Modern Interiors Research Centre
The Modern Interiors Research Centre at Kingston University (MIRC) is the world’s foremost research centre dedicated to the study of interiors and their contents from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Its researchers are members of staff in the University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Formed in 2005, the Centre has played a leading global role in developing this new field of interdisciplinary enquiry. Working closely with its visiting professors, associate members and postgraduate students, it has hosted international conferences; worked on numerous publications; curated exhibitions; and welcomed international academics and students to work alongside its members in London. MIRC combines an historical approach with an active engagement with contemporary design education and practice.
MIRC’s researchers share an understanding of the interior and its contents as a key site of modern experience and identity formation. They work across design history, architectural history and visual, material and spatial culture and collaborate with scholars in the fields of cultural studies, history, literary studies, architecture, landscape architecture and cultural geography, among others. Research focuses on the designed interior; the production, consumption and mediation of interior artefacts; domesticity in private and public inside spaces; and the well-being of their inhabitants.
Conferences and Symposia
MIRC evolved out of a series of conferences held between 1999 and 2004 at Kingston University’s Dorich House Museum. Its intellectual focus remains linked to research undertaken in relation to the house and its interior spaces. MIRC conferences and symposia have continued to bring together international researchers from a range of disciplines, and resulted in a series of influential publications. The most recent, British Design: Tradition and Modernity After 1948 (2016) emerged from a conference organised with the Victoria & Albert Museum.
MIRC members foster and maintain international links with interior design historians, educators and practitioners, including the American Interior Design Educators Council, the Australian Interior Design/Interior Architecture Educators Association, the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oviedo in Spain. The Centre has also worked with a variety of national industry, cultural sector and institutional partners on knowledge transfer, education and consultancy projects including, among others, the V&A, the Geffrye Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, the National Maritime Museum, the Design Museum, and the Royal College of Art.
In 2010, MIRC launched an academic journal, Interiors: Design Architecture Culture, which was awarded the title of ‘Best New Journal’ by the American Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) in 2011. Interiors continues under the editorship of Lois Weinthal (Ryerson University, Canada).