Gretchen Von Koenig
Historian | Designer | Educator
I analyze, teach & theorize about the objects that surround us every day.
First trained as an industrial designer, then a design historian, I have had a relationship with material culture for quite some time (as we all have). I am interested in the role objects play in giving form to our lives, framing our social interactions, and conveying identities of people, cultures and societies. The focus of my recent research involves the effects of capitalism on industrial design education in the United States, looking at the complex relationships between industry, schools, and a consumer society. My other research surrounds historical and contemporary curricula deployed in undergraduate design education, specifically the how we teach history to design students; issues of racism and classicism in the canon, methodologies for cross-curricular knowledge application and contemporary practices for the design history classroom. I am also interested in American popular cultures, class & social identity issues found in everyday objects of mass production, as well as how the making of objects facilitates global cultural exchanges, influences economic structures in trade & commodities, and how this informs problematic labor forces both at home and abroad.
I also am a grant writer, curator, non-profit arts administrator and a really avid bicyclist. Poke around!