Natalie WrightGraduate Student


Natalie Wright is a PhD student in Design History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her doctoral research uncovers the long overlooked history of clothing designs by, with, and for users with disabilities. It traces how garment designs have been made to either control or accommodate the wearer’s physical and cognitive development and argues that clothing is a lens into beliefs around normative development. Using a case study approach, Wright examines pivotal moments in discourses and design around disability that open up broader questions about meanings of dependence and independence at the core of American history.

Education and Relevant Experience

Prior to joining UW–Madison, Wright was the Charles Hummel Curatorial Fellow at The Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she collaboratively curated a wide variety of exhibits including Functional Fashions (Milwaukee Art Museum), Apartment 4: Iris Häussler and The Chipstone Foundation (John Michael Kohler Arts Center), Florence Eiseman: Designing Childhood for the American Century (Museum of Wisconsin Art), and Mrs. M.—–s Cabinet (Milwaukee Art Museum).

Wright completed her MA at the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture (2015) and her BA at the University of Toronto (2013). Presently she is the Jane Graff Fellow in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Wright has lectured and published widely on connections between the material world and the body.

Awards and Recognitions

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Coco Kim Scholarship, Society of Winterthur Fellows, 2014

Professor Banerje Prize, University of Toronto, 2013

Trinity College Chancellor’s Scholarship, University of Toronto, 2012

Selected writing

“Required Reading: This week, the Venice Biennale opens, the end of the American century, fashions for disabled individuals, the art of Devan Shimoyama, and more,” Hyperallergic, May 12, 2019


  • Design Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Design Studies