Centre for Modern Art and Theory

Femininity and Design at Work: Online Workshop Series Programme

Centre for Modern Art and Theory

Femininity and Design at Work: Online Workshop Series Programme

For some time, femininity has operated as a highly contested – and controversial – term in feminist historiography and gender studies. Frequently discussed in relation to ideas of superficiality, glamour, fashion and style, it has also been associated with oppressive ideals in beauty, lifestyle and identity. From a design history perspective, gendered ideals of femininized consumption and masculine production are well established, but recent histories have indicated the value of moving beyond these binaries and boundaries. This workshop series seeks to build a research discussion around the concept of femininity at work in design, through an historical and critical lens, and beyond gender binaries. The discussion aims to interrogate the value and meaning of femininity in relation to the history of design work and working identities in design. The workshop will take the form of a series of paper presentations, followed by discussion during Women’s History Month in March 2024.


Leah Armstrong, University of Applied Arts Vienna
Julia Secklehner, Masaryk University, Brno

Free registration here:

Participants will receive the link for the online platform a few days before the start of the event. 


DAY I: 15 March, 4pm–5.30pm CET

4.00pm Workshop Outline and Introductions

Project Presentations

4.05pm Leah Armstrong (Die Angewandte, Vienna) – Project Introduction: ‚Working Femininity in the Industrial Design Profession in Britain and US, 1930–1980‘

4.15pm Julia Secklehner (Masaryk University, Brno) – Project introduction: ‚Vienna’s Modern Girls: Fashion Illustration and Cartoons in Popular Magazines,       1930–1950‘

Paper Presentations

Respondent: Pat Kirkham, Kingston University, London

4.25pm Alison Kowalski (California State College, Long Beach) – ‚Pipsan Saarinen Swanson: From Interior Decorator to Furniture Designer, c. 1929–1940‘

4.45pm Konstantina Drakopoulou (Independent Researcher, Athens) – ‚The Sartorial Arts Department in Athens and Piraeus (1897–c.1973): Fashion and Design Processes for the Emergence of the Liberated Female Body in Interwar Greece‘

5.05pm Discussion and Q&A

DAY II: 22 March, 11am–12.30pm CET

Project Presentations

11.00am Nina Serulus (KU Leuven) – ‚Building a Feminist Knowledge Network. Wiki Women Design‘

11.10am Marta Filipová (Masaryk University, Brno) – ‚Beyond the Village. Folk Cultures as Agents of Modernity, 1918-1945‘

Paper presentations

Respondent: Joanne Entwistle, King’s College London

11.20am Veronika Rollová & Johana Lomová (UMPRUM, Prague) – ‚The Fashion Design Studio at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague (AAAD) in the 1950s and 1960s‘

11.40am Sandy Ng (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) – ‚Creating the Dream Dress: Vera Wang, Design, and Femininity‘

12.00pm Discussion and Q&A

Picture Credit: DCA-30-1-POR-S-16-1. Design Council Archive, University of Brighton Design Archives.