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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Dipti Bhagat

My research interests include:
20th century cultural geographies of the material culture of Empire and African diaspora.

Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - Art Deco In South Africa (in Art Deco 1910-1939)
Based on close archival study of South African material and visual culture of the 1920s and 1930s, this essay presented Art Deco in South Africa through a focus on the 1936 Empire Exhibition in Johannesburg, previously underrepresented in design histories and exhibition histories. While the chapter contributed to the anthology’s intentions to reveal the global reach of Art Deco as a style, it also argued for design historical attention to be paid to the agency of imperialism in this cultural history.


Outcome 2 - Locating Design
Locating Design, like other outputs, drew on my commitments to inter-disciplinarity in Design History, drawing on cultural geography and post-colonial discourse. The conference addressed the co-constitutive relationship of design and place - as both material and imagined - as a complex that is affiliative and layered. Delegates and keynote speakers considered "design" as object and process, and explored "place" as more than "landscape": for "place" in (post-colonial) global societies is rather, a complex interaction of the body, language/discourse, history and environment.


Outcome 3 - Paul Trevor Eastender Archive - London Metropolitan University Collection
This is a collaborative, interdisciplinary work with colleagues Jenny Harding, Mick Williamson and Susan Andrews as a team of editors of a digital archive of 500 images by photographer Paul Trevor representing the lives of local East End communities in their distinctive social, economic and political contexts, during a period of rapid social and physical change from the 1970s to 1990s.
Our concerns have been with the aesthetic, historical, and social dimensions of creating a photographic archive, the construction of a photographic archive as a relevant resource for public history and/or academic inquiry, and how aesthetic and social/political discourses work together to achieve this end.


Outcome 4 - On The Fringe
On the Fringe was a collaborative design project at LMU between 6 designers - textile, interior and multi-media designers - that sought to explore the possibilities of a digital craft practice. I was Academic Convener for this project. As such I convened and edited a collaborative catalogue for the Exhibition, On the Fringe, for which I have written both an introductory essay on digital craft and an essay in response to the work of multi-media designer Janette Harris, East End Daydream.


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