Clive Dilnot is professor of design studies in the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons The New School for Design, which he joined in 2002 as Senior Associate Dean in Academic Affairs. Previously, he was professor of design studies and Director of Design Initiatives at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and taught at Harvard University and at universities and colleges in England, Hong Kong, and Australia. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Technology, Sydney; the University of Illinois, Chicago; and Rhode Island School of Design. He has lectured, given keynote addresses, and acted as visiting critic at universities worldwide.
Originally educated as a fine artist, Dilnot later began studying social philosophy and the sociology of culture with Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. Dilnot has worked on the history, theory, and criticism of the visual arts in their broadest terms. Although his teaching and writing has focused on design history, criticism, and theory, Dilnot’s scholarship includes the study of ethics—a subject he addressed in his book Ethics? Design?, published in 2005—and the role of design capabilities in creating a humane world.
Apart from design topics, Dilnot has also written and taught in fields ranging from aesthetics and art theory to photography, the decorative arts, museums and their framing of objects, architecture and architectural theory, the economics of the current crisis, and the question of how we can contend, culturally, with the world we have made.