Professor Sarah Teasley is a social historian who works at the interface of history and design research.
Sarah Teasley works across social history and design research, with a particular focus on the lived experience of old new technologies and materials in global circulation.
Teasley's research focuses on the social history of design and technology practice, policy and education in modern Japan, and on history as a way of thinking and working within design research. She is particularly interested in how researchers, designers and makers experienced 'old new' biotechnologies and materials on the shop floor and in the lab. Her other core research interest is transdisciplinary methodological exchange between history and fields including design, STS and environmental humanities. Current research includes projects on sawmills, animal glues and the early years of computer-aided design in Japan, and on rethinking social history from a multispecies perspective.
Teasley is the author of numerous book chapters and articles in journals such as Design Issues, the Journal of Design History and The Review of Japanese Society and Culture. Books include Global Design History (Routledge 2011) and Designing Modern Japan: A History (Reaktion 2022).
She has extensive experience in industry and cross-disciplinary academic partnerships with museums and design researchers and practitioners, and in consultancy for museums, government and the private sector.
At RMIT, she is affiliated with Industrial Design, and contributes to projects across the School of Design. Prior to joining RMIT in 2020, she was Reader in Design History and Head of Programme for History of Design at the Royal College of Art in the UK.
Completed HDR supervisions
- Emin Artun Ozguner, 'Inheritance/Disavowal: The Relationship between Imperial and Republican State Symbolism in Turkey', 1876-1950, Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, 2021.
- Kevin Biderman, 'Visual surveillance and direct actions protest in the City of London', Royal College of Art, AHRC Techne PhDship, 2020.
- Alessandra Maria Chessa, 'The Silent Revolution: Material Engagement and Knowledge behind the Technology of Paper. A Study across Italy and England (1590-1800)', Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020.
- Yongkeun Chun, 'Visual Representation of Colonial Modernity: Commercial Art and Advertising in Korea Under Japanese Rule (1910-1945)', Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, Design History Society and DNP Foundation awards, 2020.
- Catherine Guiral de Trenqualye, 'Pierre Faucheux's lines of flight: The deterritorialisation of a graphic designer', Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, 2020.
- Isabelle Marina Held, 'The Bombshell Assembly Line: military-industrial materials research and the syntheticisation of women's bodies in the USA, 1939 – 1976', Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, AHRC Techne PhDship, 2020.
- Yun Wang, 'The History of Chinese Contemporary Graphic Design in the Context of Globalization', China Scholarship Council PhDship, Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, 2020.
- Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, 'BETTER: Sociotechnical and Critical Imaginaries and Design and Synthetic Biology', 2018. (Artist and designer)
- Chiara Barbieri, 'Graphic design and graphic designers in Milan, 1930s-1960s: the layout of a profession', Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, RCA 175 Scholarship, 2017.
- Hui-Ying Kerr, 'Envisioning the Bubble: Creating and Consuming Lifestyles through Magazines in the Japanese Bubble Economy (1986-1991)', Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2017.
- Emily Candela, 'Materialising the Atomic: Iconography at the Interface of X-ray Crystallography and Design in Post-War Britain (1945-1965)', Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Science Museum, 2016.
- Min-Song Jeong, 'Mechanisms of In-betweenness: through visual experiences of glass', Royal College of Art, 2014.
Other HDR supervisions
- Georgina Izzard, 'Tools, Skill and Identity: The work of British Manufacturing Jewellers, 1945-1965', AHRC LAHP PhDship, supervisory role completed in 2020.
- Roxanne Ravenhill, 'The Importance of Being Specialist? The Impact of Component Suppliers on Metropolitan Building Practices, 1851-1930', AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Victoria and Albert Museum, supervisory role completed in 2020.
- Lesley Richardson, 'Evolving visions of Japan: Tracing the transmission of knowledge and material culture between the national and the provincial in Britain (1860-1920)', AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Victoria and Albert Museum, supervisory role completed in 2020.
- PhD (2007) Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, University of Tokyo
- MA (2000) Science of Design (Distinction), Musashino Art University
- AB (1996) East Asian Studies (Highest Honors), Princeton University
- Teasley, S. (2019). Contemporary Design History In: A Companion to Contemporary Design since 1945, John Wiley & Sons, United Kingdom
- Teasley, S. (2018). “Methods of Reasoning and Imagination”: History’s Failures and Capacities in Anglophone Design Research In: Theories of History: History Read Across the Humanities, Bloomsbury, United Kingdom
- Teasley, S. (2018). Design Recycle meets the product introduction hall: Craft, locality and agency in northern Japan In: Craft Economies, Bloomsbury, United Kingdom
- Connor, S.,Corby, T.,Nafus, D.,Hawes, H.,Smith, M.,Teasley, S. (2017). Numbers/Data: A Roundtable In: Journal of Visual Culture, 16, 355 - 385
- Adriasola, I.,Teasley, S.,Traganou, J. (2016). Design and Society in Modern Japan: An Introduction In: Review of Japanese Culture and Society, 28, 1 - 39
- Teasley, S. (2014). When local industry meets global forces, or what we might learn from furniture manufacturing in Shizuoka, Japan In: Proceedings of the 8th Biennial Furniture Research Group Conference, United Kingdom, 20 November 2013
1 PhD Current Supervisions