Eye appeal is buy appeal: The design, mediation and consumption of Kenwood's kitchen appliances, 1947-2020

Project Details


This doctoral project proposal is on the mediation and consumption of Kenwood products, drawing on the Science Museum’s archive (Historical material relating to Kenneth M. Wood and the Kenwood Manufacturing Co.) and object holdings as well as the Kenwood company archives in Havant and material gathered by The Spring Art and Heritage Centre (Havant) for their recent exhibition and film Kenwood in Havant.
The project will focus on the marketing of domestic technologies and the lived realities of their use by consumers. It encompasses exhibitions and demonstrations in trade and public exhibitions and department stores as well as printed and broadcast media. These will be compared and contrasted with the actual experiences of consumers. It will include a critical investigation into the gendering of technologies and consumers.
The student will undertake primary archival research and object histories and oral histories, complimented by contextual reading in history of design and technology, and wider social and cultural histories. The project will make a critical intervention into the history of domestic design, which all too often tells a story of production and uncritically accepts consumer advertising discourses. Thus, the student will build object histories of mediation, circulation and use, which will help the Science Museum in the development of a model for future displays and interpretation strategies. The student will benefit from training in oral history and public engagement and will undertake up to 12 months of professional development activities in the museum. If successful, this project will build graduate student numbers in CCI and strategic relationships with the Science Museum, Kenwood and the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre. It will form part of the PI’s wider work on the history of the home and public engagement.
Short titleEye appeal is buy appeal
Effective start/end date1/10/2030/09/24


  • Arts & Humanities Research Council: £89,356.00


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