Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Click on the Fingerprint icon below to learn more about the research topics, expertise and interests of this academic.


Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research Degree Supervision

If you are interested in studying for a PhD in this research subject area click here

For more details about the research topics, expertise and interests of this academic, click on the fingerprint icon

Google Scholar h-Index

13 from 764 citations

Last updated 24th March 2023


In 2018 Professor Alex Coles began writing about music, leading to Tainted Love (Sternberg Press, 2023) and Crooner (Reaktion Books, 2024).

Prior to 2018, the interface between art, design and architecture was the prominent issue driving the majority of Coles’ research. This dynamic was explored through essays commissioned by the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Galerie Kreo, Paris, and keynote conference papers at Nova Iskra, Belgrade, and the University of the Arts, London.

The book The Transdisciplinary Studio explores this dynamic in depth. Coles spent extended periods conducting embedded research in the studios of Olafur Eliasson, Jorge Pardo, Konstantin Grcic and Åbäke. 

The publication series EP founded by Coles in 2013 pursues the transdisciplinary at an editorial level by being the first critically underpinned series of publications that fluidly moves between art, design, and architecture. The series creates a discursive platform between popular magazines (“single play”) and academic journals (“long play”) by introducing the notion of the “extended play” into publishing: with thematically edited pocket books as median. EP1 ‘The Italian Avant-Garde: 1968-1976’ was released in 2013 and received strong reviews in the mainstream press (New York Times, Times Literary Supplement), specialist arts press (Domus, Icon) and academic journals (Journal of Design History, Design and Culture). EP2 ‘Design Fiction’ was published in 2016, and EP3 ‘Post-Craft’ in 2022.

EP1 received strong reviews, with the New York Times design critic commenting that: “Edited by the design historians Catharine Rossi and Alex Coles, [EP1] is the first in a planned series of books exploring links among design, art and architecture…. “The Italian Avant Garde” … reminds us of the movement’s prescience in championing design’s social and ecological responsibilities, the importance of collaboration and self-expression, and other burning issues for designers today.” The Times Literary Supplement book critic underlined how: “The images and the range of the work presented [in EP1] are fascinating and stimulating, and provide a strong basis for future editions of this enterprising journal-book series.”

Research Expertise and Interests

Coles’ investigation into the dynamic relationship between disciplines in the arts commenced with the book DesignArt released by Tate Publishing in 2005. This was followed by the critical anthology Design and Art (MIT Press/Whitechapel, 2007). Both books triggered exhibitions and conferences on the subject of “designart,” with Coles being widely acknowledged as leading research into this new field. The catalogues and published proceedings from these exhibitions and conferences all heavily cite the author and led to designart becoming a growing area of the production and consumption of design. Extending this influence,‘DesignArt’ (Tate Publishing, 2005) was translated into Japanese in 2009 and ‘Design and Art’ (MIT/Whitechapel, 2007) into Korean by Workroom Press in 2013. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Dynamic Inter-Disciplinary Relationship
  • Art
  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Transdisciplinary


Dive into the research topics where Alex Coles is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • Tainted Love: From Nina Simone to Kendrick Lamar

    Coles, A., 2023, (Accepted/In press) Sternberg Press. 152 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

  • Post-Craft

    Coles, A. (ed.) & Rossi, C. (ed.), 15 Nov 2022, Berlin: Sternberg Press. 176 p. (EP; vol. 3)

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

  • Dissident Designs and Ethnographic Surrealisms

    Coles, A., 31 Oct 2019, Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today. Kries, M. & Cunz, T. (eds.). Vitra Design Museum, p. 332-345 14 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

  • Galerie Kreo: A New System for Design

    Coles, A., 27 Nov 2019, The Design Lab: Galerie Kreo. Dirié, C. (ed.). Flammarion, p. 308-309 2 p. (Collective: Styles and Design - English Language).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

  • Darwenism

    Coles, A., Arthur, N. & Lindley, J., 20 Apr 2018, Distributed. Blamey, D. & Haylock, B. (eds.). London: Open Editions, p. 102-109 8 p. (Occasional Table).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contributionpeer-review