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 long been interested in objects and what they represent. I am interested in the role objects play in giving form to our lives, framing and mediating our social interactions as well as 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 pedagogical practices in design history classrooms today. I am also interested in American popular cultures, class & social identity issues found in everyday objects of mass production, 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!