Alice Twemlow is special professor in the Wim Crouwel Chair in the History, Theory and Sociology of Graphic Design and Visual Culture.
An educator, with 25 years of international experience, extending from BA through to post-doc supervision, in design history, theory, and criticism, as well as in practice-based research, Twemlow has an aptitude for nurturing experimental and public-facing research cultures within institutions, and for supporting the use of experimental methods in research, documentation, and dissemination.
Her own research, situated at the intersection of environmental humanities, design history, and artistic research, addresses design and its aftermaths in the context of geological time, as it manifests, for example, in space junk and digital waste.
With ‘Design and the Deep Future’, a long-term and collective project based at KABK, she aims to contribute alternative interpretations, interventions and imaginaries to climate justice research, and with ‘Re-Read, Re-Frame, Re-Write’, based at UvA, she uses an intersectional data feminist approach to problematise the graphic design archive. Additionally, she and the environmental psychologist Adeola Enigbokan are piloting a new initiative that partners with design education institutions and their communities to assemble around issues of concern, and thereby to prototype new frameworks and measures for collective research and historymaking.
Twemlow is a former Associate Professor at Leiden University, head of the Master Department in Design Curating & Writing at Design Academy Eindhoven and the MFA in Design Criticism and MA in Design Research, Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts in New York, which she co-founded in 2008.
She has an MA and a Ph.D in History of Design from the program run jointly by the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art in London, and her book, Sifting the Trash: A History of Design Criticism, was published by MIT Press in 2017.
Research Groups and Reading Groups
Co-founder and coordinator, WARP, Walking as a Research Practice Reading Group
Member, ARRG, Artistic Research Research Group
‘Re-reading the Graphic Design Archive/Re-framing the Graphic Design Collection’, open to all Masters students, Semester 2, Block 2
Specialization in Graphic Design, Book Studies MA (forthcoming)
Open to supervising MA and PhD theses on topics related to design, graphic design, visual culture, history of design, design curation, design criticism, museums, collections and archives, artistic research, environmental and climate crisis issues, design-driven activism, intervention and social and political engagement, climate imaginaries, experimental writing and publishing, intersection of literature and visual culture.
At UvA, currently co-supervising (with Christa-Maria Lherm Hayes) Stephanie Smith’s PhD research into situated art-design practices in the American Mid-West.
At PhDArts, ACPA, Leiden University, currently supervising:
Janice McNab, artistic research post-doc, 2019-;
Alexander Cromer, ‘The Black Arctic: Recontextualizing the Middle Passage to create new, transformative spaces of healing within the entanglement of Black lives and the North Atlantic’;
Roosje Klap, ‘POST_SIGNATURE: AI co-creation and shifting notions of authorship in contemporary graphic design practice’.
Twemlow, A. (2021). Introduction, Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby. Bloomsbury Visual Arts.
Twemlow, A. (2021). The Wool Ceiling: A Complex Case of Gender and Weaving. MacGuffin No. 9.
Twemlow, A. (2020). Compositing the Prospects of Design Education. In Updating Values Future DesignEd 2020. Quodlibet.
Twemlow, A. (2020). Review of Design for the Writing Mind by Natalia Ilyin. Design Issues, Vol 36, issue 2.
Twemlow, A. (2020). Formafantasma’s Findings: Researching timber through design. Disegno The Quarterly Journal of Design, 26.
Twemlow, A. (2019). Dodging, Dazzling and Divulging. Culture is Not Always Popular: Fifteen Years of Design Observer, MIT Press.
Twemlow, A. (2018). Don’t Think, Discard! Dirty Furniture Journal.
Twemlow, A. (2018). Smiley Faces: The Graphic Language of Electronic Dance Music Promotion. In Night Fever: Designing Club Culture. Vitra Design Museum.
Twemlow, A. (2018). Victor Papanek’s Design Criticism for the Real World. In Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design. Vitra Design Museum.
Twemlow, A. (2018). Museum with Walls: Stedelijk Base installation. Disegno The Quarterly Journal of Design, 18.
Twemlow, A. (2017). Sifting the Trash: A History of Design Criticism. MIT Press.
Twemlow, A. (2016). Graphic Design Research Today, In Graphisme en France. CNAP.
Twemlow, A. (2014). 2014 The Post-it Note and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. In G. Lees-Maffei (Ed.), Iconic Designs.
Twemlow, A. (2013). Reflections on the Lolita Book Cover Project. In J. Bertram (Ed.), Lolita, The Story of a Cover Girl. Print Books.
Twemlow, A. (2012). Guaranteed Communications Failure: Consensus Meets Conflict at the International Design Conference at Aspen, 1970. In M. Beck (Ed.), The Aspen Complex. Sternberg Press.
Twemlow, A. (2009). I Can’t Talk to You If You Say That: An Ideological Collision at The International Design Conference at Aspen, 1970. Design & Culture, v. 1, issue 1.
Twemlow, A. (2009). The Evolution of a New Televisual Language: The Sets, Title Sequences and Consumers of Ready Steady Go! 1963–1966. In C. Frayling and E. King (Eds.), Popular Design and Entertainment. Manchester University Press.
Twemlow, A. (2007). The Decriminalization of Ornament and The List as a Visual Device and Metaphor in Graphic Design. In Looking Closer 5. Allworth Press.