Occupation: Professor, Design Historian, Social Anthropologist, Presenter
Alison J. Clarke is Professor of Design History at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. A trained social anthropologist specialized in the understanding of the meaning of objects, fashion, spaces and related human behaviour, she combines an academic love of ‘things’ with a desire to understand the implications of our contemporary culture of consumption.
Having graduated her MA in Design History with Distinction at the Royal College of Art/ Victoria and Albert Museum London, Alison went on to gain a PhD in Social Anthropology at University College London. A former Smithsonian Fellow in modern history, she has published Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s (optioned for a US Emmy-nominated documentary feature film, 2001) and most recently Design Anthropology: Object Culture in the 21st Century (2010).
Living in London and Vienna, Alison lectures, publishes and broadcasts internationally on issues ranging from the anthropology of everyday life to the history of our material world.
Most recently she has contributed to THE GENIUS OF DESIGN, BBC 2 (2010) and co-presented a design series HOME, BBC 2 (2006). She has written for nationals, including The Guardian, and regularly contributes as an academic expert to a range of radio programs (Today, Nightwaves) and television programmes (fBBC, Channel 4 and ORF).