Elizabeth Kramer

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr Kramer is interested in supervising research relating to Anglo-Japanese cultural, visual and material culture history. She is further interested in the projects looking at the relationship between globalization, transnational identities and design, particularly in relation to textiles or fashion (contemporary or historical), and informed by decolonial, postcolonial or material culture theory.

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Personal profile


Dr Elizabeth Kramer is a Senior Lecturer in Design History, specialising in transnational fashion, textiles and material culture with a specialisation in fashion and textile exchanges between Japan and Britain.

Before joining Northumbria University in 2009 as Senior Lecturer in Design History, Elizabeth Kramer held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in Historical Studies at Newcastle University (2007-9), during which time she conducted research on the material culture of manias. This expanded upon her research on the Japan mania in Victorian Britain (1875-1900) conducted during a previous postdoctoral fellowship in Material Culture-Textiles for the AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies (2005-7). Her interest in what we can learn about the participants in, and critics of, manias as informed by the material culture associated with them as well as her interest in Anglo-Japanese artistic exchange stemming from the topic of her PhD, "Art, Industry and Design: Japanese and Anglo-Japanese Textile Culture in Victorian Britain, 1862-1900", completed at The University of Manchester in 2004.

Dr Kramer is a longstanding member of the Design History Society.  In 2019, she convened the Society’s annual conference on the topic of ‘The Cost of Design’, which considered the relationship between design and economy, at Northumbria University (https://costofdesign2019.com/).  She is a member of the Editorial Board for Visual Culture in Britain, published by Routledge, and Committee Member for the Society for the Study of Japonisme.  She is also a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. 

Research interests

Currently Dr Kramer is researching how the materiality of garments can be used to understand cultural flows and transcultural identities, as demonstrated in her recent articles investigating the meanings of the global, mainstream fashions for the kimono jacket (Fashion Theory 2019) and souvenir jacket (International Journal of Fashion Studies 2020).  She is also investigating how historians might use fashion garments in a decolonial approach to global/historical studies.  Her contribution as Co-Investigator to the AHRC-funded network, ‘Fashion and Translation: Britain, Japan, China Korea’ (2014-15), led to her involvement as one of the lead authors on Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk (2020), which accompanied an exhibition by the same name at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/kimono-kyoto-to-catwalk), which was the first exhibition in Britain to present the historic and contemporary kimono as a fashionable rather than traditional garment.  Dr Kramer has received funding from the AHRC, Pasold Foundation, British Academy, Design History Society and College Art Association to support her research activities.

Education/Academic qualification

History of Art, PhD, Art, Industry and Design: Japanese and Anglo-Japanese Textile Culture in Victorian Britain, 1862-1900, University of Manchester

30 Jun 200431 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Jun 2004

History of Art, MA, University of Missouri-Columbia


Award Date: 1 Dec 1999

Art, BA, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


Award Date: 28 Jun 1996


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