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Research interests

Verity Clarkson is a design historian whose research explores the role of post-1945 exhibitions, trade fairs, art historiography and other cultural contacts in the context of the cultural diplomacy of the Cold War. Her work examines transnational connections with a focus on British perspectives  - arts organizations, government bodies and audiences – on these sites of contest and collaboration. She is also interested more generally in post-war popular culture, nostalgia and second-hand consumption.

Scholarly biography

After obtaining her BA in modern history at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, Verity studied design history at the University of Brighton where she developed a fascination with material culture. By investigating the cultural meanings of vintage analogue synthesizers she connected her interests as a DJ and musician with the uses of ‘the past’ in design. Her AHRC funded doctorate, in collaboration with the V&A Museum, examined the organisation and reception of exhibitions from the Eastern Bloc in Britain during the Cold War; much of this work has been presented at conferences and published in edited collections and journals. She has recently co-edited and contributed to a book, Exhibitions Beyond Boundaries: Transnational Exchanges through Art, Architecture, and Design 1945-1985 (Bloomsbury, December 2022) with Dr Harriet Atkinson (Brighton) and Dr Sarah Lichtman (Parsons, NY). Alongside her academic work, she has held roles at the Crafts Council and at the Natural History Museum, London.

Supervisory Interests

Verity is interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas: Cold War cultural exchanges and cultural diplomacy; histories of exhibitions and arts institutions; mid to late 20th century histories of design, fashion, craft and material culture; uses of the past in the present-day (vintage, retro, second hand consumption). If you have an idea for a project that is related to her research expertise, but not listed above, please get in touch to discuss it further. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 28 Feb 2010

Master, University of Brighton

Award Date: 28 Feb 2005

Bachelor, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jul 1998

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