Monthly Archives: January 2012

Museum of Design in Plastics

The Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP) is a specialist research resource within the Arts University College at Bournemouth.

Established as the Design Collection in 1988, the collection was awarded registered museum status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in 2001. It changed its name to the Museum of Design in Plastics in September 2007 to reflect the decision to focus on plastics and became the UK’s only fully accredited plastics museum in September 2008. It is now acknowledged as the UK’s leading resource for the study and interpretation of design in plastics.


MoDiP aims to increase understanding and appreciation of the use and significance of plastics in design and holds around 10,000 objects of 20th and 21stC mass-produced design and popular culture. Collections of direct relevance to the Histories of Home SSN include:

  • Audio Visual: comprising radios, televisions, record players, records, personal stereos, tape recorders and projectors.
  • Electrical: including vacuum cleaners, kettles, coffee makers, teasmades, food mixers, irons, hairdryers, heaters and toasters.
  • Domestic: including thermos flasks, soda syphons, kitchen equipment, carpet sweepers etc.
  • Lighting: this includes a range of light shades, lamps and torches.
  •  Printed Ephemera: including trade catalogues, club flyers, jeans labels, post cards and visitor guides.
  • Packaging: a wide range of British and foreign packaging including a large collection of carrier bags.
  • Calculators and Computers: a range of examples from the 1970’s onward, including adding machines.
  • Telecommunications: a collection of telephones and related items including a selection of mobile phones.

A significant part of the MoDiP collection is housed on the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) website, an online gateway to digitised collections of visual materials in archives and special collections. Access to artefacts not on display is provided on request.

MoDiP’s collecting policy

MoDiP’s objective is to build a nationally significant representative collection of, and research resource on, the use and significance of plastics in design. To this end, to qualify for inclusion an item must meet two criteria: one relating to plastics and the other to its design, use or documentation.

1) To meet the plastics related criteria an object must conform to one of the following:

  • be made entirely of plastic
  • have plastic components which are vital to its form or function
  • provide information on the manufacture, marketing or reception of plastic products

2) To mee the additional criteria, it must conform to one of the following:

  • be innovative in design
  • provide insight into the society of which it was a part
  • be documented in such a way that it adds to plastics’ history

Plastics SSN

MoDip currently leads the Plastics Subject Specialist Network (SSN), which encourages and enables the sharing of knowledge, expertise and collections with the aim of improving museum visitor experience. For a list of active SSNs, visit the Arts Council’s SSN page.

The next Plastics SSN event will take place on 1st March at the Boilerhouse in Grantham – for further details please see this post.


For further information about MoDiP including location, opening times, contact details, current exhibitions and events, have a look at the excellent website and blog.


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The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857

The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 is a 3-year research project (beginning in September 2011 and ending in August 2014) funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project is one of the many externally-funded research programmes developed under the aegis of Warwick University’s Global History & Culture Centre.

The project seeks to enhance historical understanding of the form and function of British country house culture by situating changes in elite domestic interiors within wider global contexts. Specifically, it explores the regional, national and imperial routes by which Asian luxury goods – ceramics, textiles, metal-ware, furniture, fine art and the like – found their way into the homes of Britain’s governing elite in the Georgian and early Victorian periods, and examines what these exotic objects meant in these domestic settings and in wider national and international contexts. The project builds upon recent developments in the study of consumer culture, gender studies, globalisation, and material culture.

The project also capitalises upon the recent explosion of historical research conducted by community-based family historians. The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 seeks to integrate the findings produced by family and local historians, curators, academics and other researchers into a wider collaborative research project that illuminates Britain’s global material culture from the eighteenth century to the present.

This new project is led by Margot Finn, a professor of modern British History at Warwick. Dr Helen Clifford will play a leading role in orchestrating the project’s engagement with local and family historians, working together with the project’s full-time postdoctoral research fellow, Dr Kate Smith. Ms Ellen Filor will be funded by the grant to complete a doctoral dissertation on East India Company family networks and identities in Roxburghshire, Scotland (c. 1780-1857) as an integral part of the larger research team.

A short leaflet about the project is available here.

The Project Team will be presenting their early findings at the Institue of Historical Research on February 8th 2012.

