Alice Rawsthorn (born in Manchester) is an English journalist and design commentator. As design critic of the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times, she writes the paper's weekly Design column, which is published every Monday and syndicated to other media worldwide. A trustee of Arts Council England and the Whitechapel Gallery in London, she is chair of trustees at the Chisenhale Gallery. Rawsthorn’s books include “Hello World: Where Design Meets Life”, which explores design’s impact on our lives past, present and future.
Education and early career in journalism
After graduating in art and architectural history from Cambridge University, Rawsthorn won a place on the graduate trainee journalism scheme of the Thomson Organisation and then became media editor of Campaign magazine. In 1985, she joined the staff of the Financial Times, where she worked as a foreign correspondent in Paris and pioneered the paper's coverage of the creative industries before becoming architecture and design critic.
Work in the arts
During her career at the Financial Times, Rawsthorn became a member of the Design Council and a trustee of the Design Museum. In 2001, she was appointed director of the Design Museum. During her five years as director, the number of visitors to the museum rose by 40%, participation in the education program doubled, and the Design Museum website became the world's most visited design site. The museum also launched the Designer of the Year award, and mounted the Great Design Quest in collaboration with the BBC. She reportedly resigned in February 2006 over differences with the museum's founder Sir Terence Conran concerning the future direction of the institution.
Rawsthorn has since been active in the arts on a pro-bono basis. She joined the board of Arts Council England in 2007, having been its lead adviser on the visual arts for four years and chair of the Turning Point review of the contemporary visual arts, which resulted in a record increase in public funding. Rawsthorn was appointed a member of the Arts Council's Visual Arts Board in 2008 and the Arts Policy Committee in 2009. She has served on many arts juries including the Turner Prize for contemporary art, the Stirling Prize for architecture, the British Council's selection panel for the Venice Architecture Biennale, the PEN History Book Prize, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Buckminster Fuller Challenge the BAFTA film and television Awards and the Conservation Awards run by the Heritage Lottery Fund. As well as chairing the British Council's Design Advisory Group, she was a member of its Visual Arts Group and Arts Advisory Committee. Rawsthorn was also a member of the British government's advisory panel on the BBC Charter Review. She is a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery in London and of the Michael Clark Company, one of Europe’s leading contemporary dance groups. She also chairs the board of trustees of the Chisenhale Gallery in London. 
As well as writing her syndicated column for the International Herald Tribune, Rawsthorn had spoken about design all over the world including the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, and was a member of the Forum's Global Agenda Council on Design. From 2008 to 2011, she chaired Talking Design, a quarterly series of conversations with designers, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Rawsthorn has contributed essays to several books on design and contemporary culture, including monographs of the work of the designers Hella Jongerius and the Bouroullec brothers and a biography of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Her most recent book is “Hello World: Where Design Meets Life”, which traces design’s influence on our lives from the adoption of the skull and crossbones as a global symbol of terror by 18th-century pirates, to World Cup footballs and advances in supercomputing.
- "Ms Alice Rawsthorn Authorised Biography", Debrett's
- Alice Rawsthorn's Design columns in International Herald Tribune
- DCMS announcement of appointment to Arts Council England
- Biography, Alice Rawsthorn's official website
- My mentor, Cathy Newman on Alice Rawsthorn, The Independent
- Tom Dyckhoff, An exhibition of themselves, The Times
- Caroline Roux: Prize diversity | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited
- BBC Charter Review appointments, The Guardian
- Chisenhale Gallery Newsletter, Summer 2012
- Books, Alice Rawsthorn’s official website
- Alice Rawsthorn (2013) “Hello World: Where Design Meets Life”, Hamish Hamilton, ISBN 0241145309, ISBN 978-0241145302
- Edited by Hélène Guenin and Laurent Le Bon (2012) “Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac”, Centre Pompidou-Metz, ISBN 2359830163, ISBN 978-2359830163
- Edited by Louise Schouwenberg (2011) "Hella Jongerius: Misfit", Phaidon, ISBN 0-7148-5987-7
- Edited by Bill Moggridge (2010) "Designing Media", The MIT Press, ISBN 0-262-01485-8
- Edited by Arnd Friedrichs and Kerstin Finger (2010) "220º Virus Monobloc: The Infamous Chair", Gestalten, ISBN 978-3-89955-317-8
- Edited by Articulado (2010) "Articulado on Design", ADCV
- Edited by Jean-Pierre Greff (2009) "AC|DC - Contemporary Art, Contemporary Design", JRP Ringier, ISBN 978-3-905770-74-2
- Edited by Katrina Schwartz and Hannah Vaughan (2009) "Rises in the East: A Gallery in Whitechapel", Whitechapel Gallery, ISBN 978-0-85488-171-0
- Edited by Neville Wakefield and Jennifer Higgie (2009) "Frieze Projects and Frieze Talks: 2006-2008", Frieze, ISBN 0-9553201-5-1
- Edited by Bryony Gomez-Paladio and Arman Vit (2008) "Women of Design: Influence and Inspiration", How Books, ISBN 1-60061-085-4
- Edited by Marti Guixe (2007) "Don't Buy It If You Don't Need It", Camper, ISBN 978-84-609-9135-9
- Edited by Malcolm Barnard (2007) "Fashion Theory: A Reader", Routledge, ISBN 9780415413404
- Edited by Polly Staple and Melissa Gronlund (2006) "Frieze Projects: Artists Commissions and Talks 2003-2005", Frieze, ISBN 0-9553201-0-0
- Alice Rawsthorn (1999) Marc Newson, Booth-Clibborn Editions, ISBN 1-86154-062-0
- Alice Rawsthorn (1996) Yves Saint Laurent, HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-255543-3
- Alice Rawsthorn's official website
- Core77: Alice Rawsthorn
- Arts Council official website
- Chisenhale Gallery official website
- Michael Clark Company official website
- Whitechapel Gallery official website