Modern Interiors Research Centre


Recent Conferences & Symposia


Modern Interiors Research Centre, Research Symposium
Kingston University, Dorich House Museum, 18 January 2017


Pat Kirkham, Kingston University London - 22 Avenue Road, Leicester by Fello Atkinson and Brenda Walker
Tim Rohan, University of Massachusetts, USA - Manhattan 1969: Lifestyle, Media and the New Interior Architecture
Ana-Maria Fernandez, University of Oviedo, Spain - Just what is it that makes Spanish homes so different, so appealing? About Francoist Domestic Interior Design

Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Network, Netherlands - Iconic Houses Network


Book launch for the Routledge Companion to Design Studies by Penny Sparke and Fiona Fisher

MIRC Research work-in-progress PhD Students and Staff presentations
Kingston University, Dorich House Museum, Tues 17 January 2017


PhD student presentations:


Ben Angwin - Patronising the Omega Workshops: Reconsidering the Agency of Lady Ian Hamilton (1861–1941)

Catherine Sidwell - Voysey’s ‘Ideas in Things’

Vanessa Vanden Berghe - Theatricality in the work of Oliver Hill

Kerry Meakin - The Emergence of Window Display as an Art Form - the German Connection

Neville Knott - Television Interior Design and Irish Domestic Interiors 1990 to 2014


Staff presentations


Sorcha O’Brien - Electric Irish Homes: Rural Electrification, Domestic Products and Irish Women in the 1950s and 1960s

Ersi Ioannidou - The Time House

Patricia Lara-Betancourt - Foreign Influence and Identity: Latin American Domestic Interiors and the Quest for Modernity, 1870-1920

Portia Ungley - Kintsugi as Methodology

Cat Rossi - Curating clubs and exhibitions as research

Fiona Fisher - British Identity Abroad: The Post-War Pub in an International Context

Stephen Knott - The Design of Sunday Painting

Penny Sparke - Plants in the Mid Century Modern Interior



Research Symposium
Interiors: Film, Theater, Television
Parsons School of Design, New York, 18 November 2016

A jointly hosted symposium with the MA program in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies at the School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons School of Design.


Alice T. Friedman, Grace Slack McNeil Professor of American Art, Wellesley College "Park Avenue Royalty: Apartments for Queens and Princesses"


Sarah A. Lichtman, Assistant Professor, Design History, Parsons School of Design "Designing Anne Frank: Space and the Construction of a Teenage Girl"


Marilyn Cohen, Assistant Professor, Parsons School of Design "Decorating 'I Love Lucy'"


Sorcha O’Brien, Senior Lecturer, Design History and Theory, Kingston University London "Visions of Home: Nostalgia and Mobility in Serenity’s Domestic Interior"


Caitlin Dichter, Cultural Resource Specialist, North Wind Group "Opening Doors You Never Dreamed Existed: The Many Decorative Faces to 'Auntie Mame'"


Christian Larsen, Associate Curator, Modern Decorative Arts and Design, Metropolitan Museum of Art "Design, Environment, and Ecofeminist Suburban Horror in Todd Haynes' Safe"


Research Symposium

Dorich House Museum, 18 and 19 January 2016


The event was structured as a one-day staff and student research in progress study day, followed by a one-day symposium, to which invited speakers contributed papers on their recent/current research.


PhD candidate papers:


Catherine Sidwell - Following Darwin's publication On the Origin of Species, how, why and for whom did the English architect and designer C.F.A. Voysey represent nature in domestic interiors?


Benjamin Angwin - Staging the Omega Workshops: The Omega Workshops and their engagement with the stage


Vanessa Vanden Berghe - Oliver Hill’s interiors


Sarah Hayward - "The problem with Lucy": A story from the Normansfield Archives


Donna Loveday - Research and Practice in Contemporary Design Curating - The Exhibition as Experience


Staff research in progress papers:


Ersi Ioannidou - Metabolism: The last modernist utopia


Penny Sparke - Winter Gardens in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-century London: the Royal Aquarium and Summer and Winter Gardens, Westminster, 1876, and the People’s Palace, Mile End Road, 1886


Fiona Fisher – Railway Termini in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century London


Patricia Lara-Betancourt - A Middle-class Utopia: The Department Store in London’s West End, 1890-1914


Catherine Rossi - Imagining Island Making


Sorcha O’Brien - The Domestic Spaceship: Visions of Future Home-Making in the Production Design of Serenity’s Communal Living Spaces


Portia Ungley - Potemkin Villages and Science Fiction


Invited research papers:


Alice T. Friedman, Wellesley College, Poker Faces: Seeing Behind the Mask of Convention


Catherine Ince, The Barbican Art Gallery, Something about The World of Charles and Ray Eames


Fredie Floré, KU Leuven, The Politics of Furniture. Identity, Diplomacy and Persuasion in Post-war Interiors


Penny Sparke, Kingston University, Nature, Culture and the Design of the Feminine Sphere in the Nineteenth Century


Charles Rice, University of Technology, Sydney, The Atrium Effect



Patricia Lara-Betancourt

Symposium 'Open Doors: Domestic Interiors and Material Culture in Latin America', 55th International Congress of Americanists (ICA), San Salvador (El Salvador), 12–17 July 2015


Symposium co-convened with Gladys Arana, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Merida (Mexico)

The body of literature on the history of domestic architecture and interiors in Latin America is scant, fragmentary and not yet disseminated. The home has been little researched from a historical perspective and its interiors and domestic material culture are therefore largely unknown.

As a privileged space for the forging, affirming but also contesting identities (class, gender, local, national), the domestic interior is a key site of social and cultural generation and transformation. The process of home making is fundamental to social life, with its hybrid melding of tradition and modernity, gradually producing a personal, familial and collective palimpsest.

The symposium invited and selected papers about domestic interiors in Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the aim of illustrating and charting the changes that have permeated them within a framework of identity building, and particularly with reference to issues of class, gender and nation.



Research Symposium

Dorich House Museum, 21 November 2014


A one-day symposium, to which invited speakers contributed papers on their recent/current research.



Professor Pat Kirkham, Re-assessing Charles and Ray Eames
Ben Highmore, University of Sussex, Habitat and the Making of Taste
Paula Lupkin, University of North Texas, For Men, By Men: Building and Furnishing the YMCA
Barbara Penner, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Researching Life: Herman Miller’s Metaform Project
Alice T. Friedman, Wellesley College, The Cultured Corporation: New Light on the Art of Post-war Lobby Design



Domestic Advice Literature and Histories of Home



Space & Places: British Design 1948 - 2012

Flow 2 - a conference in two parts



Flow 1 - a conference in two parts

Dorich House

Dorich House Museum


Dorish House - studio

Modelling studio