Please be informed that due to Covid-19 and delays this may cause in research and writing, we have extended the submission deadline. The new deadline is 30 June 2020.


In order to encourage, recognise, and support writing that engages audiences in critical and contemporary issues in design writing, the Design History Society initiated a new writing prize in 2017. Running for the fourth time in 2020, this prize is open to scholars, researchers, critics, practitioners and educators within and outside the Society who demonstrate a commitment to furthering the work 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.

Jane Audas is this year’s Guest Judge. Jane writes about historical and contemporary design, fashion and craft for magazines, the web, books, on her blog Shelf Appeal and on Twitter and Instagram. As a journalist she writes for magazines including Uppercase, The World of Interiors, Embroidery, Selvedge, Oh Comely and Vogue Japan. Jane has written the book Charles Hasler Sends His Greetings, published by the Museum of Domestic Architecture.

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 “Memory Full?” in September 2021, FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel, Switzerland, and a free place at the gala dinner

Winners of the Design Writing Prize are announced at the Annual DHS Conference. All authors are informed of the competition results in late July.

Design Writing Prize Entry requirements:

· The entry must be authored from 2019 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 16.00 GMT on 30 June 2020. 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 contextualizes 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 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).

Good Luck!