University of Hertfordshire

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Hands are a means of knowing the world and making the world. With our hands, we manufacture designed objects, images and systems whether on the small scale of the designer-craftsperson, or the macro scale of hired hands operating mechanized, industrialized mass production processes. As consumers, we touch and operate designed goods and use our hands to communicate. Yet, our hands are hidden in plain sight and they largely escape scrutiny. This study is the first on the significance of the hand for design history. It will examine the tacit processes of craft and the impact of mechanization on design and manufacture, and consider the hand as a tool of communication in design and fashion before exploring the place of the hand in our digital culture and the possibilities of prosthetics. The research will be communicated in a research monograph contracted with MIT Press, a journal article and blog posts.

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