Emma O'Regan-Reidy

Before pursuing her MA at the V&A/RCA, Emma  completed a BA in English Literature and Film Studies at University College Dublin. As well as completing her MA in History of Design, Emma is a freelance writer and digital illustrator. She has worked with various publications, such as ScreenShot Magazine (London, UK), Ephemera Magazine (Toronto, Canada), FAC Magazine (Dublin, Ireland) among others. Previously, Emma has worked at Rolling Stone as a Graphic Design Intern in addition to working as a freelance designer for multiple art collectives in Dublin, Ireland. Once finished with her MA, she hopes to continue to pursue a career in cultural journalism, focusing on contemporary music and fashion.





Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Emma is a student of the V&A/RCA MA History of Design programme. Over the course of this degree, she has written about 19th Century Food History of London through the close investigation of a Mansion House lunch menu from 1849. Furthermore, she has written on the class and environmental catalysts behind 'distressed' fashion from the 90s to today, emphasising designers such as John Galliano and trends such as Golden Goose Footwear. For her dissertation, she is currently researching the audio-visual projects of Solange Knowles. By focusing on key works such as "Don't Touch My Hair" (2016), "Cranes in the Sky" (2016), and When I Get Home (2019), she hopes to investigate the production, design and cultural impact of Solange’s expansive artistic output.

Quarantine, lockdown, social and physical distancing, pandemic: words we usually only encounter in dystopian literature and movies have become the defining motto of our lives. As we adjust to life under new rules, we, as MA students on the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum’s History of Design programme, like everyone else, have had to radically alter our approach to studying and working.

As first-year students, our contributions to RCA2020 form a work-in-progress encounter with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This serves as a springboard for collecting, discussing and sharing ideas on the topic of Digital Discomforts. The project explores issues brought about by the impact of digitization and the web, such as structural inequalities in digital access, the design of sites and content encountered online, user experiences in the internet and evolving conversation channels.

Resulting from intense weeks of collaborative work, the following diagrams are representations of our practice as design historians, intended to reflect real-life corridor-conversations we would have usually had in person as part of our studies. Impromptu, spontaneous and intellectually unpredictable these conversations embrace spelling mistakes and thematic jumps as characteristic of the method of communication. Our diagrams show the twists and turns of such informal, creative encounters. You may find them sometimes difficult to navigate, or even difficult to read. This is a deliberate dramatisation of the experience of digital inequality, bringing with it digital discomfort.



Freya Purcell:

Fleur Elkerton:

Yarden Levy:

Deepika Srivastava:

Max Glatzhofer:

Denise Lai:

Design History
digital discomforts
Public Space
Remote Working
Surveillance And Privacy

Decoloniality July7

This discussion examined the ways in which the digital creates and reinforces acts of colonisation. Concerns that were raised include: algorithm suggestions that amplify or silence the cultures and identities of minority groups; the sources from which dominant systems are produced (often from the Global North); how digital laws facilitate the growth of alt-right communities; and the blanket model of ‘the user’ for whom tech companies design their codes. In probing the discomforts and violences brought about by digital design, students’ texts foreground the importance for design historians and researchers to demand and contribute to actionable change at both a micro (altering open-source codes) and macro (targeting large tech conglomerates) level. As viewers of this map you may experience exclusion - the English language translations may be too small for you to read, for example - in this way we aim to evoke the digital discomfort of minority groups.

Yarden Levy:

Denise Lai:

Deepika Srivastava:

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