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

Staff details

PositionLecturer in Design
Department Design
Email s.hall (
Phone+44 (0)20 7717 2214
Sean Hall BA (Hons) MSt (Oxon.) MA


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.


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.