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Professor Catherine McDermott

Professor, School of Communication Design, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

Professor  Catherine  McDermott Areas of expertise

Find out more about Professor Catherine McDermott

Overview

Prof McDermott has made a major national and international contribution to the contemporary curating of design. She heads the School of Design Masters programme at Kingston University and is an advisory board member of New Design Magazine, the Design Journal and part of the Design Council's Advisory Group Biennial.

She is the author or co-author of more than 11 books on such topics as the history of design, street style British Design in the 80s, the world's leading product designers, furniture design and the work of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. She describes one of her most influential books, "Made in Britain: tradition and style in contemporary British fashion" as a natural extension of her continuing research into the modern-day British fashion scene. As part of her research Prof McDermott interviewed such fashion design icons as Alexander McQueen, Julian MacDonald and Vivienne Westwood, in an attempt to understand how these designers approach specific activities and practices such as tailoring, fabric selection and use, branding and accessories.

She is a director of the Curating Contemporary Design Research Group and is chair of the university's prestigious Stanley Picker Gallery.  Prof McDermott is also a member of the Design History Society, the Costume History Society, the National Art Collectors Fund and the Museums Association. She has worked as a consultant for, amongst others, the BBC Education Service, the Science Museum, the Design Museum, for the Victoria and Albert's Twentieth Century Gallery Project and Granada Television (This Morning programme).  She has lectured around the world in her subject and curated a number of exhibitions (ranging in content from a celebration of the life and times of Diana, Princess of Wales, through to an exhibition for the French luxury goods company Hermes and an exhibition for the Design Council) as well as regularly writing for a number of design magazines and journals.

She is currently working on a number of projects in China. She has previously won a Bristish Council competition and her project Dreamlab launched in September 2009 to over 20 Chinese universities. Finally, she was one of 400 people invited to HM Queen's reception at Buckingham Palace in 2004 to celebrate the role of design in the life of the nation.

Photograph credit: Tim Hawkins.

Qualifications

Year gained Subject
1977 MA - Decorative Art/design, Birmingham University.
1975 BA (Hons) - History of Decorative Arts, Leeds University .

Career Highlights

Year Position held
One of 400 people invited to HM Queen's reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the role of design in the life of the nation.

Research

Contemporary Design, Design Museum. Carlton Books, 2008.

The Politics of Design, History, Theory and Practice, Design History Society and the University of Ulster, 2004.

 

Made in Britain, Tradition and style in contemporary British fashion, Mitchell Beasley, 2002.

 

Has contributed chapters to a number of other books on furniture design, the history of design ideas, graphic design, fashion design and curating exhibitions.

Contact us

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Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us
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