Please join us in the Torrington Room (Room 104, First Floor South Block) at the Institute of Historical Research in London on February 8th. The seminar will begin at 5.30pm and all are welcome (membership of the Institute of Historical Research or any University not necessary). If you have any queries about the seminar please contact Kate Smith (


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Call for articles: The Temporary Interior special issue

Call for Articles – Special Issue of Interiors (Berg Publishers, Vol. 4 Issue 1 – 2013)


The editors Anne Massey (Kingston University) and John Turpin (High Point University) invite contributions to the journal’s 2013 special issue DEGREES OF EPHEMERALITY: The Temporary Interior. Nothing lasts forever, and because of their architectural shells, interiors are often perceived as being more permanent than they are. But this is an ideal, reinforced by notions of everlasting good design, promulgated partly by architectural modernism. Interiors may be altered or changed over time, even from day to day. But this usually affects only the character or function of the interior. What about the interiors whose purpose is specifically temporary, unplanned, or makeshift? What about the ephemeral vistas of international exhibitions? The prefabricated home? The Pop-Up shop or gallery? Mobile interiors, including cinemas, circuses and caravans? The inflatable structure? The 21st century has witnessed natural disasters that have wiped out entire communities requiring the need for immediate shelter for those displaced from their homes. Social unrest-whether driven by political or economic factors-has encouraged or required the development of tent cities. From refugee camps to parks appropriated for protest, temporary interiors are being created all over the world. This Special Issue of Interiors explores the design of these spaces and the unique relationship between the human and the interiors, whether created by the individual or standardized by a second party.

The editors welcome submissions of articles addressing the topic of the temporary interior broadly defined. Submissions reflecting the latest research on the interior from historians, practitioners and theorists are particularly welcomed. Principal articles of 5,000 to 7,000 words, including notes and references, with 4-8 illustrations are invited, and should be sent as an attachment to by 15 May 2012.

Further details of the Journal, including Notes for Contributors, are available at

If you have any queries about the Journal or about submitting an article, please contact us on this email address:

Anne Massey

John Turpin

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A Family in Wartime exhibition

A Family in Wartime is the next major exhibition opening at Imperial War Museums London in April 2012. The exhibition will focus on the Second World War home front in the UK, and specifically one family – the Allpress family – who lived at 36 Priory Grove in South London.

A Family in Wartime will be brought to life through interactive exhibits, photographs, recorded interviews with the family, archive film footage, paintings, personal documents and an intricate model of the Allpress family home.

Read more about the exhibition in this blog post by Alex Willett, Exhibitions Manager at IWM.

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Job opportunity: Assistant Curator post at MoDA

Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University

Assistant Curator

Maternity cover, six month full-time contract

£25,226 – £28,109 including London Weighting

Location: MoDA Collections Centre, Colindale

Ref: LIB557

Your role involves facilitating access to the collections of the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA) by students and researchers in the museum’s Study Room.  You will work with colleagues to offer high quality learning experiences relating to the collections.

You will have a good general knowledge of MoDA’s collections, and enthusiasm for supporting others in their use. You should have experience of working with museum collections, and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

MoDA is part of Middlesex University, and makes its collections available Online, On Tour and On Request. For more information please see

For informal enquiries contact Zoe Hendon 020 84112341, email

Closing date: 29 January 2012

Interview date: on or around 16 February 2012

To apply please visit the vacancies page and download an application form. Middlesex University is working towards equality of opportunity.

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Clore Leadership Programme invites applications for Museum Fellowships

Deadline: 24 February 2012

The Clore Leadership Programme is currently inviting applications from exceptional individuals with the potential to take on a significant leadership role within the Museums sector.

The Fellowship Programme aims to shape emerging creative leaders from across the cultural sector through in-depth learning, tailored as far as possible to the needs, aspirations and circumstances of the individual Fellow.

The structure of the programme includes:

  • residential courses
  • an extended placement for a period of approximately 3 months
  • individually-selected training, mentoring and coaching.

Fellows can choose to take a period of about six months away from work and receive a bursary while undertaking their programme; or continue to be attached to their place of work, with their employer being compensated for the sustained periods when they’re away.

The closing date for all applications is 12 noon, 24 February 2012.  For further details on the Programme and to access the online application form please visit the website.

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