To invigorate and celebrate the art of design discourse, the Design History Society is proud to launch the 2024 iteration of the Design Writing Prize. Originally launched in 2017, the award invites scholars, researchers, critics, practitioners and educators, both from within the Society and the vibrant community beyond, to champion the cause of critical debate in design through writing.

The aim of the Design Writing Prize, in addition to promoting and celebrating excellent new work, is to advocate writing as a necessary and creative practice for communicating ideas related to design. In this vein, entries that include a variety of modes such as essays, interviews, reviews or editorial commentary are welcome and can either be published works or in manuscript phase.

The Design Writing Prize includes:

  • A cash award of £150 given by the Design History Society
  • One year's membership of the Design History Society (includes subscription to the Journal of Design History and eligibility to apply for further grants and awards)
  • Free place at the Design History Society conference “Border Control: Excursion, Incursion and Exclusion”, 5-7 September 2024 at the University for the Creative Arts at Canterbury, UK.

Winners of the Design Writing Prize are announced at the DHS annual conference. All authors are informed of the competition results late July 2024.

2024 Guest Judge

We are delighted to announce that the Guest Judge for this year's prize is Prof Anne Massey, Professorial Fellow in the School of Architecture and Design at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, the host of this year’s Annual Design History Society conference 'Border Control'.

Design Writing Prize Entry requirements:

  • The entry must be authored from 2023 onwards and thus be recent writing.
  • Entries should not exceed 3,500 words and must be written in English (entries written/published in another language and accompanied by an English translation will be accepted)
  • One digital copy of the essay should be emailed to the Design History Society administrator Jenna Allsopp:, by 31 May 2024. The email subject line should clearly state “DHS Writing Prize”
  • The essay must be accompanied by a nomination and Application Entry Form. These are available via the DHS webpage.

Note: submissions can be either self-nominated or put forward by a nominator. It is the responsibility of the nominator to ensure the entry criteria is met and the author is aware of the submission. The Entry Form must be included with the submission bearing the signature of both the author and a nominator and a brief statement that contextualises the entry.

Essays must be submitted as PDF files with the accompanying entry form either included within or alongside the PDF in the submission email.

Consideration should be given to the following selection criteria:

1. Originality

The entry should demonstrate a novel approach to critical issues, themes, and discourses currently relevant to design history and related fields and should further work in and understanding of its subject-matter.

2. Method

The essay should demonstrate excellence in writing practice through the selection or tone, mode of communication appropriate for its audience (interview, review, essay etc.), position and delivery of an argument. While methods of research and delivery should reflect good practice in design history, unconventional or experimental approaches to design writing history are encouraged.

3. Criticality

Competence in questioning the entry’s subject material and engaging incorporated resources, discourses and methods should be present and coherent. Submissions should surpass description of their material and demonstrate an ability to critically engage in their subject to further an argument.

4. Presentation

Entries must be well-structured, well-written and presented to a high standard. Where appropriate, they should include appropriate citations (footnotes or endnotes) and bibliography. The language of this competition is English, however entries written in another language with provided translations will be accepted.

5. We wish to remind our applicants that

- the DHS is committed to supporting equalities and therefore invites applicants to reflect on and state clearly how their proposed projects address inequalities.
- the DHS is also committed to addressing sustainability issues and invites applicants to state how their project has been shaped with an environmentally-conscious approach (in relation to travel, participation and use of resources).

All entries will undergo double-blind peer review by DHS Trustees. The top scoring entries will then be assessed by the Guest Judge who will select a winner and a runner up.

Good luck to all participants!

Listen to the 2023 winner Ijeoma Ndukwe in conversation with last year's guest judge Priscila Farias below: