Alice Rawsthorn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Alice Rawsthorn
OccupationDesign critic, journalist

Alice Rawsthorn OBE (born 1958 in Manchester)[1] is a British design critic, who writes on design in the international edition of The New York Times.[2] She also writes the "By Design" column for Frieze magazine.[3] In addition to being a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery[4] and the Michael Clark Company,[5] Rawsthorn is chair of the board of trustees at the Chisenhale Gallery[6] in London.

Education and early career in journalism[edit]

After graduating in art and architectural history[7] from Cambridge University, Rawsthorn secured a place on the graduate trainee journalism scheme of the Thomson Organisation, 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 before becoming architecture and design critic in 2000.[8]

Work in the arts[edit]

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 this period, the museum launched the Designer of the Year award, and mounted the Great Design Quest in collaboration with the BBC.[9] She resigned in February 2006 reportedly over differences with the museum's founder, Sir Terence Conran, concerning the future direction of the institution.[10]

Rawsthorn has since been active in the arts on a pro-bono basis. A trustee of Arts Council England from 2007 until 2013,[11] she was previously 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.[12] She has served on many arts juries including the Turner Prize for contemporary art, the Stirling Prize for architecture,[13] the British Council's selection panel for the Venice Architecture Biennale,[14] the PEN History Book Prize, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture,[15] the Buckminster Fuller Challenge[16] the BAFTA film and television Awards and the Museum of the Year prize[17] run by the Art Fund. A former chair of the British Council's Design Advisory Group, she was also a member of the British government's advisory panel on the BBC Charter Review.[18]

Currently, she is a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery in London[19] and of the Michael Clark Company,[20] one of the world's leading contemporary dance groups, and chairs the board of trustees of the Chisenhale Gallery in London.[21] In 2014, Rawsthorn became a founding member of Writers at Liberty, a group of writers who are committed to supporting the work of the human rights charity Liberty.[22]

Alice Rawsthorn was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to design and the arts.[23]

Other activities and writings[edit]

A prominent public speaker on design, Rawsthorn has participated in important international events, including the annual meetings of the World Economic Forum at Davos[24] in Switzerland, and was a founding member of the TED 2016 conference[25] and the Forum's Global Agenda Council on Design.[26] Among her awards for her work in design are an honorary senior fellowship from the Royal College of Art[27] and an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts.[28]

Rawsthorn has contributed essays to several books on design and contemporary culture, including monographs of the work of the designers Hella Jongerius[29] and the Bouroullec brothers[30] and a biography of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.[31] Her book Hello World: Where Design Meets Life 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.[32] Originally published by Hamish Hamilton in the UK in 2013, Hello World was published in the US by the Overlook Press in 2014[33] and is to appear in multiple foreign language editions.[34] Her most recent book, Design as an Attitude, explains how design is responding to an age of intense economic, political, and ecological instability.


