Stein is an interdisciplinary design researcher specialising in the relationship between technology, work and material culture. Her research shifts between historical and contemporary contexts and focuses on the quieter and less fashionable aspects of design: industrial craft, manufacturing, repair, skill loss and human redundancy in the face of economic and technological change. Stein's current (postdoctoral) research – Reshaping Australian Manufacturing – reveals the ongoing significance of industrial craft in Australian manufacturing. The project provides an historically informed understanding of Australia’s creative and productive capacity, offering constructive alternatives to nostalgic representations of ‘lost trades’. Stein is also co-Chief Investigator on an emerging collaborative project, Repair Design: Shared Knowledge & Practice, which examines repair as design, and opens up informed, realistic and meaningful public discourse about repair practices, capacities, rights and limitations in an Australian context. Stein is the author of Hot Metal: Material Culture & Tangible Labour (Manchester University Press, 2016), which re-examines technological change and workplace upheaval in the Australian printing industry between the 1960s and the 1980s. Hot Metal pioneered an interdisciplinary approach that integrates design history, labour history, and oral histories of working life.
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Craft, Design, Interdisciplinary Practice, Socially Engaged Practice