Speaker biographies

Neil Brownsword

Neil Brownsword is an artist, researcher and educator who is Professor of Ceramics at Staffordshire University. His reactivation of associated post-industrial spaces and endangered industrial crafts has achieved impact internationally via cross-cultural exchange, and curated trans-disciplinary collaborative projects. From 2012 – 2020 he initiated and co-led Topographies of the Obsolete with University of Bergen, which has engaged 97 participants from 13 countries with the former Spode factory and Stoke-on-Trent’s broader post-industrial landscape. His work is represented in public/private collections internationally, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Korea Ceramic Foundation, Yingee Ceramic Museum Taiwan, and Fu Le International Ceramic Art Museum China. In 2009 he was awarded the ‘One Off Award’ at the inaugural British Ceramic Biennial, and the Grand Prize at the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, South Korea in 2015. He was awarded the Whitegold International Ceramic Prize in 2019.

Peter Domankiewicz

Peter Domankiewicz is a film director, screenwriter and journalist who has gradually morphed into an early film historian, and is now undertaking a fully funded PhD at De Montfort University into the work and inventions of moving picture pioneer William Friese-Greene. He has written about the beginnings of cinema for Sight & Sound and The Guardian, contributed to reference works and journals, and is currently editing a book about Birt Acres, the early British filmmaker. He has given talks at conferences, symposia, film festivals and BFI Southbank. His blog William Friese-Greene & Me, presents original research on early film history for a broad readership.

Sara Dominici

Sara Dominici is a historian of photography and visual culture with expertise in amateur photographic practices from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. She have taught at the University of Westminster since 2010, where she is currently a Senior Lecturer and MA Course Leader. She previously studied at La Sapienza University, Rome (Laurea quinquennale in Scienze della Comunicazione, 2004) and at the London College of Communication (FdA in Photojournalism, 2006), and hold an MA in Visual Culture (2010) and a PhD (2014) from the University of Westminster. She has previously worked as a photographer and photo editor in both commercial and non-profit organisations. For 2021-2023 she is Visiting Scholar at the Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University.

Jennifer Dranttel

I am a textile designer and PhD candidate at DMU. I am interested in Material innovation, Biotechnology, Folk Religion & Shamanism, Cultural Anthropology, Biomimicry, Sustainability, Systems Thinking. I received my undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado in 2002, then spent over a decade as a professionally-exhibiting fine artist and curator, with notable inclusion at the US National Printmaking Exhibition in 2015 as well as participation in several international artist residencies. I returned to school to pursue my MFA in Textiles in 2015 at Savannah College of Art and Design. During my MFA course I was awarded the University’s highest bursary through the SCAD Academic honours scholarship as well as the Student Incentive Scholarship, which recognized outstanding academic achievement and artistic promise through quarterly portfolio review. In 2016 I collaborated with fashion designer Jeffrey Taylor for participation in the Supima Design Competition, and our 5-look eveningwear collection was shown at New York and Paris Fashion Weeks and awarded the $10,000 grand prize, as well as the 2016 International Design Awards Association Gold Haute Couture award. It was also displayed as part of the Diplomacy By Design showcase at the US White House. The experimental fashion collection I created for my MFA Thesis landed me a position as one of 60 finalists for the 2017 CFDA+ Design Graduates Award out of thousands of international applicants. After graduation I transitioned into teaching, spending a year in the Fine Art, Textiles, and DT department at Uppingham School in the UK before moving to Mongolia in 2018 to take a role as the Head of Performing Arts Faculty at the British School of Ulaanbaatar.

Serena Dyer

Serena Dyer is Lecturer in History of Design and Material Culture at De Montfort University and a historian of women, fashion, consumption, and material culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She was previously Lecturer in History at the University of Hertfordshire, and has also taught at the University of Warwick, Middlesex University, and University of York. Serena also has a background in museums, and was Curator of the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture and Assistant Curator at the National Portrait Gallery.

Serena’s research focuses on histories of making, material literacy, and consumer knowledge in the eighteenth century. She was awarded her ESRC funded PhD at the University of Warwick in 2016. Her first book, Material Lives: Women Makers and Consumer Culture in the Eighteenth Century, for which she has received support from the Paul Mellon Centre and the Pasold Research Fund, was published by Bloomsbury in 2021. 

Is currently a PhD Student at the National University of Ireland (co-supervised by UCD and NCAD) researching artistic and creative aspects of museum object conservation practice. Her background is in Conservation and she holds a M.A. – Object Conservation – Middlesex University, UK 2010. Between 2008 – 2013 she was Conservator – Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, Dublin, later holding posts as Objects Conservator/ Collection Manager – Rothe House Museum, Kilkenny (2013-15 and as Consultant, Collection Care and Conservation – National Museum of Qatar, Doha (2015-20).

Jo Gane

Jo Gane is a an experienced artist and educator, working within both the museum and gallery sector and in education. She produces photographic based artwork for exhibition inspired by the rich history of photography. She also works with major exhibitions to develop and deliver innovative photography related education programmes. Her specialist area of knowledge is the practice of early photographic processes and translating these difficult techniques into engaging hands-on workshop activities. Jo’s practice is based around photographic archives and history. Central to this is the idea of the photograph as a two dimensional slice of history and its function in relation to the progression of time. She uses historic photographic techniques from the dawn of photography such as the wet plate collodion process, daguerreotypes, calotypes and photogravure to make contemporary images that disrupt the linear representation of time. Jo is currently pursuing a PhD at Birmingham School of Art (BCU) and De Montfort University supported by Midlands 4 Cities AHRC funding. 

Nuria Garcia Masip

Nuria Garcia Masip is a professional calligrapher and doctoral candidate in Art History at Sorbonne University. She pursued her calligraphic studies under master calligraphers Mohamed Zakariya (Washington D.C.), Hasan Celebi and Davut Bektas (Istanbul). After seven years of training, she received her diploma (ijazah) in the thuluth and naskh scripts signed by her three teachers in 2007. Since then, she has won prestigious prizes in international calligraphy competitions, organized numerous workshops and conferences to promote this art, and her work forms part of various private and museum collections.  Her work is firmly rooted in the classical school of calligraphy and she enjoys preserving the techniques and materials of the tradition. This complements her ongoing work for the CallFront research project at Sorbonne University, focusing on recreative practices for Arabic script calligraphies, as well as her doctoral research on Ottoman calligraphic panels in Sufi lodges between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

Lin Gardner

Lin is a specialist in textile design and dress history. Her PhD “Mechanising the Needle: the development of the sewing machine as a manufacturing tool, 1851-1980” (University of Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire Council Museum and Libraries) mined the unique holdings of West Dunbartonshire Council Museum and Libraries’ Sewing Machine Collection and Singer Archive to write new business and textile histories. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher on the AHRC funded project From Fleece to Fashion: Cultures and Economies of Knitting in Modern Scotland (University of Glasgow).

Richard Hudson-Miles

Richard is Lecturer in Design Cultures at DMU. he is an interdisciplinary researcher and educator, with over 15 years experience teaching the history and theory of design.

Ruth Jindal

Ruth Jindal is Senior Lecturer in Critical & Contextual Studies at De Montfort University. Ruth a Design historian with executive experience in arts, heritage and cultural instutions. She currently teaches historical and critical studies on art and design programmes with a focus on fashion and product design. 

Elizabeth Lambourn

Elizabeth Lambourn, Professor of Material Histories at DMU. Elizabeth is a historian of the Indian Ocean world, committed to the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of medieval history. She is currently ProfessAfter a PhD in Islamic Art and Architecture from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) she has travelled far from her foundations in art history. Her work engages equally with texts and ‘things,’ and with texts as material ‘things.’ Elizabeth has held fellowships at Harvard and Stanford, and a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2011-13). She is the author of the research monograph Abraham’s Luggage. A Social Life of Things in the Medieval Indian Ocean World (2018) and editor of the volumes Legal Encounters on the Medieval Globe (2017) and A Cultural History of the Sea in the Medieval Age (2021). She is a founding board member of the journal The Medieval Globe and also sits on the board of the journal Medieval Worlds. She currently advises for the series Approaching Medieval Sources (Routledge) and Medieval Worlds (Bloomsbury).

