Sophie Declerck

Touching design: Using discursive framings and cultural codes of touch to re-imagine everyday material objects

Image of Sophie Declerck.

Sophie is a doctoral researcher in the Institute for Design Innovation. She studies meaning-making practices and the role of aesthetics in design, with a particular focus on the sense of touch.

Sophie holds an MA in History of Design from the Royal College of Art (RCA), offered jointly with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She obtained a BA in Applied Linguistics at Artesis Hogeschool Antwerp and also completed a BA in Photography at the Royal College of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium.

PhD research description

Sophie's research explores how we can reconnect with our senses of touch and improve our relationship with the material world through the design of everyday material objects, ranging from cooking utensils and dinnerware to sex toys, packaging, home accessories and furniture. By drawing upon critical reflections on touch and identifying relevant aesthetic and cultural codes, this project aims to speculate on the future of our physical, tactile experiences with objects. The aim is to open up new avenues for design innovation and everyday aesthetics. 

PhD supervisors

Sophie's PhD is supervised by Dr Vicky Lofthouse, Dr Burce Celik and Dr Laura Santamaria.

Awards, grants or scholarships received

The project is funded by a technē Doctoral Training Partnership studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

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