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Personal profile

Research interests

Harriet Atkinson's research focuses on the history of design for communication, with a particular interest in exhibitions as visual communications and diplomatic contacts. From February 2019 to January 2023 Harriet will be an AHRC Leadership Fellow, working on the project '"The Materialisation of Persuasion": Modernist Exhibitions in Britain for Propaganda and Resistance, 1933 to 1953'. This builds on her recent University of Brighton Rising Stars Award (2017-18), for a project entitled 'Information, Persuasion, Citizenship: Public Exhibitions 1914 to now'.

Harriet has previously held research awards from the AHRC (Doctoral Award), British Academy (Small Grant) and Wingate Foundation (Wingate Scholarship). She is a member of the Management Board of University of Brighton's Centre for Design History. While a Faculty Fellow based in the University of Brighton Design Archives from 2010 to 2013, Harriet wrote a number of essays, reviews and her first monograph The Festival of Britain: A Land and its People (I.B. Tauris, 2012). Harriet was awarded her doctorate from the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum's joint history of design programme in 2007. She studied for a BA (Hons) in English and Related Literature with History of Art at University of York and for her MA in Art Museum Studies at the Courtauld Institute, University of London.


Supervisory Interests

Harriet is a registered PhD supervisor and welcomes applications from prospective PhD candidates with interests in the history and material culture of exhibitions and displays, of official or state-sanctioned design cultures, of design for protest, activism and contestation and of design as the focus for transnational exchange. 

Education/Academic qualification

Master, Courtauld Institute of Art

PhD, Royal College of Art

Bachelor, University of York

External positions

External Examiner, University of Reading

Jun 2019Jun 2022

External Examiner, Birkbeck University of London

Jul 2016Sep 2019

Executive Trustee, Design History Society



  • NC Drawing Design Illustration
  • NX Arts in general
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • NA Architecture

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2007 2019

Artists, Refugees and the Festival of Britain

Atkinson, H. Mar 2019 (Accepted/In press) Insiders/Outsiders: Refugees from Nazi Europe and Their Contribution to British Visual Culture. Bohm-Duchen, M. (ed.). London

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Design and Culture journal on 'Design as an object of diplomacy post-1945'

Atkinson, H. (ed.) & Clarkson, V. (ed.) 31 Jul 2017 9, 2, p. 117-262 146 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Design Education
Cultural Diplomacy
Furniture Design

The Festival of Britain

Atkinson, H. 1 Oct 2017 Designs on Britain. Birrell, R. (ed.). London, p. 93-102 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Open Access

Design Research – History, theory, practice: histories for future-focused thinking

Atkinson, H. & Oppenheimer, M. R. 1 Jun 2016 p. 0-0 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

Open Access
research planning

Review of Eleanor Herring, Street Furniture Design: contesting modernism in post-war Britain (Bloomsbury, 2016)

Atkinson, H. 31 Oct 2016 29, 4, p. 437-439 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Activities 2014 2018

Entangled Relations

Atkinson, H. (Organiser), Buckley, C. (Organiser), Ysanne Holt (Organiser)
16 Jul 2018

Activity: Workshop

College Art Association Annual Conference

Atkinson, H. (Organiser), Clarkson, V. (Organiser), Sarah Lichtman (Organiser)
18 Feb 2017

Activity: Conference

External Examiner PhD

Atkinson, H. (Examiner)
23 Jun 2016

Activity: Research degree

Facing the World Differently?

Atkinson, H. (Participant)

Activity: Conference