On 1 August Yulia Karpova started her postdoc in comparative literature at the School of Communication and Culture, funded by a Marie Curie grant. In this interview, she presents her research background and plans for her work in Aarhus.
- My research area is the history of Soviet design. I am also interested in Material Culture Studies, History of East- and Central European Avant-gardes, and Studies of Late Socialism. I am a Marie Curie Individual Fellow, currently related to the Cultural Transformations research programme.
- I hold an MA in Art History from the Alexander von Stieglitz Art and Industry Academy (St. Petersburg, Russia) and an MA and a PhD in Comparative History from the Central European University, Budapest. I also worked as an archivist in the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives in Budapest (research institute and archival repository of the documents related to the Cold War history). In Spring 2016 I taught the course “Introduction to East-Central European Arts and Culture” to design students from Brazil at the Budapest Metropolitan University.
- I chose the School of Communication and Culture as my host institution, because it provides an excellent opportunity to place my research topic into a broader context of European visual and materials culture of the second half of the 20th century. Here I have an opportunity to share my knowledge with scholars of different disciplines, to conduct individual research and to further develop my teaching skills. In particular, the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University is an excellent place to explore the subject that has been fascinating me for a long time: Soviet-Scandinavian interactions in the design sphere.
- My 2-year research project is called “The Second Avant-Garde: Design of Domestic Objects in Soviet Russia, 1953-1991.” It aims to identify the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era – the socialist object. The latter is considered here both as a reference to the avant-garde precedent and a concept useful for reaching beyond the standard narrative of Soviet design as a poor imitation of Western models. This research project will draw on the findings of my PhD dissertation that explored the formation of a new aesthetics in Soviet Russia in the 1950s-1960s. While the dissertation had a broad range of ideas, design projects, objects and ensembles as its subject, this new project will focus specifically on domestic objects, intended to harmonise everyday life. The main outcome of this project will be a monograph.
- In addition, I plan to publish two research articles, co-organize an international and interdisciplinary workshop on late and post-Soviet materialities (Spring or Fall 2017), and teach the course “Tangible Socialism: Material Culture, Design and Everyday Life in the Soviet Bloc, Late 1940s–1980s” (Spring 2018).
Read more about Marie Skłodowska-Curie - Individual Fellowships
Yulia Karpova, post.doc