Dr Frances Robertson

Job Title:

Lecturer, Design: History & Theory




Image: Rule & Compass
Dr. Frances Robertson

Image: Rule & Compass


Dr Frances Robertson

Dr. Frances Robertson is a Lecturer in Design: History & Theory and Reader in the Material Cultures of Drawing at The Glasgow School of Art. Her research investigates the material culture of practices and values associated with drawing and related visual communication in modernising industrial societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This interdisciplinary research, while reflecting in part on the body of innovative design and drawing practices associated with GSA since its founding, has made a separate, distinct and influential contribution to national and international academic scholarship in design history, print and publications history, cultural history, and technology and science studies in relation to the sociology of knowledge. The range of these investigations are unified by her aim of empowering those engaged in drawing and visual communication practices in contemporary contexts, and of disseminating the contribution of historical actors. Overall, Frances investigates the techniques used to command trust in the authority of the image, taking a material culture approach to the study of drawing with particular reference to the ‘self-fashioning’ of practitioners in recent and contemporary visual economies.  Two current and future new research directions focus first on representations of the human body in design training with reference to the development of ergonomics and second on interactions between landscape representation, notions of national and regional identity and the cultural politics of design and landscape shaping in Scotland.
Frances graduated as a mature student from the Department of Drawing and Painting of Glasgow School of Art in 2000, while teaching and exhibiting as a visual artist. In her previous lives, Frances has worked as a theatre designer, community artist, assistant to a small island printer/publisher and sub-editor of scientific journals at Pergamon Press in the pre-Wapping heyday of print union political workplace agitation. Her experience of making and negotiating design in various workplaces, for example in costume and textile processes, have all helped to inform her current conception of material culture and tacit knowledge in the other areas of production that engage her most recent research and teaching interests—as well as helping to shape her sympathy with subjects that might otherwise appear to be everyday, ephemeral and overlooked.

Frances will welcome research supervision queries on many aspects of drawing practice, such as: drawing conventions, cognition and representation; drawing education and self-fashioning; visual culture and economies in the nineteenth and twentieth century with reference to print mediums; the work of designers, draughtsmen, graphic artists; artists who have developed drawing as a medium in its own right; and the material cultures of drawing.

Frances Robertson on RADAR

Through a Northern Lens: An Auto-ethnographic Turn

Through a Northern Lens: An Auto-ethnographic Turn Bird,...

10/04/19 13:52

Common Craft: Translations Text/ Image/ Drawing/ Print

Common Craft: Translations Text/ Image/ Drawing/ Print R...

04/04/19 10:55

Industrial design, body imaging, and the ultrasonic life room

Industrial design, body imaging, and the ultrasonic life ...

04/04/19 10:42

Fine Art Critical Studies and Design History and Theory on RADAR

Fine Art Critical Studies and Design History and Theory on RADAR |

Papers from research staff