28 April 2022 -

Hidden Histories: Gender in Design interview: Sarah Mursal

Interior design is the focus of our Hidden Histories: Gender in Design seminar this week. DHS Ambassador Alexandra Banister spoke with Sarah Mursal, lecturer on the Digital Film Production Course at Ravensbourne University, London, to discuss her research, which aims to make history and design more inclusive and sensitive.

To hear Sarah’s talk on ‘New Perspectives of Design Identity Tropes: Caribbean Women in the Home’, please register via Eventbrite:

What is your background and how did you develop an interest in design history?

I am a Production Designer, Art director, and lecturer. Design is everything, however history is interesting in material objects , for various reasons in film.

What does your research focus on?

My research focuses on women, the hidden voices in history and art, but also the often hidden narratives which appear to be embedded in our British culture but are re-appropriated or muted.

Your talk is part of a wider seminar series on Hidden Histories: Gender in Design, how does this apply to your work?

I am interested from an auto/ethnographical point of view, in which my culture, often homogenized by labelling, is presented in aspects of design. Who has the authority over these stories and how can we reflect them in a more authentic way? I take 5 case studies of women in the home and understand their stories. The sense of identity that is missing from the historical narratives can be traumatising. These women not only haven't had themselves represented but their design choices dispel a series of tropes associated with their heritage. I hope to study the importance of their voices in design history and the need for more work in this area.

Please tell us about an interesting piece of design you have discovered as part of your research.

Altis and Juris bought their home in Edmonston in 1968. Altis worked in the city as well as looking after her children. Their home shows evidence of quality wallpaper and design choices in their home. The wallpaper is in the Coles and Mortimer collections and the V&A. This was a middle-class family that had great taste and would purchase quality products.


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