A Cultural History of Interiors in the Medieval Age – Call For Papers

A Cultural History of Interiors in the Medieval Age
Ed. Mark Taylor

Call for Book Chapters

A Cultural History of Interiors in the Medieval Age is one volume of the six volume series entitled A Cultural History of Interiors (general editor John Turpin) to be published together in hardback as a set and then released as individual volumes 12-16 months later.

Interiors—as a human artefact—are a manifestation of time, space, and people, of cultural values and belief systems, and of social structures, new technologies, and philosophies of beauty. They play a crucial role in the construction of identity – whether in terms of gender, class, sexuality or nation. They represent power and control, and also the contestation or transgression of boundaries. The interior speaks to who we are, who we want to be, and, at times, who we should be.

Though deeply anchored in the characteristics of different styles, the history of interiors began to witness a new level of significance during the middle of the twentieth century as scholars like John Summerson, John Gloag, and Mark Girouard began connecting interiors intimately to their context. By the turn of the 21st century, a robust group of scholars had developed in the UK, Australia and the US. A natural outcome of the growing discourse was a new journal, Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture, which won the CELJ 2011 Best New Journal Award. They recognized the content that brought forth “salient issues and speaks to the historical reflection of structure as a symbol of culture, community, mores, and personality.” Such events suggest that the time is ripe for a publication that gathers and focuses this knowledge as a means of advancing the discipline.

Textbooks continue to struggle with the balance of stylistic traits and the forces that created them. Single paragraph snapshots of a piece of furniture, plan, or moulding rarely provide the reader with any information beyond a rather superficial encyclopaedic entry. The author does not have the time to unfold the story of the artefact’s development, creation, and function as impacted by the extrinsic forces of the culture that brought it into being. The proposed series—A Cultural History of Interiors—will, however, expand the narratives and present the reader with a much more comprehensive understanding of a particular period in time and its unique qualities that helped define interior spaces. Each volume will address the same themes so that readers can understand the full breadth of the period or explore a topic across time. The focus on culture and its impact on the interior (and visa versa) will be a truly innovative, if not ground-breaking, publication.


The series will consist of six volumes of essays that cover eight pre-selected themes, including: Beauty; Technology; Designers, Professions and Trades; Global Movements; Private Spaces; Public Spaces; Gender and Sexuality; and The Interior in the Arts. The first four themes are intended to cover topics that affect the design of interiors. The next two (Private and Public Spaces) focus primarily on the different types of interiors and their functions within a cultural context. The final two allow us to reflect upon the interior—one as a manifestation of implicit and explicit gender constructs and the other as an entity used by artists to convey an endless number of expressive messages. The selected themes have been chosen to provide a robust understanding of a particular time period. Addressing the same themes in all volumes provides an opportunity to trace a topic across time. Volume editors are chosen on the basis of their reputation and their record of being reliable, timely and conscientious authors.

A Cultural History of Interiors in the Medieval Age

This volume includes 8 chapters @ 10,000 each, including all notes and references plus 5-6 illustrations in each chapter.


This volume covers a pre-determined period: The Medieval Age (1000-1400)

Chapter themes:

  1. Beauty – a discussion about the prevailing aesthetic theories that become manifest in the stylistic traits of the period.
  2. Technology – elucidates the effect of materials, products and processes on the interior.
  3. Designers, Professions, and Trades – introduces key individuals and organizations.
  4. Global Movements – examines the degree to which ideas from various cultures migrated across time and space.
  5. Private Spaces – focuses on issues of domesticity, etiquette and the family structure.
  6. Public Spaces – focus primarily on intended functions, particularly as it relates to social, religious and political systems.
  7. Gender and Sexuality – offers an opportunity to reflect on how interiors shape us and we shape them through an analysis of intentional and unintentional design decisions when it comes to defining, supporting or perhaps suppressing the concepts of man and woman.
  8. The Interior in the Arts – looks at the interior in various art forms in order to articulate its significance as a cultural artefact embedded with meaning.

Contributors are invited to submit a preliminary 500-word abstract related to one of the above themes, together with a short biography.

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST should be received by Friday 24 February, 2017 include the following: Name, organisation and industry, 500 word abstract, short biography.

Submit to: mark.taylor@newcastle.edu.au

Writing and production schedule

  • 24 February 2017: 500-word chapter proposal abstract via email: mark.taylor@newcastle.edu.au
  • 15 March 2017: Selected chapters announced
  • 1 October 2017: Draft chapters submitted: 10,000 words + 5-6 images
  • 1 December 2017: Revisions advice issued
  • 1 March 2018 final chapters

Mark Taylor (University of Newcastle, AUS)

Mark Taylor is Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and has a PhD in Architecture from the University of Queensland, Australia. Mark is an editorial advisor to Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture and regularly reviews papers and book manuscripts for international publishers. His writing on the interior have been widely published in journals, and book chapters are included in Diagrams of Architecture (2010), Performance Fashion and the Modern Interior (2011), Domestic Interiors: Representing Homes from the Victorians to the Moderns (2013), The Handbook of Interior Design (2013) and Oriental Interiors (2015). He has authored and edited several books including Surface Consciousness (2003), Intimus: Interior Design Theory Reader (2006), editor of the four volume anthology Interior Design and Architecture: Critical and Primary Sources (2013), and Designs on Home: the Modern French Interior and Mass Media (2015). He is currently completing FLOW: Between Interior and Landscape (2017).