18 November - 2 December 2022

Fridays 18 November - 2 December 2022

Session 1 15.30 - 17.00 (GMT)

Session 2 19.00 - 20.00 (GMT)


‘Folk’ is a contested term, invoking resonances of tradition, rurality, informality. Its forms and connotations have often infused everyday objects with contested significance. References to particular forms and imaginings of folk culture vary from homage and emulation to unexpected juxtapositions, translations, misquotations and appropriations. Who had agency in the design and manufacture of these objects as well as those who circulated and mediated them to multiple audiences who consumed them inflects these objects with complex and contested power dynamics and impacts.

The seminar series ‘Folk’ Cultures in Everyday Objects aims to explore how folk cultures inhabit the design and production of everyday objects critically assessing how and why these intersections operate around the globe. You can explore more via the interactive map here.

Convened by Wiktoria Kijowska (DHS Ambassador) and Claire O’Mahony (Associate Professor in History of Art and Design; Course Director for the MSt in the History of Design, University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education).


Fri 18 Nov Temporalities

15.30-17.00 hrs ‘Folk’ Cultures and Contemporary Practice

Yissel Hernandez Romero - Design Ethics Towards Indigenous Craftsmanship

Andreu Balius and Ishan Khosla - Displaying Indian Folk Cultures through Type Design

Aija Freimane - Are ‘folk’ or traditional culture objects meaningful to Generation Z?

Joyce Cheng - Hello Kitty as Industrialized Folk Art

Jixiang Yang - From Peasant Images to the Political Philosophy: ‘Chinese Dream’ Posters, 2012

19.00 – 20.00 hrs Continuing and Contested Traditions

Mhasileno Peseyie and Gaur Rashmi - The traditional ornament as everyday objects of the Nagas from Northeast India

Katie Irani - Tawiz, talismans and tiny texts: miniaturized holy books as folklorised agents in design history

Rising Lai - Crafting Desire

Daniela Salgado Cofré - Selective Tradition and Selective Innovation in Chilean Popular Crafts

Fri 25 Nov Geographies

15.30-17.00 hrs Borderlands and Transnational Exchanges

Piotr Korduba - Dishes from Silesia. Constructed folklore of the German-Polish borderland

Lina Koo - Images and Narratives in ‘Joseon Folk Dolls’ during the Japanese Colonial Period, 1910–1945

Carlos Bartolo - Folklore for the Good of the Nation

Joseph McBrinn - High art, low art: folk culture in the Irish Revival

19.00-20.00 hrs Central and Eastern European Folk Cultures

Tetyana Solovey - Soap Cleansing Power: The role of soap branding in the process of establishment of the Russian Empire’s colonial narrative in Ukraine

Ieva Pigozne - Intersection of Folk Forms and Modern Objects: Example of Latvian Bridal Crowns

Marie Gasper – Hulvat - “Bows and Arrows, Boats, and Pipes: Folk material culture in early Soviet children’s books”

Rebecca Bell - Approaches to ‘Folk’ Objects in Czech New Wave Film: Karel Vachek’s 1963 Moravská Hellas (Moravian Hellas)

Fri 2 Dec Place and Folk Cultures

15.30hrs-17.00 hrs Mediation and Display

Hervé Doucet - Traditions and Modernities of the Decorative Arts in Alsace at the Beginning of the 20th Century. The Example of Théo Berst

Michelle Jackson-Beckett - Simple Household Goods? The Commodification of Folk Idealism and Domestic Culture in Interwar Vienna

Alice Twemlow - Bad Taste, Working Class and Popular: 1950s Urban Folk Culture in ‘Black Eyes and Lemonade’

Elina Nahlinder - Poor Design? ‘Poverty’ as the Bedrock of Swedish Modern Design

Simon Spier - ‘Homely Pottery?’: Rereading the Willett Collection of British Ceramics

19.00-20.00 hrs Constructing Folk Craft

Emily Madrigal - Wild Clay

Artun Ozguner - Folk / Modern: fitting the nation into the past

Craig Martin - Foxfire Magazine: Disseminating Rural Folk Knowledge, Traditions, and Skills

Claire Le Thomas - When folk art creates everyday objects: DIY, creative hobbies and ordinary practices of creation at the turning of the 20th century

Programme and registration

Download the full programme here

Register for free via Eventbrite