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- Design Anthropology
I am driven by an interest in everyday material culture and consumption, and by my desire to build bridges between the anthropological and design professions.
I have worked as an ethnographer in Romania, the UK, and Ireland, sometimes in universities, and sometimes in the design departments of corporations, or as a freelancer. My key work has been in the material culture of homes, in Romania, among Romanians in Ireland, and among ageing people in Ireland. I have particularly developed new understandings of how the politics of care and caring manifests itself in everyday goods and homes. Along the way, I have developed a love of Suceava in Romania, Bristol in the UK, and the rural transport busses of Sligo and West Meath in Ireland.
I have worked on various corporate design projects as a design anthropologist, where I adapted explorations of material culture into ways to think creatively about the cultural contexts, and the human lives, where designed goods and services aspire to work. In recent years at UCL I have explored ways to research and critique cultures of materials and substances for design and innovation. I am currently involved in work on textile innovation and ecologies of fabrics and qualities, as a part of the ‘Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology’ research cluster at the London College of Fashion.
Every year, I pair up teams of UCL postgraduates with various NGO, public sector and corporate clients to work on design anthropology projects, for the Studio of Material Life.
My forthcoming volume with Routledge thinks about ways of working as a design anthropologist, and understands design as a fundamentally human-centred and industrial politics of knowledge and care. A book on domestic material culture and ideas of merit in Irish-romanian homes, is in preparation, to be published by Bloomsbury.
Some of my more readable publications include:
- Drazin, A. (forthcoming) ’Design Anthropology vs Digital Anthropology’, H. Geismar & H. Knox (Eds) Digital Anthropology, Bloomsbury
- Drazin, A. 2018 ‘The fitness of persons in the landscape: isolation, belonging and emergent subjects in rural Ireland’’ in Social Anthropology 26(4): 535-49
- Drazin, A. & S. Kuchler (Eds) 2015 The Social Life of Materials, London: Bloomsbury
- Drazin, A. 2014 ’The Problematic Decision to Live: Irish-romanian home-making and the anthropology of uncertainty’ in A. Moran, S. O’Brien, C. Swan (Eds) Love Objects, London: Bloomsbury
- Drazin, A. 2012 ‘The Social Life of Design Concepts’ in W. Gunn, T. Otto and R. Smith (Eds) Design Anthropology, London: Bloomsbury
- Drazin, A. & P. Garvey 2011 ‘Ireland’s Ethnographic Horizons’, in Ethnologie Francaise 2011/2.
- Drazin, A. 2011 ‘Towards an Anthropology of Care: Cleanliness and Consumption in Urban Romania’, in Slovak Ethnology 5 (59): 499-515.
- O’Siochain, S., P. Garvey and A. Drazin (Eds) 2011 Exhibit Ireland: ethnographic collections in Irish museums, Wordwell Press
- Drazin, A. 2011 ‘Vanatoarea de Molii: curatenie, intimitate si progres in Romania’ in V. Mihailescu (Ed) Etnografii Urbane: Cotidianul Vazut de Aproape, Bucharest: Polirom (translated from a 2001 paper in English)
- Drazin, A. & S. Roberts 2009 ‘Exploring Design Dialogues for Ageing in Place’, in special edition of Anthropology in Action 16: 1
- Drazin, A. & D, Frohlich 2007 ‘Good Intentions: Remembering through Framing Photographs in English Homes’ in Ethnos, 72(1): 51-76.
I am a co-editor of the journal Home Cultures, and in the past have edited the Journal of Material Culture.
In the department of anthropology at UCL, I am currently Postgraduate Tutor, with responsibility for coordinating departmental activities for doctoral research; and I am programme leader for the Material and Visual Culture MA.
I am interested in supervising and promoting research in these particular areas:
- Design anthropology, anthropologies of design, and studies of the role of corporations in social life
- Studies of materials, making and materials innovation
- Consumption, domesticity, home, and dwelling
- Romania, and the glories and tragedies of life in that country
I welcome inquiries about what is suitable for the journal Home Cultures, ideas for papers, and ideas for special editions and themes. If you have a proposal, please contact myself or my co-editor Pauline Garvey at Maynooth University.