Leah Armstrong Biography

Mapping Social Design: ‘Digital Response 1’ by Andrea Botero, Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Mariana Salgado and Sanna Marttila, Aalto University, Helsinki.

Mapping Social Design: ‘Digital Response 1’ by Andrea Botero, Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Mariana Salgado and Sanna Marttila, Aalto University, Helsinki.

Name: Dr Leah Armstrong

Role: University of Brighton Research Officer in Contemporary Design Culture.

Research Interests

I recently completed an AHRC Funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at the University of Brighton/Chartered Society of Designers entitled ‘Designing a Profession: The Structure, Organisation and Identity of the Design Profession in Britain, 1930-2010’. I have been working at the V&A Museum since April 2013, supporting the research of Professor Guy Julier and helping to programme and co-ordinate the Design Culture Salons. Since January 2014, I have also been working as Research Assistant on the AHRC funded project Mapping Social Design. I am interested in the professional identity and image of the designer, the digital humanities and digital histories and gender in design history. I enjoy working collaboratively and across disciplines.

Selected Research Outputs (Exhibitions)
I am currently preparing articles for publication from my PhD thesis.

Book Chapters

‘Commemorating Bonds of Union: Remembering the Ulster Special Constabulary in the National Memorial Arboretum, Lichfield’ in Graham Dawson, J Dover, Stephen Hopkins (eds.), The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain (Manchester University Press, 2015).

‘Sites of Interaction: The Design Culture Salons at the V&A Museum’ in Liz Farrelly and Joanne Weddell, The Museum and the Object, (Bloomsbury, 2015).

Encyclopedia Entries

Twenty-one entries on institutions and processes in design history in Harriet Atkinson and Clive Edwards, Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design (Bloomsbury, 2015).


Leah Armstrong, Guy Julier, Lucy Kimbell and Jocelyn Bailey, Social Design Futures, AHRC Scoping Report: Mapping Social Design Research and Practice, V&A, University of Brighton, (July, 2014).

Conference Papers

‘Mapping the Design profession in Britain, 1930-2010: What holds it together?’ Design Culture Conference, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, 16-19 September 2014.

‘Mapping the Design Profession in Britain 1930-2010’, History and Space, Birkbeck, June, 2014.

‘Professionalism and the Designer: In History and in Practice’, Making Connections, AHRC CDA Conference, Kings College, London, (January, 2014).

‘Mapping the Design Profession in Britain, 1960-2010’, Connecting Design Archives, RMIT Europe and University of Brighton Design Archives, Barcelona, (September, 2013).

‘Designing a Profession: Mapping the Society of Industrial Artists 1930-1980’, IOTA, University of Brighton (January, 2012).

‘Using GIS to Map the Design Profession in Britain, 1930-2010’, Digital Humanities Congress, Sheffield, http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/openbook/chapter/dhc2012-armstrong,  (September, 2012).

‘Gaby Schreiber: Woman and Designer’, Study Day: Designing Women, Fashion and Textiles Museum, (June, 2012).

‘Designing a Profession in Britain, 1930-2010’, Social History Society Conference, Brighton, (April, 2011).


Designer Portraits: Women Designers, Fashion and Textile Museum, London, (March-July, 2012): http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/collections/design-archives/projects/women-designers

Awards and Scholarships

October 2010-January 2014: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, University of Brighton Design Archives and Chartered Society of Designers, Full Time Studentship.

October 2008-October 2009: AHRC MA Studentship, Cultural History, University of Manchester.

Related Links

University of Brighton, Faculty of Arts

Strawberry Thief Free iPad Game

Strawberry Thief by BAFTA award winning games designer Sophia George is a playful celebration of the work of Victorian designer William Morris. Uncover the famous Arts and Crafts design by drawing on your screen with your finger and watch your iPad transform from blank paper to an animated masterpiece.

Download now

Shop online

E. McKnight Kauffer: A Designer and his Public

E. McKnight Kauffer: A Designer and his Public

The definitive biography of one of Europe's most prolific and influential poster artists. Edward McKnight Kauffer was one of the most gifted and inter…

Buy now

Event - Brian Stonehouse: American Vogue

Mon 22 June 2015 19:00–20:45

Join Philip Athill, Director of Abbott and Holder Ltd, as he discusses Stonehouse’s work with V&A Fashion Curator Oriole Cullen.

Book online