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Dr Helena Chance BA (Hons); MA; DPhil (Oxford), FRSA

Dr Helena Chance
  • Research Reader

Professional experience

Before entering higher education full-time in 2010, I worked for many years as an Art Editor and Picture Researcher in book publishing in Oxford and London.  Between 1996 and 2010 I ran a small business, ‘Inside Oxford’, offering tailor made educational and cultural events and tours for professionals visiting Oxford and the Cotswolds. I combined my business activities with developing a teaching career, latterly at the Stanford University centre at Oxford and Bucks New University.

Grants and Awards

Wingate Scholarship 2008

Teaching and Research

Reader in the History and Theory of Design

Co-Leader Visual and Material Culture modules (VMC) with Dr. Ray Batchelor.

My research is the catalyst that shapes my teaching of the VMC Modules at Buckinghamshire New University, driving innovation in the curriculum, dynamic cross-disciplinary teaching and learning and improved results.

Scholarly interests

The history of cultural landscapes, the design and furnishing of public space, designed landscapes and health, the representation of designed landscapes in art, photography, advertising and branding and in virtual space.


The history and design of public landscapes in Britain and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; corporate landscape design from the 18th century to the present; the design and furnishing of public space; landscape architecture and therapeutic space; the history of industrial towns.

I have 20 years’ experience teaching in Further and Higher Education.  I also worked in the book publishing industry for 8 years and in Event Management for 10 years.

Visiting and Guest Lecturer Positions

Visiting Lecturer MSt History of Design, University of Oxford, 2011-present; Visiting Lecturer 20th Century Design course, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2012-14. Guest Lecturer: Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, 2007; The Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2007; Institute for Historical Research, University of London, 2008 and 2011; University of Bristol, 2009; The Oxford Architectural History Seminar, University of Oxford, 2013; Oxfordshire Gardens Trust 2011 and 2016.

Selected publications

‘The Angel in the Garden Suburb: Arcadian Allegory in the ‘Girls’ Grounds’ at the Cadbury factory, Bournville, England 1880-1930’ Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 27:3 2007, 197-216

‘Edith Wharton, interior design and gardens’ in Laura Rattray (ed.) Edith Wharton in Context (Cambridge University Press) 2012

‘Redefining space and place at work in Britain and America at the turn of the 19th century.’ Design History Annual Conference Website: ‘Design Activism and Social Change’

‘Mobilising the Modern Industrial Landscape for Sports and Leisure in Britain and the United States in the Early 20th Century’ The International Journal of the History of Sport, Vol. 29, No. 11, September 2012, pp. 1600-1625

‘The Public Setting’ in Claire O’Mahony (ed.) A Cultural History of Furniture in the Modern Age (Bloomsbury, 2017)

‘The Factory in a Garden’ A History of Corporate Landscapes from the Industrial to the Digital Age (Manchester University Press, 2017)