Dawn Correia, a PhD candidate in the School of Art and Design here at Lincoln, presented work-in-progress on 12 March. Dawn’s PhD focuses in particular on the kaleidoscope designs of the natural philosopher and inventor Sir David Brewster (1781–1868), whose own intentions for a primarily scientific use of the kaleidoscope were eclipsed by its popularity as a toy and fashionable amusement. Utilising often neglected sources, including patents and scientific treatises, and high-profile collections of kaleidoscopes at the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford, the University of Exeter, and the Whipple Museum of the History of Science at Cambridge, Dawn traced historical, material, and theoretical contexts for the kaleidoscope in the period.
In addition to her doctoral work, Dawn is an artist-practitioner. Since 2010, her design practice has embraced her historical research into optical philosophical instruments; this is expressed through her creation of optical mixed-media small-scale sculptural pieces using ceramics, glass, and wood.