Sean Hall

Sean researches the ways designed objects have normalising conditions of production and categories of consumption.

Staff details

Sean Hall


Lecturer in Design




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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.

Publications and research outputs


Hall, Sean and Rosenberg, Terry E.. 2003. Pay and Display. In: "Pay and Display", Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom, March – April 2003.


Hall, Sean. 2007. This Means This, This Means That: A User's Guide to Semiotics. London: Laurence King Publishing, p. 176. ISBN 9781856695213

Conference or Workshop Item

Hall, Sean. 2004. 'Action Replay: Theorising the Enhancement of Learning Experience through Portable Technological Delivery Systems'. In: International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies in Education. Badajoz, Spain 13-16 November 2002.

Rosenberg, Terry E.; Hall, Sean and Conreen, Martin. 2002. 'Barbie and Furcaroui'. In: guest speakers at PARIP symposium. Goldsmiths, London, United Kingdom.

Hall, Sean. 2001. 'Redesigning Marxism'. In: Designing in Context: Proceedings of Design Thinking Research Symposium 5. Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands 01/06/2001.


Hall, Sean. 2021. Holy Shit: Excremental Philosophy, Religious Ontology, and Spiritual Revelation. The International Journal of Zizek Studies, 15(1), ISSN 1751-8229

Hall, Sean. 2020. The Shape of Thought: Subject, Executor, Author. The International Journal of Zizek Studies, 14(1), ISSN 1751-8229

Hall, Sean. 2016. Don’t Touch That, Don’t Go Near That: Cultural Purity and The Acceptance of Corruption. Corrupted Files(1), pp. 1-7. ISSN 2398-5925

Book Section

Hall, Sean. 2020. ‘Laughter in the Dark: The Idiot and the male Position in Academia’. In: , ed. OuDePo Vol. 1. London: OuDePo, pp. 92-97. ISBN 9781527255135

Hall, Sean. 2008. How to Miss the Point. In: Rosario Hutado and Roberto Feo, eds. Nowhere, Now, Here. Gijon: LABoral Centro de Arte y Creation Industrial, pp. 248-255. ISBN 978-84-612-6674-6

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

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.