  1. ^ "Ms Alice Rawsthorn Authorised Biography", Debrett's
  2. ^ "Alice Rawsthorn". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Alice Rawsthorn | Frieze". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Trustees - Whitechapel Gallery". Whitechapel Gallery. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  5. ^ "MICHAEL CLARK COMPANY - Contact". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Board of Trustees | Chisenhale Gallery". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Biography". Alice Rawsthorn's official website.
  8. ^ Newman, Cathy; Morris, Sophie (28 August 2006). "My Mentor: Cathy Newman On Alice Rawsthorn". The Independent.
  9. ^ Dyckhoff, Tom (14 February 2006). "An exhibition of themselves". The Times.
  10. ^ Roux, Caroline (3 March 2006). "Prize diversity". The Guardian.
  11. ^ "Arts Council England Trustee" (PDF).
  12. ^ "The Turning Point visual arts network evaluation report | CultureHive". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Rawsthorn and Street-Porter named as Stirling Prize judges". Architects Journal. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  14. ^ Tate. "Turner Prize 1999 - Exhibition at Tate Britain | Tate". Tate. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Alice Rawsthorn | Aga Khan Development Network". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Alice Rawsthorn | The Buckminster Fuller Institute". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Who's who on the shortlist for the Art Fund museum of the year". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  18. ^ Barrett, Patrick (15 June 2004). "Bailey and Gardam join BBC charter review". The Guardian.
  19. ^ "Trustees - Whitechapel Gallery". Whitechapel Gallery. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  20. ^ "MICHAEL CLARK COMPANY - Contact". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Board of Trustees | Chisenhale Gallery". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Willem Sandberg - design and liberty | Liberty". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  23. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b14.
  24. ^ "Alice Rawsthorn | World Economic Forum". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  25. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice, Pirates, nurses and other rebel designers, retrieved 7 October 2016
  26. ^ "World Economic Forum summit in Dubai produces design manifesto - Core77". Core77. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  27. ^ "Senior Fellows". Royal College of Art. Archived from the original on 18 February 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  28. ^ "Honorary awards for leading figures in the creative industries at UAL Conferments 2014 - UAL News". UAL News. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  29. ^ Jongeriuslab. "new book: Hella Jongerius - Misfit | Jongeriuslab design studio". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  30. ^ "Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. Bivouac - Exhibition Catalogue | Centre Pompidou Metz". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  31. ^ "The scent of success". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  32. ^ MacCarthy, Fiona (10 May 2013). "Hello World: Where Design Meets Life by Alice Rawsthorn – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  33. ^ "Books". Alice Rawsthorn's official website.
  34. ^ "Hello World | Overlook Press". Retrieved 7 October 2016.


  • Rawsthorn, Alice (2018). Design as an Attitude. JRP | Ringier Documents Series. ISBN 978-3-03764-521-5.
  • Rawsthorn, Alice (2013). Hello World: Where Design Meets Life. Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 978-0241145302.
  • Guenin, Hélène; Le Bon, Laurent, eds. (2012). Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac. Centre Pompidou-Metz. ISBN 978-2359830163.
  • Schouwenberg, Louise, ed. (2011). Hella Jongerius: Misfit. Phaidon. ISBN 0-7148-5987-7.
  • Moggridge, Bill, ed. (2010). Designing Media. The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-01485-8.
  • Friedrichs, Arnd; Finger, Kerstin, eds. (2010). 220º Virus Monobloc: The Infamous Chair. Gestalten. ISBN 978-3-89955-317-8.
  • Articulado, ed. (2010). Articulado on Design. ADCV.
  • Greff, Jean-Pierre, ed. (2009). AC|DC – Contemporary Art, Contemporary Design. JRP Ringier. ISBN 978-3-905770-74-2.
  • Schwartz, Katrina; Vaughan, Hannah, eds. (2009). Rises in the East: A Gallery in Whitechapel. Whitechapel Gallery. ISBN 978-0-85488-171-0.
  • Wakefield, Neville; Higgie, Jennifer, eds. (2009). Frieze Projects and Frieze Talks: 2006–2008. Frieze. ISBN 0-9553201-5-1.
  • Gomez-Paladio, Bryony; Vit, Arman, eds. (2008). Women of Design: Influence and Inspiration. How Books. ISBN 1-60061-085-4.
  • Guixe, Marti, ed. (2007). Don't Buy It If You Don't Need It. Camper. ISBN 978-84-609-9135-9.
  • Barnard, Malcolm, ed. (2007). Fashion Theory: A Reader. Routledge. ISBN 9780415413404.
  • Staple, Polly; Gronlund, Melissa, eds. (2006). Frieze Projects: Artists Commissions and Talks 2003–2005. Frieze. ISBN 0-9553201-0-0.
  • Rawsthorn, Alice (1999). Marc Newson. Booth-Clibborn Editions. ISBN 1-86154-062-0.
  • Rawsthorn, Alice (1996). Yves Saint Laurent. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-255543-3.

External links[edit]