Multistory Lecture by
Elise Hodson

Please join us for the FINAL Multistory talk of the year! On Thursday 18th April we will host Dr Elise Hodson of the Royal College of Art whose talk “Forks, Knives and Steel” will explore the global supply chains of one material – steel –fundamental to both architecture and design cultures. This will be a fantastic finale to the year’s series, bringing together the themes of both the MONEY and ENERGY series. Please join us on campus in Canterbury in the architecture crit room (G Block) at 17.30 for the talk and drinks.


Global supply chains have become part of popular consciousness, with increased scrutiny of where things are made and under what conditions. Less is known about how the global economy has influenced the distribution of design and creative work around the world. The presentation begins with a case study from the 1990s reflecting the rise of “offshore” manufacturing. Following one material – stainless steel – and one product – a set of knives and forks – illustrates how global supply chains have affected the design process and connected different cultures of production. The presentation concludes by examining how some designers engage with supply chains today and the possibilities for intervening in these global networks from social and environmental perspectives.


Elise Hodson is a Senior Tutor in the School of Design, Royal College of Art. She teaches in the Design Futures MDes and is part of the NEMO (New Economic Models for the Ocean) research project. Her work combines design culture and collaborative design practice with a focus on global production networks and social sustainability. Elise has a background in design history and museum studies, and a PhD in communication and culture. Prior to the RCA, Elise was a Post-doctoral Researcher in Design Economies at Aalto University (Finland), Chair of the School of Design at George Brown College, and Director of Exhibitions at the Design Exchange (Canada).

Multistory is the long-running public lecture series run by the School. Organised by Charles Holland and Cat Rossi, we have developed a new format this year, with each semester focusing on a specific, single-word theme which addresses key challenges facing architecture, design, planning and the environment.

This term’s theme is MONEY. Speakers will cover subjects including: the financing of architecture and design projects; the role of developers, clients, and unions; gentrification; the visual and material culture of money; economic histories of architecture and design, critical creative explorations of the economy. We seek to address these themes from a range of historical, theoretical, and practice-based perspectives.