Jesse is a design researcher specialising in the relationship between technology, work and material culture. She is an ARC DECRA Fellow (Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award) in the School of Design, Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building, University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
Jesse’s research shifts between historical and contemporary contexts and focuses on the quieter and less fashionable sides of design: industrial craft, manufacturing, repair, skill loss and human redundancy in the face of economic and technological change. Her DECRA project is Australian Design, Trades and Manufacturing 1945-2007: Connecting Histories (commenced July 2021). The project investigates the collaborative activity that occurred between the design and manufacturing sectors in Australia in the second half of the twentieth century.
In 2017 Jesse initiated the Reshaping Australian Manufacturing Oral History Project in partnership with the National Library of Australia, which features in-depth interviews with industrial craft tradespeople, specifically engineering patternmakers. Her forthcoming book, Industrial Craft in Australia will be published by Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies in Oral History series (due out December 2021). Jesse is the author of Hot Metal: Material Culture & Tangible Labour (Manchester University Press, 2016), which examines technological change and workplace upheaval in the Australian printing industry between the 1960s and the 1980s. Hot Metal pioneered an interdisciplinary approach that integrates design history, labour history and oral histories of working life.
Jesse is also co-CI on Repair Design, an emerging collaborative project, which opens up informed, realistic and meaningful public discourse about repair practices, capacities and limitations in an Australian context (with co-CI: A. Crosby, AIs: T. Lee, K. Scardifield, UTS Design Studies).
PhD in Design from UTS (2014)
Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009)
Bachelor of Art Theory (Hons Class 1) from UNSW (2005)
ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) (2021)
Co-winner UTS Faculty of DAB Early Career Research Excellence – External Funding (2020)
Finalist – UTS Early Career Researcher Award (2018)
UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2016)
UTS Chancellor’s List for the Top 6 PhD Theses (2015)
Australian Postgraduate Award (2011)
UNSW University Medal (2005)
Member of the Australian Centre for Public History (ACPH), co-leader of the Design + History research node and also part of the Work & Technology group within the ACPH. Member of: Design History Society & Oral History NSW; past editorial board member for Craft + Design Inquiry. Regular peer reviewer: Journal of Design History, Design and Culture; Technology & Culture.
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