Jessica Kelly

Jessica Kelly is a senior lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies for our postgraduate design degrees within the School of Art, Architecture and Design.

Head shot of Jessica Kelly in front of a white background

Jessica Kelly

Dr. Jessica Kelly is a historian of design and architecture. She studied for her BA in History at Sheffield University, MA in Design History at the Royal College of Art and the V&A Museum and for her PhD at Middlesex University.

Since 2013 Jessica has taught contextual and theoretical studies in design at the University for the Creative Arts, where she's a reader in design and architectural history and deputy director of the doctoral college. She has also taught art in design and architecture at the University of Hertfordshire and London South Bank University. She has supervised four PhD students to completion and currently supervises four research degree students in both practice based and theory research projects.

As senior lecturer at London Metropolitan Jessica oversees coordination of Critical Contextual Studies in design and teaches on postgraduate courses in the design cluster. She's an active member of the research community in the School of Art, Architecture and Design and contributes to the University's researcher development programme and the training for PhD students.

Jessica’s research sits at the intersections of architectural and design history and has been published internationally in peer reviewed journals, book chapters, edited volumes and a monograph. She was a managing editor of Architecture and Culture Journal (2018-2022) and hosts The Architectural History Podcast with the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain.

Books and Edited Volumes:

J. Kelly (2022) No More Giants: J.M. Richards, Modernism and The Architectural Review, (Manchester University Press) ISBN: 978-1-5261-4375-4

Neal Shasore and Jessica Kelly eds.(2023) Reconstruction: Architecture, the Built Environment and the Aftermath of the First World War, (Bloomsbury) ISBN: 9781350152960

Book Chapters:

Neal Shasore and Jessica Kelly (2023) "Criticism: The Architectural Press and the Public’, eds.

Reconstruction: Architecture, the Built Environment and the Aftermath of the First World War (Bloomsbury), pp. 19-42, ISBN: 9781350152960

J. Kelly(2019) 'Discourses, Ephemeral Sources and Architectural History: Personality and the Personal in the Story of J.M. Richards, Speaking of Building: oral history in architectural research' (Princeton Architectural Press) pp. 74-94, ISBN: 1616897546

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles:

J.Kelly and Claire Jamieson (February 2020) 'Practice, Discourse, Experience: the relationships between Design History and Architectural History’, Journal of Design History, Volume 33, Issue 1, Pages 1–15, ISSN 0952-4649

J.Kelly (2018) 'Behind the Scenes: Anonymity and the hidden mechanisms in design and architecture’, Special Issue of Architecture and Culture Journal, 6:1, ISSN 2050-7828

J.Kelly (2016) 'To Fan the Ardour of the Layman: The Architectural Review, The MARS Group and the Cultivation of Middle-Class Audiences for Modernism in Britain, 1933-1940', Journal of Design History, 29:4, pp. 350-365, ISSN 0952-4649

J.M. Richards (2015) 'Vulgar Modernism: J.M. Richards, modernism and the vernacular in British architecture', Architectural History, 58, pp. 229-259

Other articles:

‘Reputations: J.M Richards’, The Architectural Review, Issue 1150, April 2023

‘The Principle of Anonymity’, The Modernist Magazine, issue 32 Invisible, Autumn 2019

“The Old and New Architecture”, C3 Magazine, Special Issue: Grafts, (Korea), 2017, ISSN: 2092-5190

Bloomsbury Design Encyclopaedia entries (2015):

Design in Britain (extended entry), Victoria and Albert Museum, The Architectural Review, Typographica Magazine, Commercial Art Magazine, Industrial Arts UK Magazine, Central School of Arts and Craft, Heals, Glasgow School of Art, The Studio, Conran, Dyson Foundation, Royal Society for the Exhibition 1851, Design Exchange Toronto, Canadian Industrial Design Committee.

Gallery Display:

Surfacing Stories, RIBA Architecture Gallery, V&A Museum, 2023: Activists, architects, historians and writers offer fresh interpretations of objects in the Architecture Gallery.


Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Architecture and... Podcast. 2021-2022
Series two in production 2023

Jessica’s research sits at the intersections of architectural and design history with a focus on media and architecture in the mid-twentieth century. Her research has been published internationally in peer reviewed journals, book chapters and edited volumes. Her recent book, No More Giants: J.M. Richards, modernism and The Architectural Review (Manchester University Press, 2022), looked at the work of the architectural critic and magazine editor J.M. Richards and the changing role of the architectural press.

Design History Society Publication Grant (January 2021) £750 
Paul Mellon Education Event Grant (January 2020) £1,500
Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, Publication Grant (May 2015) £500
Paul Getty Research Institute Library Research Grant (April 2011) £3,000

Podcast Officer, Digital Content and Communications Committee, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain

Fellow and Accredited Supervisor, Higher Education Academy (2009)

External Examiner, KLC School of Design, Interior Design BA Dissertation Unit, 2019-2022

Appeared on BBC Radio London morning show with Salma El-Wardany to discuss architectural history of London, February 2023 (2:19:55 )

Peer Reviewer for Leuven University Press, RIBA Publications, Routledge publishers, Journal of Design History, Architectural History Journal.

Academic Advisor for RIBA Leslie Martin and Sadie Speight Archive Project and National Lottery Fund bid

Dr Jessica Kelly

Senior Lecturer in Critical Contextual Studies (across MA design clusters)