Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries


Photo of Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan

Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan

  • Role Title: Professor of Design History and Theory; Associate Dean of Research
  • Address: Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 8484
  • Email: deborah.sugg-ryan@port.ac.uk
  • Department: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Faculty: Creative and Cultural Industries


I joined the University of Portsmouth in 2016 as Professor of Design History and Theory and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. I was previously Associate Professor of History and Theory of Design and Head of Histories and Theories in the Fashion and Textiles Institute at Falmouth University. I started my career as a curator at the V&A and I have been lecturing in universities since 1990. I am an experienced PhD supervisor with completions. I peer review regularly for academic journals and publishers and I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. I have also contributed to television and radio programmes.


My recent research explores the material culture and design of the home and domestic space, with a particular focus on the interwar home and the Ideal Home Show. My book Ideal Homes: Design, Architecture and Suburban Modernity in England, 1918-39 will be published by Manchester University Press in the Studies in Design and Material Culture series in 2017. This research was supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for 2012-13, for which I also undertook a programme of knowledge exchange activities with Media 10, owners of the Ideal Home Show. This research draws and extends my PhD The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition and Suburban Modernity, 1908-51​ (1995) and Ideal Homes, the exhibition that I curated for the Design Museum in 1993.

I have published several articles on the invention of historical pageants and spectacle in Britain, the US and the British Empire in the twentieth century, mainly focusing on the work of pageant master Frank Lascelles. I am a member of the Advisory Board to AHRC The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain, 1905-2016 and was keynote speaker at the project conference History in the Limelight: Dramatising the past, c. 1850 to the present.

I am currently developing a research project on vintage brands, markets and subcultures.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile