Professor Victoria Kelley

Director of Research & Education: Professor of the History of Design & Material Culture, UCA Farnham


Victoria Kelley leads UCA’s Research and Education teams, supporting staff and student research and important areas of educational development and enhancement that underpin UCA’s teaching excellence.

Victoria is a historian by discipline, with a subject expertise that spans the boundaries between design history, material culture and social history. Her interest in understanding the past through its material culture dates back to early passions for both history and design.

She studied for her BA in Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford, and MA in the History of Design at the Royal College of Art / Victoria and Albert Museum. She returned to the RCA / V&A to study for her doctorate.

Victoria started her academic career at UCA in 1996, teaching Critical and Historical Studies with BA fashion, textiles and interiors students. She delivered interdisciplinary teaching to MA students from 2005, leading research methods units.

Alongside this long career at UCA, Victoria has also held academic positions at other art and design institutions, including the RCA (2009-2012) and Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, where she was Stage Leader in Cultural Studies for Fashion, Jewellery and Textiles from 2012-2018.

Victoria supervises Ph.D students and led UCA’s Graduate Forum from 2015-2018.

Victoria Kelley

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy:

Victoria has peer reviewed for a range of academic journals and publishers, including the Journal of Design HistoryHome Cultures, the Economic History ReviewJournal of Modern Craft and Theory, Culture and Society, Palgrave Macmillan and Bloomsbury.

External examination:

Victoria has research degree examination experience at RCA, UCL, Royal Holloway University of London, Norwich University of the Arts, Kingston University and the University of Brighton.

Awards, Grants and Commissions:

  • 2017 Hosking Houses Trust residency for March/April 2017 to work on her book on London’s street markets.
    Previous recipients include Joan Bakewell, Timberlake Wertenbaker and Wendy Cope.
  • 2015: Research sabbatical award, Central Saint Martins, UAL.
  • 2014: Research sabbatical award, UCA.
  • 2013: Communities of Practice award to support symposium at Central Saint Martins, Radical Gestures: protest, resistance and refusal.
  • 2009-2010: Funding from the Royal College of Art, the V&A Museum and the Design History Society towards research network events.
  • 2007: Award from the British Academy.


Recent commissions for curatorial essays:

  • ‘Finding and Making’, exhibition essay for ‘Second Hand First Hand’, exhibition of the work of Caroline Broadhead and Maria Militsi, Marsden Woo Gallery, London, 2015 

  • ‘Locus of the Dress’, essay for textile artist Shelly Goldsmith’s Crafts Council Funded project, 2016


Research Outputs

Key outputs on UCARO:

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