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Exhibitions, conferences and events


The Modern Interiors Research Centre organises an annual symposium. Details of the 2018 symposium, which will be held at Dorich House Museum, will be posted later in 2017.


Examples of past Modern Interiors Research Centre conferences and events include:

Modern Interiors Research Centre, Research Symposium

Kingston University, Dorich House Museum, 18 January 2017

This influential event focused on three contrasting studies looking at an innovative mid-20th century architect-designed home in Leicester; Manhattan interiors of the late 1960s; and Franco-era domestic interiors in Spain; and an introduction to the Iconic Houses Network from its founder Natascha Drabbe.


  • 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.

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, January 2016

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

  • 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"

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 by Patricia Lara-Betancourt (MIRC, Kingston University London) 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 and contesting of 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 19th and 20th 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 on interiors.


  • Professor Pat Kirkham, Bard Graduate Center, New York, "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, USA, "The Cultured Corporation: New Light on the Art of Post-war Lobby Design"

Domestic Advice Literature and Histories of Home

Geffrye Museum, London, 31 January 2013,

In collaboration with the Histories of Home Specialist Subject Network.

The event brought together scholars from different disciplines to consider the role of advice literature in the study of the home, its design and interiors, recognising the significance of the source in shaping perceptions and representations of the domestic sphere. Examples of home decoration and household management advice published from the second of half of the 19th century onwards were discussed. Themes included the problematic nature of the relationship between ‘ideal' and ‘real' interiors and the multiple agendas and influences which have informed the production of different types of domestic advice.


  • Penny Sparke, Kingston University, "Domestic Advice Literature"
  • Grace Lees-Maffei, University of Hertfordshire, "Stories of Home: Domestic Advice Literature as Narrative"
  • Lesley Hoskins, Queen Mary, University of London, "Calibrating advice: prescription and practice in the mid- nineteenth century"
  • Rachel Ritchie, Brunel University, "From the Council of Industrial Design to the Co-op: influences on interior design and décor advice in women's magazines, 1954-1969"
  • Emma Ferry, Nottingham Trent University, "‘Any lady can do this without much trouble': class and gender in Mrs Loftie's The Dining Room"
  • Nicholas Tromans, Kingston University, "‘An alien in the decorative community': the problem of pictures in British domestic advice literature"
  • Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Kingston University, "Advice literature as reform discourse"

Spaces and Places: British Design 1948-2012

11-12 May 2012, V&A, London

In collaboration with the V&A Research and Education Departments

Developed as part of the British Design Season at the V&A, Spaces and Places: British Design 1948-2012 explored a range of public and private spaces - domestic spaces, educational spaces, retail spaces and leisure and transport environments - from the perspective of world class British design in the post-war period.


  • David Kynaston (Independent Scholar)
  • Owen Hatherley (Writer and Journalist)


Christopher Breward and Ghislaine Wood (curators of British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age), Christine Lalumia, Fiona Anderson, Alison Clarke, Cheryl Buckley, Janine Barker, Paul Gorman, Julian Powell Tuck, Piers Gough, Maurice Howard, Jules Lubbock, Alan Powers, Catherine Burke, Harriet McKay, Joe Kerr, Joe Moran.

FLOW 2 – A Conference in Two Parts

8-10 February 2012, University of Melbourne, Australia

In collaboration with Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne

Fluid urban conditions such as supermodern public spaces – international airports, shopping malls, urban plazas and post-industrial parks – render problematic the relatively simple dualities of 'inside' and 'outside', 'private' and 'public', 'domestic' and 'non-domestic' and 'place' and 'non-place'. Likewise global concerns such as climate variability, economic instability and transnationalism are similarly informing discussion about design, occupation and conservation, particularly where local ecologies and practices are impacted by the flow of change.

FLOW 2, the second investigation into the transitional and intermediary relationships between interiors and landscapes, took a theoretical and practice-based approach to the examination of historical and contemporary interiors and landscapes, focusing on those arising from the emergence of increasingly fluid and virtual spatial environments. The conference was accompanied by an exhibition of practice-based responses to the conference theme, held at the Wunderlich Gallery at the University of Melbourne.


  • Jeff Malpas (University of Tasmania)
  • Kerstin Thompson (Kerstin Thompson Architects)


Elias Constantopoulos (University of Patras, Greece), Luca Basso Peressut (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Suzie Attiwill (RMIT University, Australia), Esben Skouboe Poulsen, Anne-Marie Sandvig Knudsen and Ole B. Jensen (Aalborg University, Denmark), Michael Chapman (University of Newcastle, Australia), Chris Hay (Lincoln University), Patricia Brown (Kingston University), Sing d'Arcy (University of New South Wales, Australia), Berta Tello Peon (UNAM, Mexico) and Lucia Tello Peon (University of Yucatán, Mexico), Joel Sanders (Yale University), Donna Wheatley, Ninotschka Titschkosky, and Domino Risch (BVN Architecture, Australia), Kendra Locklear (University of Texas at Austin), Elisa Bernardi (Politecnico di Milano), Lorens Holm (University of Dundee, UK)


Jude Walton and Phoebe Robinson, Sarah Jamieson and Nadia Wagner, Sarah Breen Lovett, Gini Lee and Dolly Daou, Eleanor Suess, Donna Wheatley and Ninotschka Titschkosky.

Kingston School of Art
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