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Catharine Rossi

Catharine Rossi

Participant - 'Living Research: Making in China'

Cat is a design historian interested in researching, teaching, and communicating ideas about design past and present for a wide range of audiences.

Cat has keen interest in the current pre-eminence of making in design culture, socially and politically engaged approaches to both design and design history, and conducting research that connects with publics and has value beyond academia.

Casablanca Sideboard, Ettore Sottsass, Memphis, 1981

She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Design History at Kingston University (2013 - present), based in the School of Art & Design History, where she teaches students of both design history and design practice, from undergraduate to doctoral levels. Teaching this combination of academic and studio-based students in an art school whose motto is ‘thinking through making’ feeds into her research activity at Kingston.

For example, this year Cat participated in the inaugural 'Fixperts Super Salon' at the Stanley Picker Gallery, leading on from her role in editing the Fixperts blog. Cat wrote exhibition texts for the 2015 Stanley Picker Gallery Fellow, the French designer maker Fabien Cappello; spoke at a Hackspace exhibition at the Gallery; in 2014 organised 'Languages of Making', a symposium that brought together academics and makers from a variety of disciplines, institutions and geographies; in 2013 set up and ran an undergraduate module entitled 'Craftwork: Matter, Labour, Environment' which encouraged design history students to understand craft first-hand.

Cat's first permanent academic position was at Edinburgh College of Art (2011 - 2013). After she taught students of design and design history as a Visiting Lecturer in School of Historical and Critical Studies (2006) and has also taught at institutions including the RCA and Sotheby’s.

In 2011 Cat completed an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, entitled 'Modern Craft: History, Theory and Practice', at the RCA/V&A Museum. Her thesis was entitled ‘Crafting Modern Design in Italy: from Postwar to Postmodernism’, which she recently published as 'Crafting Design in Italy: from post-war to postmodernism' (Manchester University Press, 2015). This is one of a number of writing projects - including book chapters, peer reviewed journal articles, magazine articles and blog posts that Cat has been actively producing since the start of her PhD. In 2006 Cat completed an MA in History of Design and Material Culture (Distinction) at the University of Brighton and in 2005 she graduated from UCL’s BA Hons Italian and Design (First Class Degree).

Cat is a participant on 'Living Research: Making in China', helping us to understand Chinese maker culture through practical creativity and collaboration.