Professor Pat Kirkham


I greatly enjoy working at KU. In February 2016 I was appointed Professor of Design History with a research brief to work within MIRC and the school, and initially also to help forge links between design and film. Following three symposia co-hosted by MIRC and Parsons/The New School, New York (two at Kingston; one in USA) the latter project led to a co-edited scholarly anthology (Screen Interiors, 2021) and Screen and Stage (special issue of Interiors: Design. Architecture. Culture, 2019), to which KU staff contributed. Since graduating with a degree in history, and completing an interdisciplinary doctorate across history and design history,  I have researched and written widely on design (including interiors and furniture), gender and film. Before moving to Kingston, I was a  Professor at the Bard Graduate Center: Design History, Decorative Arts, Material Culture in New York and prior to that Professor pf Design History and Cultural Studies at De Montfort University, Leicester. 

Academic responsibilities

Professor: Design History (0.3)


  • BA Honours History (First Class) University of Leeds
  • PhD History University of London
  • Certificate in French Studies, Middle Grade, University of Poitiers, France.


My  main research interests are in the fields of design, film and gender. I am currently working on a book, Charles and Ray Eames and Hollywood: Design, Film and Friendships, that includes discussion of Eames films as well as Hollywood films to which they contributed in a variety of ways, as well as the ways in which their friendships with people in the US film industry brought commissions outside the film industry. Unfortunately, an exhibition I was curating on this topic scheduled for 2021 in New York was cancelled. I am preparing a book chapter on the Eames House, its interiors and its home studio for a book on models for domestic living, and am currently part of a MIRC group on a major grant application for a broad study of interiors and well being from c. 2010 to 2020/21. My KU colleague Stephen Knott and I are proposing the first critical study of home studios used for crafts (from the dining table or garage to specified spaces for making) in relation to recreation, rehabilitation, wellbeing, gender, and use.  I am also working on a scholarly journal article about the biography of the Goddard House, Leicester (1954-55 - to the present). Designed by architect, Brenda Walker,  who trained at Kingston School of Architecture in the 1940s before working for the Cubitt firm and Fello Atkinson, who trained at the Architectural Association (AA). Besides the biography of the building, interiors, furnishings and garden, the article will also discuss the various links between Kingston's  School of Architecture, part-time KU staff who were AA trained and the Cubitt firm. 

Qualifications and expertise

  • Design History
  • Gender Studies
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Craft History
  • Labour History

Areas of specialism

  • Design History
  • Film and Television Studies
  • Craft History
  • Gender Studies
  • Labour History

Scholarly affiliations

  • Associate Research Fellow, Cinema and Television History Research Institute (CATHI), De Montfort University,
  • Professor Emerita, Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, New York

Research student supervision

Main supervision

Other supervision