Jane Malcolm-Davies

Jane Malcolm-Davies is Associate Professor at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, where she is a collaborator in Beasts2Craft, a project investigating parchment as evidence for historical sheep husbandry. She leads Knitting in Early Modern Europe, her Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship initiative at the Centre for Textile Research, Copenhagen, between 2015 and 2017. She then developed THREAD, a refugee integration initiative funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark. Jane is co-director of The Tudor Tailor, a which provides resources to support the accurate reconstruction of historic dress. She was senior post-doctoral research fellow at Aalto University, Helsinki, the Centre for Interpretation Studies, University of the Highlands & Islands, and the Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton, where she developed an online database of Tudor effigies. Jane lectured in entrepreneurship and heritage management at the University of Surrey, introduced costumed interpreters at Hampton Court Palace (1992 to 2004) and coordinated training for the front-of-house team at Buckingham Palace each summer (2000 to 2010. Her first degree was in journalism, and she holds postgraduate diplomas in heritage interpretation and law. Jane studied the CIETA textile analysis course at the Musée des Tissus in Lyon, France. Jane sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Dress History and the Archaeological Textiles Review. A list of Jane’s most recent publications is available here

Deborah McGuire

Deborah McGuire: PhD historian @oxfordbrookes. Quilter. Columnist. I make quilts and write about their emotional history. Less an interest, more a compulsion. I am currently a PhD candidate at Oxford Brookes University in the School of History, Philosophy and Culture working on the topic “Emotional Journeys: The British Quilt in Space and Time 1750-1900” supervised by Prof. Joanne Begiato and Dr Sally Holloway. 

Jordan Mitchell-King

I am a cultural historian of dress and textiles, with a particular emphasis on embodied experiences of dress, currently in the first year of my M4C/AHRC funded PhD at De Montfort University, supervised by Serena Dyer and Kate Smith (University of Birmingham). My project examines the meaning and uses of undress clothing in eighteenth-century Britain, considering the cultural construction of the idea of undress and how that aligned with the materiality of eighteenth-century garments. I completed my History of Design MA at the Royal College of Art where my dissertation examined eighteenth-century jumps and quilted waistcoats, which included reconstructive approaches that I am carrying through into my PhD work. My interests lie in both the material experience of dress and the cultural meanings it held, in particular in relation to gender, privacy and morality.

Rachel Neal

Rachel Neal holds a PhD in men’s dress history of the early twentieth century from De Montfort University. Following a ten-year career as a menswear designer she completed an MA in Fashion History, also at De Montfort University, before progressing on to her PhD. Her research explores men’s dress during the First World War and early interwar period, focusing in particular on the transition from war to peace and the soldier’s shift from uniform to civilian clothing after the Armistice in 1918. Her approach to research is influenced by her experience as a designer and focuses on materiality. Engaging in object-based research along with archival material her approach explores the narratives of historical dress in social and cultural context and the role of clothing in shaping lived experience.

Emily Pott

Emily Pott is the Director of Research Programmes at the Prince’s Foundation, School of Traditional Arts in London, a postgraduate arts college which provides the opportunity for contemporary artists to research, learn and teach the arts of the past ensuring that traditional arts and skills continue to enrich a changing world. She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD from The University of Wales, The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. Her doctoral research focused on one of the most important early Islamic monuments and sacred sites, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (691 CE), considering the original form and ornamentation of the building in relation to nascent Islamic art. At the School she supervises artist-researchers (PhD and MPhil) using their creative practice to research many forms of traditional arts, from Nepalese paubha painting to High Qing ceramics to Safavid architecture to Orthodox iconography, and works with them to develop artistic research methodologies for the traditional arts. She is particularly interested in adapting conventional research to take into account the knowledge used in and generated through arts practice (see Pott, E., ‘The literature/practice review: use of creative practice during the review period and its potential to reshape research projects’, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/13596748.2021.1920264) and the relationship of art making with devotional practice.

Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson is a modern master of the first photographic art.  A daguerreotype is a unique photographic object, essentially an edition of one. Mike’s fine art work in the daguerreotype combines a classical sense of beauty with the high level of technical skill required for success in this medium which remains unsurpassed for its image quality and permanence. Mike Robinson’s PhD dissertation, The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype explains why daguerreotypes look the way they do. It does this by retracing the pathway of discovery and innovation described in historical accounts, and combining this historical research with artisanal, tacit, and causal knowledge gained from synthesizing new daguerreotypes in the laboratory. Admired for its astonishing clarity and holographic tones, each daguerreotype contains a unique material story about the process of its creation. Clues from the historical record that report improvements in the art have been tested in practice to explicitly understand the cause for effects described in texts and observed in historic images. This research raises awareness of the materiality of the daguerreotype as an image, and the materiality of the daguerreotype as a process.

Julian Stallabrass

Julian Stallabrass is a writer, photographer and curator. He is Professor in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and is the author of Killing for Show: Photography, War and the Media in Vietnam and Iraq, Rowman and Littlefield, 2020; A Very Short Introduction to Contemporary Art, updated edition, Oxford University Press 2020; Internet Art: The Online Clash Between Culture and Commerce, Tate Publishing, London 2003; Paris Pictured, Royal Academy of Arts, London 2002; and High Art Lite: British Art in the 1990s, Verso, London 1999. He is also the editor of Documentary, in the MIT/ Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art series; and Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images, Photoworks, Brighton 2013. He has made online TV programmes about aspects of modern and contemporary art for Tariq Ali TV in the series ‘Rear Window’. He is currently working on a book about cultural and political populism. 

Selene States

Selene States is a British-American artist, design scholar, and translator based in the UK and Germany. She studied fine art and art history at UC Berkeley, Heidelberg University, the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, UCLA and the State Academy of Fine Art Karlsruhe, where she completed her diploma as valedictorian in 2010. Her academic texts and art practice deal with the performative embodiment and aesthetic dimensions of feminist discourses. The following institutions have hosted her work: Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (D), Milton Keynes Gallery (UK), Djerassi Institute California (USA), l’Aubette Strasburg (FR); she has held recent talks at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design in New York. Entitled The Political Timeline of the Pantsuit, States’ Ph.D. at the Bauhaus University, Weimar, deals with fabricating the pattern archive as a fashion collection for the contemporary art museum and involves designing a collection of pantsuits based on paper patterns from the interwar period.

Jenny Tiramani

Jenny Tiramani is Principal of The School of Historical Dress and has worked as a Costume and Stage Designer since 1977. She was Associate Designer at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East 1979-1997 and Director of Theatre Design at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London 1997-2005, receiving the Laurence Oliver Award for Best Costume Design 2003 for the Globe production of Twelfth Night. Jenny returned to the Globe in 2012 to design new productions of Twelfth Night. Jenny has taught on many UK and USA costume courses as a visiting tutor and professor and has been the Director of the Rutgers University/Shakespeare’s Globe Study Abroad Design Course in London since 2001.

In 2008 she completed Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, headwear, neckwear and accessories for men & women c1540-1660 with Santina M. Levey (pub. MacMillan). She has since co-written Seventeenth Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Book One (pub. April 2011) and Seventeenth Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Book Two (pub. July 2012) published by the V&A with Melanie Braun, Luca Costigliolo, Armelle Lucas, Susan North and Claire Thornton.

Paul Wheeler

Paul Wheeler teaches ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts and at 318 Pottery in Farnham. He also makes is own functional range of gas fired ceramics from his studio at home. Paul studied pottery at Middleport Pottery which, as well as providing a strong grounding in production pottery techniques, allowed him to pursue his own interests in pottery and learn about the business side of running a successful studio pottery. Paul also works for the TV and Film industry, either as a pottery consultant or making ceramic props for use onscreen. 

Kelley Wilder

Kelley Wilder is a photographic historian, with interests in the cultures of science and knowledge generated by photography and photographic practice. Kelley is Professor of Photographic History and Director of DMU’s Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC). In her work Kelley  considers the photographic practices of Nineteenth century scientists and artists like William Henry Fox Talbot, Sir John Herschel, Henri Becquerel and others. New projects include work on Photographic catalogues and archives, and Nineteenth and Twentieth century material cultures of photographic industry and image making.