Dr Jessica Kelly

Dr Jessica Kelly

Lecturer in Contextual & Theoretical Studies

  • Academic
  • Research
Dr Jessica  Kelly

Dr Jessica Kelly joined UCA as Lecturer in Contextual and Theoretical Studies in 2013. She has taught across the Schools of Design, Architecture and Communication at UCA and currently works with the Graphic Design and Advertising courses.

Dr Jessica  Kelly


Before joining UCA Jessica taught at London Metropolitan University, London Southbank University and The University of Hertfordshire.

Jessica graduated with a BA (Hons) in History from University of Sheffield and went on to graduate with distinction from the MA History of Design at the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She completed her PhD, entitled The Ardour of the Layman: The Architectural Review and discourses of modernism in British architecture 1933-1972 at University of Middlesex in 2013. 

Research statement

Jessica’s research interests span the boundaries of design and architectural history, material culture and cultural history. Her work explores the role of the media in mid-twentieth century architectural culture and the mediation of modern architecture to public audiences in Britain.

She is particularly interested in the discourses that surround design; how design is written and spoken about and displayed in visual media and exhibitions for the public. Her research also explores ideas about biography in design and cultural history, looking specifically at the relationship between objects, spaces and identities.

Jessica is interested in the use of material culture to communicate ideas about modernism, identity and social class in Britain. She currently plans to develop her doctoral research to look at the role of the editor in architectural and design culture.

Research supervision

Jessica currently supervises a PhD in Architecture at UCA on the relationship between Design and Culture in Algeria.

She is interested in supervising projects in the areas of Design and Architectural History, visual culture and communication.

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2008) and an accredited supervisor, she is currently supervising a PhD in the School of Architecture at UCA.
  • Editorial Assistant for Interiors Journal (2012-14).


  • Jessica has examined PhDs in the School of Architecture at UCA in 2016.
  • Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, Publication Grant – May 2015
  • UCA Research Institute Research Fund Award
  • Middlesex University Research Travel Grant – July 2011
  • Paul Getty Research Institute Library Research Grant – April 2011



  • Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Design 2015 - Contributor on topics related to design dissemination and design in Britain.
  • Jessica organised the Behind the Scenes: the hidden mechanisms of design and architectural culture symposium at UCA in 2015, which is being developed into a Special Issue of Architecture and Culture Journal in 2017.
  • Co-convener of the Design History Society Annual Conference in 2009 on the subject Writing Design: Object, Discourse, Process, Translation at University of Hertfordshire.
  • Assistant Curator on the Vienna Café 1900 exhibition at the Royal College of Art in 2008.