PhD Showcase


Esther Draycott

Esther Draycott — School of Design

Depth and surface: women’s style as memorial, resistance and reverie in late 1970s and early 1980s Glasgow.

Defined by Victor Hugo as “the essence of a subject, constantly called to the surface,” style is a name for the process by which someone marks something—an object, a story, a gesture or utterance—as their own. This PhD will examine the historical resonance of style among working class women in late 1970s and early 1980s Glasgow. Using methods drawn from intersections of queer, feminist, Black cultural and critical scholars, the PhD will reappraise style as a mode of thinking through and writing the past that refuses academic oppositions of depth and surface, objectivity and attachment, fact and fiction, and acknowledges the historical silences these binaries have cultivated. Using a range of primary sources such as memoir, journalism, photography and film, it will explore the ways in which style was a medium through which, at a time of intense social upheaval, working class women across post-industrial Glasgow expressed forms of longing, located themselves in time, and fashioned themselves into the city’s history.

Esther Draycott is an SGSAH funded PhD researcher working within GSA’s School of Design. She recently completed an MLitt in Art Writing at GSA, after graduating from University College London with a BA in History. She is interested in creative and critical forms of historical narrative.