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Staff photo Elin Manker

Elin Manker

I am Assistant Professor in Art History & Visual Studies. My research concerns design history, design theory and aspects of modernity, from circa 1850 onwards.



Works at

Assistant professor at Department of Culture and Media Studies Units: -
Humanisthuset, Biblioteksgränd 3 (huvudentré) Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå

I was awarded my PhD at Stockholm University 2019 on the project Förlagd Form. Designkritik och designpraktik i Sverige 1860–1890 (Serialized Form. Design Criticism and Design Practice in Sweden 1860–1890), Gidlunds förlag 2019, where I explored the interconnections between aesthetic theories, the production processes and the commercial market of early-industrialised design in Sweden. The investigation shows how 19th century eclecticism in design functioned as an element design acting through motif repertoires, how this was a practice based on guild crafts methods blended with the collective processes of production-lines in manufactories, and how this was simultaneously affected by the flourish of images in contemporary, modern society. A strong implication for the Swedish context was German aesthetics in its popularised form, here identified and described as a popular aesthetics.

Forthcoming publications include a project were I have been writing a Swedish design history aimed for the blind reader, Design i Sverige 1870–2020 (Design in Sweden 1870–2020). The book will now be published in braille with tactile images by Annica Norberg. The project is financed by De Blindas Bokfond (The Fund Books for the Blind) in cooperation with Mälardalen University (The School of Innovation, Design and Engineering) and Swedish Agency for Accessible Media.

My present research investigates Craftmanship, Textile Design and Trade in Sweden, 1885–1915. The objective is to analyse textile design at that period as a pattern-making at the intersection between multiple ongoing movements: internationality and nationality; trade and artistic/craft practice; three dimension and two dimension pattern desgin; as well as the possibilityies/opportunities for women interaction in the field of design during this period, in the aftermath of the 19th century women's emancipation. The work and practice of Selma Giöbel (1843-1925) forms the example that is followed through the investigation.


Genealogy of popular science: from ancient ecphrasis to virtual reality, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag 2020 : 407-424
Manker, Elin
Kopier, Klassiker & Traditioner, Nordisk Forum for Designhistorie, Gar∂abær, Reykjavik, November 23-24, 2018
Manker, Elin

I am teaching at all levels in Art History and Visual Studies.

During 2020 I was member of the Judging Panellist in Art History & Theory at Global University Undergraduate Awards 2020 Programme.