Tom Cubbin will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, October 30, 2014, from 12 to 1:30pm. His talk is entitled “Postmodern Propaganda? Culture, Environment and Memory in Soviet Experimental Design 1973-1984.”

Tom Cubbin is a doctoral student in the Department for Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield and an MA dissertation supervisor for the Critical and Historical Studies Program in the School of Design at the Royal College of Art. He received his BA in Russian and Czech from the University of Sheffield and his MA in the History of Design and Material Culture, 1650-Present, at the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Cubbin’s primary research interest is the history of the Soviet design profession, and he is currently working on a doctoral dissertation entitled Soviet Design on the Edge of Utopia: Senezh Studio 1964-1984. His publications include: “The Domestic Information Machine: Futurological Experiments in the Soviet Domestic Interior, 1968–76,” Home Cultures, Volume 11, No.1, March 2014; “Old school: art education and the rise of right-wing realism,”, June 2013; and “Back to the future: what the new Moscow Design Museum can learn from the Soviet past,”, January 2013.

In his talk at the BGC, Cubbin will argue for the existence of a postmodern turn that took place in the Soviet experimental design after 1971. While narratives of Soviet ‘postmodern’ art have generally attempted to fit the Soviet experience into a Western model, Cubbin proposes examining a potential version of Soviet postmodernism through the experiences of designers commissioned to produce official propaganda projects at Senezh studio (1964-1991). At a time when environment and semiotics colonized Western design discourse, the studio developed similar native theories and methodologies for urban design. Often commissioned to produce ‘visual agitation’ and propaganda schemes, the studio produced designs for environments where history and theater were used to redefine the concept of ‘visual agitation’ and inspire new ways of experiencing the socialist city.

Coffee and tea will be served; attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.

RSVP is required.