Dr Emily Candela
School of Communication
Dr Emily Candela is Senior Tutor in the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art, where she is Pathway leader for the MRes in Communication Design and teaches on the Information Experience Design MA. Emily’s research focuses include: communication and interaction between design and science fields, the design and communication of scientific representations, the agency of sound as a component of designed artefacts, and critical perspectives on disaster preparedness from communication design perspectives.
Please note Emily is currently on maternity leave. Her role is being covered by Dr Helga Schmid.
Emily is a researcher focusing on relationships between design, science and their histories, a sound practitioner and curator. In 2016 she completed a PhD in the history of design and history of science across the Royal College of Art’s History of Design department and the Science Museum through an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award. This interdisciplinary PhD research explored the uses and translations of forms of visualisation emanating from X-ray crystallography across postwar British design and science, and developed new methods for studying objects that move between, straddle or challenge the conventional boundaries between design and science.Show more
Additional research interests include sound as a component of designed artefacts, and ways in which design scholars can conduct and communicate research using sound. Emily’s work in this area includes the six-part radio broadcast and podcast, Atomic Radio, made with the support of the Science Museum Art Programme, the RCA, UNESCO’s International Year of Crystallography and Resonance 104.4. FM. Building on Emily’s doctoral research, Atomic Radio explored intersections of the science of X-ray crystallography, art and design, and served as a platform for experiments in sound as a medium for exploring designed and scientific objects (atomicradio.org).
As a curator, Emily has worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum as Curator of Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Furniture and Twentieth-Century Product Design, and currently works with Dr Maya Oppenheimer and Francesca Cavallo as the collaborative curatorial practice Operating Manual for Living in the Worst-Case Scenario. The latter is an extension of Emily’s research in design studies; the group focuses on critical perspectives on survival and disaster preparedness through the lens of design, art and their histories. Operating Manual for Living in the Worst-Case Scenario has recently chaired a panel at the 2017 College Art Association Conference in New York, and curated an evening of participatory performance, talks, film at Cabinet Magazine in New York, both centred on the theme of the survival manual.
Emily has published in journals including Home Cultures and Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. She has presented research on relationships between science and design and sound as a design history method at various conferences and events including the College Art Association Conference (2017), the Design History Society Conference (2016), and 2015’s cross-disciplinary Inflating Curiosity event bringing together RCA and MIT Media Lab researchers.
Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes
Candela, E., Cavallo, F. and Oppenheimer, M., (2013) ‘Risk Assessment: A Para-Artistic Work’, Critical Contemporary Culture 3Show more
Candela, E., ‘Assembling an Aesthetic’, (2012) Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, ‘Aesthetics’ special issue edited by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, 16 (5-6), 564-568
Sagan, O., Candela, E. and Frimodig, B., (2011) ‘Insight on Outreach: Toward a Critical Practice’, in D. Bhagat and P. O'Neill (eds) Inclusive Practices, Inclusive Pedagogies: Learning from Widening Participation Research in Art and Design Higher Education. London: Ukadia, 2011, 85-94
Sagan, O., Candela, E. and Frimodig, B., (2010) ‘Insight on Outreach: Toward a Critical Practice’, Journal of Education Through Art 6 (2), 145–161
Awards and Grants
Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award (2011-2014): Funding award for doctoral research undertaken across the RCA History of Design department and the Science Museum on relationships between postwar British design and the science of X-ray crystallography.
Design History Society Outreach Event Grant (2017): Funding for curated programme, Operating Manual for Living in the Worst-Case Scenario, held at Cabinet Magazine in New York, and curated in collaboration with Dr Maya Oppenheimer and Francesca Cavallo.
Emily’s research focuses: on relationships between design and science; scientific visualisation; approaches to designed artefacts from the angle of sound; and critical perspectives on disaster preparedness through the lens of design (as part of curatorial collaboration Operating Manual for Living in the Worst-Case Scenario). Her 2016 PhD, undertaken across the RCA History of Design department and the Science Museum through an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, explored the uses and translations of visualisations from X-ray crystallography across postwar British design and science, and developed new methods for studying objects that move between, straddle or challenge conventional boundaries between design and science.
Current and recent research
Mid-Century Molecular: The Material Culture of X-ray Crystallographic Visualisation across Postwar British Science and Industrial Design’
RCA History of Design and the Science Museum, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award
This interdisciplinary doctoral research investigated the use and significance of X-ray crystallographic visualisations of molecular structures in postwar British material culture across scientific practice and industrial design. It is an exploration of cross-field exchange between X-ray crystallography and design in the period, the ways in which this exchange has been remembered in contemporary popular culture and history-writing, and of how researchers might study the histories of interdisciplinary networks and communication.
Operating Manual for Living in the Worst-Case Scenario
This research and curating practice conducted in collaboration with Francesca Cavallo and Dr Maya Oppenheimer develops critical approaches to disaster preparedness through the lens of art and design, most recently through a panel at the 2017 College Art Association Conference, and curated event at Cabinet Magazine in New York, supported by the Design History Society and Cabinet.
Funded by the Science Museum Art Programme and the RCA, in partnership with UNESCO’s International Year of Crystallography and Resonance 104.4 FMThis six-part radio and podcast series, broadcast in Spring 2014, was based on Dr Emily Candela’s AHRC-funded PhD research on interactions between science and design, and constituted experimental research into ways to communicate and conduct research into practices and histories of science and design using audio, drawing on journalistic and narrative approaches. It was broadcast on London’s Resonance 104.4 FM and exhibited in the Science Museum Media Space. The programme was co-produced with Chris Dixon with sound design by Emmett Glynn and Sam Conran (www.atomicradio.org).