Professor Sandra Kemp Biography

Late 19th century calligraphy in ink on paper by an unknown artist, North India, from John Lockwood Kipling’s private collection, donated to the V&A by his son, Rudyard Kipling. Museum Number: IM.2: 221-1917. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Late 19th century calligraphy in ink on paper by an unknown artist, North India, from John Lockwood Kipling’s private collection, donated to the V&A by his son, Rudyard Kipling. Museum Number: IM.2: 221-1917. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Name: Professor Sandra Kemp

Role: Senior Research Fellow

Research Interests

As a writer and curator, my research is located within the growing disciplines of futures studies in relation to visual and material cultures. I have previously worked at the Royal College of Art, the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. My major exhibition, Future Face: Image, Identity, Innovation, funded by the Wellcome Trust at the London Science Museum, brought together 200 artworks, objects, contemporary commissions and interactive displays from international museums and galleries. It explored the history of the face as a 3-D bar-code of identity and what faces might be like in the future. My V&A role has included leading research and seminars on cross-sector future expertise, funded by an AHRC exploratory award, including a series of podcasts. It also involves developing international research collaboration between museums and galleries, universities, industry and government agencies on how such organisations use the past to shape ideas and provoke debate about the future. I am currently co-ordinating V&A research in partnership with the Bard Graduate Center, New York, for an exhibition and related publications on John Lockwood Kipling and the international legacy of hereditary arts and crafts. This includes research in the archives and collections of Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, and the Lahore Museum, Pakistan, and on contemporary vernacular crafts.

Selected Research Outputs   

Future Face, sponsored by the British Council Taiwan and CIME, at the National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung and the National Museum of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung (2006-7)

Future Face, a Wellcome Trust Exhibition at the London Science Museum (2005-6)

Research RCA: Art, Design and Communication, the first ever Research Exhibition at the RCA (2007)

Selected Published Writings/ Papers

‘The Research Environment’ in Art and Research: Can Artists be Researchers?  (Verlag/Wien, 2011), eds. Janet Ritterman, Gerald Bast and Jurgen Mittelstrab, 153-167

‘Shaping the Human: the New Aesthetic’ in Human Futures: Art in an Age of Uncertainty (FACT and Liverpool University Press, 2009), ed. Andy Miah, 82-99

‘Face to Face’ in Engaging Science. Thoughts, deeds, analysis and action  (Wellcome Trust, 2006), ed. John Turney, 4-7

‘Technologies of the Face’ in Digital Desires  ( I.B.Taurus, 2000)

‘Reading Difficulties’ in Analysing Performance  (Manchester University Press, 1996), ed. Patrick Campbell, 153-174

‘“Let’s Watch a Little how he dances”: Performing Cultural Studies’ in Feminist Cultural Studies  (Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 1995), ed. Terry Lovell, 327-341

Books and exhibition catalogues   

with Charlotte Mitchell and David Trotter, The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction (Oxford University Press, Online Reference Library, 2012)

Research RCA (Royal College of Art, 2007)

Future Face (National Science and Technology Museum, 2006)

Future Face: Image, Identity, Innovation (Profile Books, 2004)

with Judith Squires, Feminisms  (Oxford University Press, 1998)

with Lisa Lewis, Writings on Writing: Rudyard Kipling (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

with Paola Bono, The Lonely Mirror: Italian Perspectives on Feminist Theory (Routledge, 1993).

with Paola Bono, Italian Feminist Thought  (Blackwell, 1991)

Kipling’s Hidden Narratives (Blackwell, 1988)

new edition and introduction to Rudyard Kipling’s Debits and Credits (Penguin, 1996)

new edition and introduction to Virginia Woolf’s Short Stories (Penguin, 1994)

new edition and introduction Rudyard Kipling, Selected Stories (Dent Everyman, 1987)


‘Facing up to the Future’, New Scientist (Special Edition to accompany the Future Face exhibition at the London Science Museum, Oct 2004)

‘The Archive on which the Sun never Sets’, History of the Human Sciences (November 1998) 11, 4, 33-4

‘“Myra, Myra on the Wall”: The Fascination of Faces’, Critical Quarterly (Spring 1998), 40, 1, 38- 69

with Lisa Lewis, ‘Le Mot Essentiel – Kipling Critique Litteraire’, Europe (Special Issue on Rudyard Kipling, May 1997), 78-88

‘Eccentricci Equilibri”, DWF [donnawomanfemme] (Oct-Dec 1995), 50-56—‘A Literary Autopsy’, European Journal of Women’s Studies (Autumn 1994), 1, 2, 275-277—‘Painting as Philosophy’, New Formations (Spring 1993), 19, 149-151

‘Media Representations of Visual Art’, Screen 34:1 (Spring 1993), 94-8

'Enigmatic Clarity: Lawrence. Degas and Modernism', Critical Quarterly (1993), 35, 2, 3-18.

'Beyond the Word/Image Opposition' Journal of Literature and Theology (1993), 7, 3, 302-9

‘The Films of Yvonne Rainer’, Screen 33:1 (Spring 1992), 117-121

‘Conflicting Choreographies: Derrida and Dance’, New Formations (Spring 1993), 19, 91-102

‘”Let’s watch a little how he dances” – Performing Cultural Studies’, Critical Quarterly (1992) 34, 1, 36-50; ISSN 0011-1562. Anthologised in Feminist Cultural Studies, ed. Terry Lovell.

‘“But how describe the world seen without a self?” Feminism, Fiction and Modernism’ , Critical Quarterly (1990), 32, 1, 99-118; ISSN 0011 1562. Anthologised in Virginia Woolf: Critical Assessments, ed. Eleanor McNee

Related Links

AHRC Podium 2005
Wellcome Trust  ‘Engaging Science’

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