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With a research background in architectural history, Dr Kalkreuter's research centres around design practice as broader cultural expression. After contributing a monograph on Boyle Abbey to the late 20th century body of knowledge on Cistercian monastic architecture and, in particular, the role of stone masons in navigating a landscape of strong vernacular traditions faced with the influx of an international monastic style, her interest in architecture broadened to its secondary use as a motif.
Studies of historic and contemporary examples of architectural images on textiles considered artefacts in archives and on the High Street from aesthetic as well as semiotic points of view, and this led to explorations of how product semantics might bolster a theoretical framework for the cultural reading of textiles by their consumers and makers.
Taking these research threads into the 21st century with digital opportunities for co-creation, the project HeadCrowd explored the role of images in providing feedback on design propositions in a collaboration between computer science and design studies; focusing on aspects of what constitutes success and failure in the making and reception of design.