Rachel Harkness


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Personal profile


Rachel Harkness is a Lecturer in Design Ecologies in the School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. She has a background in Social Anthropology and in the ethnographic research of art, design and architectural movements.

Her research explores architecture and design as a peopled process, pays particular attention to the social life of the materials involved, to issues of the environment, and considers how people make manifest their ecological designs for living. She writes on issues of art and craft, time, value, materials and the environment, and has produced a number of interdisciplinary art-anthropology exhibitions. She regularly facilitates participatory visual research workshops and between 2010 and 2012 ran an international Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series on the senses and environmental values in the arts and humanities.

Her recent work considers the vibrant materials that make up the Scottish built environment, and the stories, lives, entanglements and skills that a focus upon them brings to the fore. It does so, in part, through playful experiment and participation in artistic practices of making.

Research Groups

Critical Change Research Group in School of Design;

Lines Research Group in School of Design.

Education/Academic qualification

Anthropology, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Thinking Building Dwelling: Examining Earthships in Taos and Fife, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 1 Nov 2009

External positions

Honorary Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen

1 Oct 2016 → …


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