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  • 22/04/2013

    Design History Society Essay Prize 2013

    Call for entries
    Submissions are invited for the Design History Society Essay Prize, established in 1997 in order to maintain high standards in design history in higher education. Two prizes are awarded annually; one to an undergraduate student and the other to a postgraduate (MA or PhD).

    Competition requirements:

    • The entrant must have been a full- or part-time student within the academic year 2012/2013.
    • The essay should be written in English.
    • The length of the essay should be between 6,000 words and 10,000 words, including footnotes (for postgraduate students this may take the form of a free-standing essay or a thesis chapter re-worked into a free-standing essay). A word count must be provided with the essay and on the submission form.
    • The essay (including illustrations) should be submitted electronically as a PDF.
    • The essay should not have been previously published.
    • The essay must be accompanied by an academic nomination. Copies of these guidelines can be forwarded to tutors on request

    The Prize includes:

    • A bursary of £300 given by the Design History Society
    • One year’s membership of the Design History Society (includes subscription to The Journal of Design History)
    • Free place at the Design History Society conference Towards Global Histories of Design: Postcolonial Perspectives 5 – 8 September 2013, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India
    • £100 worth of Oxford University Press publications
    • 5 Paperbacks in the Oxford History of Art series

    Application forms are available from the DHS Essay Prize Officer:

    Dr Annebella Pollen

    The closing date is 14th June 2013

    Essays received after the deadline will not be considered.

    Submission Guidelines

    In order to obtain the highest standards for the Design History Society Essay Prize, each submission must be nominated by a professional in the field.


    Consideration should be given to the following selection criteria:

    1. Initial selection criteria should reflect the internal assessment requirements of the nominating institution: for example, an essay graded First Class Honours, or of MA or PhD standard.
    2. The following attributes should be present in every essay selected for submission, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.



    The essay should demonstrate a mature and novel approach to issues, themes, and discourses currently relevant in the field of design history.


    The essay should demonstrate excellence in terms of breadth of research and should combine a good balance of primary and secondary sources.


    Methods of research and delivery should reflect good practice in design history. For example, an ideal essay would demonstrate one or more of the following:

    • detailed, object-focused description and analysis
    • the application of appropriate historical approaches (social, economic, cultural, etc.)
    • a sophisticated approach to interpretation, utilising relevant theoretical perspectives (Marxism, feminism, etc.)
    • correct use of discipline-specific methodologies (archaeology, anthropology, etc.)

    3. Finally, the essay should:

    • be well structured and well written
    • include an excellent standard of critical evaluation of the source material
    • have a balanced and logical argument
    • have an articulate and well-evidenced conclusion