[Tim Putnam]


Profession: Design Historian

Date of birth: 10 August 1946
Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Interviewer: Sonia Ashmore
Location: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Professor Tim Putnam (b. Boston, Massachusetts, 1946) studied cultural history at Wesleyan University, then South Asian History at SOAS, before conducting research there on industrial policy in British India. When barred from research in India, he taught historical studies at Middlesex Polytechnic, still influenced by South Asia’s fragmentary and contested historiography, and its need for multi-disciplinary collaboration that exploited diverse sources.

Tim’s interests have focused on design and the material cultures of production and consumption, re-reading industrial archaeology (MSc Ironbridge, 1983–6) as vernacular design processes linking forms of making and use, and exploiting social history, ethnology, cultural studies and the sociology of taste in multi-dimensional research on home-making. His research has been supported by the Royal Ordnance, the V&A, Arts Council of Great Britain, Department for Education and the European Commission Media Programme.

He joined Bridget Wilkins’ project for an MA in History of Design for design educators, leading the resulting course between 1980 and 1995. He has since led and examined MA courses in arts and cultural resource management, inclusive arts practice, cultural planning, creative enterprise and multimedia content development.

At Middlesex University, he was Reader, then Professor of History of Material Culture, becoming Director of Research, then Dean of Humanities, before taking responsibility for regional creative industry partnerships. He subsequently joined the University of Portsmouth in 1999 as Professorial Director of Research in Art, Design and Media, retiring in 2007.

A founding member of the Journal of Design History, he chaired its Editorial Board from 2001 until 2011.

30 October, 2008
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Friday 24 Apr 2009
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Books and Research Reports

Putnam, T., and Garcia, D. (2001) Content Integrated Research for Creative User Systems (CIRCUS) Final Report (circusweb.org), CITE for ESPRIT Programme
Putnam, T., Lindsay, S., and Nolan, L. (2000) Graduate Career Patterns in the Cultural Industries, London: Middlesex University for DfEE
Putnam, T., Lindsay, S. and Nolan, L. (1998) Training Needs of Cultural Industry SMEs in the East London Lee Valley Objective 2 Area, London: Haringey Arts Council
Putnam, T., with Bird, J. et al, The BLOCK Reader in Visual Culture, London: Routledge
Putnam, T., with Robertson, G. et al (1996) Futurenatural, London: Routledge
Putnam, T., and Weinbren, D. (1995) Royal Ordnance, Patricroft; Nasmyth's Bridgwater Foundry, London: Royal Ordnance
Putnam T., with Robertson, G., et al (1995) Travellers Tales, London: Routledge
Putnam, T. with Bird, J. et al (1993) Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures and Global
Change, London: Routledge
Putnam, T., and Weinbren, D. (1992) The Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, London: Royal Ordnance
Putnam, T., and Alfrey, J. (1992) The Industrial Heritage: Managing Resources and Uses, ICOM/ICOMOS Series, The Heritage: Care, Preservation, Management, London: Routledge
Putnam, T., and Newton, C. (1990) Household Choices, London: Futures Press

Chapters in Books
Putnam, T. (2002) ‘Mantlepiece Arrangement in the Modern British Home’, in: G. Ecker et al (eds), Dinge: Medien der Aneignung, Königstein: Helmer Verlag
Putnam, T. (2002) ‘The Art of Home-Making and the Design Industries’, in: C. Painter (ed.), Contemporary Art and the Home, London: Berg
Putnam, T., and Swales, V. (2001) ‘Keeping and Not-Keeping’, in: G. Ecker et al (eds), Sammeln, Aufgeben, Wegwefen, Königstein: Helmer Verlag
Putnam, T. (2000) ‘Art and Design Education and the Creative Industries’, in I. Dumelow, H. McClennan and N. Stanley (eds), Planning the Future, NSEAD
Putnam, T. (1999) ‘The Sewing machine Comes Home’, in: B. Burman (ed.), The Culture of Sewing: Gender Consumption and Homedressmaking, London: Berg
Putnam, T., and Swales, V. (1999) ‘Defaire et faire les habitudes dans le demenagement’, in M-P Julien and J-P Warnier (eds), Approaches de la culture materielle; corps a corps avec l’objet, Paris: L’ Harmattan
Putnam, T. (1999) ‘Life in the Post-modern Home’, in: I. Cieraad (ed.) At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press
Putnam, T. (1993) ‘Beyond the Modern Home: Shifting the Parameters of Residence’, in: J. Bird (ed.), Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change, London: Routledge
Putnam, T. (1992) ‘The Representation of Cultural Process in the Domestic Interior’, in: R. Silverstone and E. Hirsch (eds), Consuming Technologies; Media and Information Technologies in Domestic Space, London: Routledge
Putnam, T. (1992) ‘Machine Tools and Manufacturing Methods’, article and series of entries in: The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Industrial Archaeology, Oxford: Blackwell
Putnam T., Alfrey, J., and Derry, S. (1992) ‘Industrial History of Czechoslovakia and Gazeteer of its Industrial Heritage Sites’, in: The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Industrial Archaeology, Oxford: Blackwell
Putnam, T., and Newton, C. (1990) ‘The Household Choices Project in the Museum Context’, in: T. Putnam and C. Newton (eds) Household Choices, London: Futures

Journal Articles
Putnam, T. (2004) ‘The Modern Home and the Evolution of the House’, Journal of Architecture, 9: 4
Putnam, T. and Weinbren, D. (1996) ‘The Royal Small Arms Factory and Industrial Enfield 1870–1914’, London Journal, 27
Putnam, T. (1994) ‘New Directions in Home Research’, SAMDOC Bulletin
Putnam, T. (1990) ‘Museum Representations of Making’, Oral History, 18: 2
Putnam, T., and Wright, P. (1989) ‘Sneering at the Theme Parks’, BLOCK, 15
Putnam, T. (1988) ‘The Theory of Machine Design in the Second Industrial Age’, Journal of Design History, 1:1
Putnam, T. (1986) ‘Current Industrial Heritage Issues in Sweden’, World Industrial History, 3
Putnam, T., and Hannah, F. (1980) ‘Taking Stock in Design History’, BLOCK 3

Journal Editorships
Journal of Design History (Oxford University Press) 1987–2011, Chair 2001–2011
Material Culture (Middlesex University Press) 1995–99
BLOCK (Middlesex University) 1980–89
Futures (London: Routledge, with the Arts Council) 1992–96

[Co-curator with Charles Newton, V&A] Household Choices: Design in Domestic Culture, Victoria and Albert Museum (1990); extended into a travelling exhibition programme (1992–94)