James Battersby

Senior Lecturer

School of Art, Design and Fashion

Victoria Building, VB216

+44 (0) 1772 89 3363


Subject Areas: Art and Design

James is a lecturer in Historical Contextual Studies for Design students, lecturing in historic design periods, semiotics and philosophy of design and technology, together with how scientific and technical developments affect design.

Full Profile

James’s qualifications are BA(Hons) Design Studies and Design History (UCLan), MA in Design (UCLan), and his background is in antiques and period interiors, specialising in Victorian and early 20thC scientific and pharmacy items.

From the age of seven, James collected Victoriana, then pharmacy antiques from the age of twelve. At seventeen James started giving public lectures on the history of pharmacy and pharmacy antiques, later studying printing and typography (he ran a small letter press and offset-litho printing business for over 10 years). During this time he studied traditional glass painting and restoration with Paul San Cassiani at Oxford University, and taught traditional stained glass and glass painting / restoration in adult education. For a number of years work included both traditional stained glass and cabinet making, often reflecting historical scientific themes in his work.

His research includes the semiotics of 19thC pharmacy design, the history amateur science and its decline in the latter half of the 20thC. Previous work has been in a range of media from traditional stained glass to furniture and interiors. More recently design work has included wallpapers and fabrics based on scientific themes, using a variety of sources such as vintage chemistry apparatus and even designing fabrics based on microphotographs of specimens taken through a microscope.

The aim is to bring together the disciplines of science and design through the medium of his work, encouraging designers to look more to science for inspiration and greater understanding of the world, and for scientists to appreciate the importance of design, and how it can be used to demystify science to the public at large.

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

DD1000 Contextual Studies module, James lectures to a large cohort of first year design students (between 250 – 300) from a wide range of design based degrees. The lectures for this range from semiotics to essay writing skills, and design history from 230,000 years ago to the present time.

Other work includes being a URP member for science.

External Activities

  • Guest lecturing
  • External URP work.


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research Interests

James' research interests include Science & Design.


Currently: surface patterns based on scientific imagery.