Miranda Vane

Research project: A Design History of Technological Responses to Food Sustainability Challenges in the UK since 1970


My PhD thesis will use Design History as a critical framework to examine technological responses to environmental concerns for food sustainability in the UK since 1970.  By examining case studies that represent different approaches to technological change – the role of food production in the Alternative Technology movement; the design of meat alternatives; and the use of collections and archives to conserve food production methods and crop species threatened by industrialised production – this research will provide a food-centred perspective on the relationship between technology, progress and sustainability.

Research by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation predicts that ‘over the coming 35 years, agriculture will face an unprecedented confluence of pressures.' In response this study will identify how design practices can negotiate the relationship between technology, food and the environment, providing an original historical perspective on one of the greatest environmental challenges faced by the world today.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: A Design History of Technological Responses to Food Sustainability Challenges in the UK since 1970
  • Other research supervisors:


I am a London-based Design Historian, Researcher, Writer and Curator. My key interest lies in looking beyond the conventional disciplinary boundaries of 'Design' to understand how creative and experimental practices use technology to negotiate our relationship with the environment and the natural world. 

Alongside my PhD research I work for Jane Withers Studio, a leading design curating and consultancy studio that specialises in using innovative design thinking to address cultural and societal challenges. The Studio has a particular interest in raising awareness of environmental issues and inspiring change through design.

Past freelance work includes curatorial and editorial projects for Grizedale Arts, research for the V&A and Design Museums, and writing for the London Review of Books blog, TANK Magazine and independent artist publications. 

My PhD research is the development of my MA RCA/V&A thesis about contemporary food cultures, creativity and technology. 

Areas of research interest

  • Design History
  • History of Technology
  • Experimental historical methodologies
  • Sustainability
  • Food Futures
  • Cultures of creativity and making


  • MA History of Design, Royal College of Art/V&A
  • BFA (Hons) Painting and Printmaking, Glasgow School of Art