Sean Hall BA (Hons) MSt (Oxon.) MA

Position held:
Leader in Contextual Studies

+44 (0)20 7717 2214

+44 (0)20 7919 7797

s.hall (


BA Design, BA Computing and Interaction Design, BEng Design and Innovation, MA Design – Critical Practice, MRes, MPhil/PhD

Areas of supervision

My research student supervision is located in the following broadly defined areas: Semiotics; design theory; diagrammatic thought; constructions of the self.

Professional activities

Member of the following organisations:

Writers Guild of Great Britain
Registered Expert, Expert Sources, On-line Directory of UK Experts, 2005 - to date
Design Research Society, 1999 - to date
Aristotelian Society
Mind Association
External Examiner for the MRes Art Studies (Sept 2003 – August 2007), Roehampton Institute, University of Surrey

Research interests

Sean’s research is focused on the ways in which designed objects (e.g. such things as shoes, jigsaw puzzles, children’s toys and drinking glasses), pieces of two-dimensional communication (e.g. films and cvs), sites of consumption and display (e.g. museums, shopping malls and lecture theatres), and contemporary theories of knowledge (e.g. Marxism and Wittgensteinianism) all have normalising conditions of production, and preset categories of reception and consumption.

Taking Roman Jacobson’s idea was that language should be “investigated in all the variety of its functions” (Jacobson 1960: 350 – 77) the aim of this research is to discern the various ways in which a change in the function of language (through use) can lead to a change in meaning. However, whilst Jacobson’s own theory provides fascinating insights into the relationship between meaning and use, my current interest is to go beyond its application to linguistic acts. This research, then, seeks to extend Jacobson’s insights. It does this by showing how the notion of the “shifter” can be used to enhance the theories and practices of design through contextual alteration. Using both theory and practice as a means of innovation, this research demonstrates new ways of engaging with various images, objects, and theories of design by “shifting” them into new (and often strange) sites and situations. The following research contributions, then, should be seen in the light of an interrogation of use through different ways of “shifting” meaning.

Selected publications

Papers in conference proceedings

Hall, S, (2001) Redesigning Marxism in Peter Lloyd and Henri Christiaans (eds.), ‘Designing in Context’, Delft University Press, The Netherlands. pp. 31-44:
ISBN 90-407-2271-4 9

Hall, S., 2002  Action Replay: Theorising the Enhancement of Learning Experience through Portable Technological Delivery Systerms, International Conference on Information and Communication in Education (ITCE)  Formatex, Badajoz (Spain), pp 121 -130 ISBN 84-95251-76

Hall, S., 2001, From Graduate Trainees to Trainee graduates: Towards an Illumination of the Teaching of Professional Practice on Design Degrees, in (eds) Norman, E. W. L. & Roberts, P. H., IDATER 2001: International Conference on Design and Technology Educational Research and Curriculum Development, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK pp. 36-40, ISBN: 1-899291-55-5


Hall, S., (2007) This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics, Laurence King Press, London, UK, ISBN: 1856695212

Spanish imprint:
Hall, S., (2007) Esto significa esto, Esto significa Aquello: Semiotica: Guia de lossSignos y su Sinificado,
Blume, Barcelona, Spain, ISBN: 19788498012125

American Imprint:
Hall, S., (2007) This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics, Laurence King Press, London, UK, ISBN: 1856695212


Hall S. and Rosenberg T.E., 2003 ‘Pay and Display’
Venue: Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.
Dates: March – April 2003

Content last modified: 08 Apr 2009

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