and types of evidence, which has greatly informed my work on this course and my subsequent identity as a budding design historian. My undergraduate degree also provided my first introduction to design history, as I was able to take a module exploring postwar Italian art and design, which ultimately inspired me to pursue design history at a postgraduate level.
My interest in design history largely focuses on fashion and textile history, initially emerging from a personal interest in using historical knitting and sewing patterns in my practical work. It will not come as a surprise, therefore, that the process of making has also translated into my academic study, with my object essay focusing on domestic embroidery in the sixteenth century and my history as public practice work involving making items from Victorian knitting patterns as a gateway to exploring women’s history. More widely I have engaged with themes of identity, political and social status, and symbolism in clothing, with my dissertation specifically exploring how the meanings that we place onto specific types of clothing can be used to control and ostracize certain groups of people.
As part of my history as public practice work on the course, I acted as a Collections Care and Conservation volunteer with the National Trust, and it is these practical skills of collection care that I hope to continue developing following the course. In line with this, as of June 2023 I will be working as a Collections Project Assistant at the House of Lords Library.