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Elif Uluca

MA work

The Passport in the Twenty-­first Century: Design, National Identity, Politics, and Power

This dissertation explores the dynamics between nationalism, national and political identity, and power by investigating the design change of the passport within a history of design framework. One reason for this exploration is that, in contrast to other products of the state such as stamps, coins, and banknotes, the passport has not been examined as a designed artefact within a history of design framework. In addition to that, events such as Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) have brought the passport into the spotlight as a designed artefact, starting a discussion around national and political identity. The design of the passport has taken centre stage in this discussion. Even a design element such as the cover design of the passport; switching from its current burgundy colour to its iconic, pre-European Union, navy colour, the post-Brexit passport is assumed by some to re-establish Britain’s national identity. In the light of current events such as Brexit, it is important to explore the passport’s role in creating and delivering political statements by being an object of power. In order to do that, this dissertation reveals the link between new passport production methods, advancements in production technologies, the guidelines of the Civil Aviation Organisation and governments’ decision towards outsourcing and consequently argues that the passport has become a highly illustrated object due to these changes. Furthermore, it uncovers that the design and production of the twenty-first century passports are unified globally through these changes. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Arts & Humanities


    MA History of Design, 2018

  • Product Designer & Design Historian

    Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Elif has a BFA in Product Design from Parsons in New York. She is a multidisciplinary designer and makes jewelry, furniture, and ceramics. When she is not designing she is working with curators, artists, artisans and designers to organize art festivals and events. 

  • Degrees

  • BFA Product Design, Parsons, 2010
  • Exhibitions

  • Produce 3 by SPOT Production Fund, Istanbul 2016; A toolkit for a provocative practice, London, RCA 2017; Zanaattan Tasarima, Istanbul Modern Museum, Istanbul 2016
  • Awards

  • Dean's Scholarship, Parsons 2010-2014