She graduated in Art History from the University of Warsaw and in Philosophy and Sociology from the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 2015 she gained a PhD in humanities in the field of ethnology. She works as an assistant professor of the history and theory of design at the Faculty of Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In the past, she collaborated with the School of Form in Poznań and with the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology in Warsaw. Szydłowska was also a co-author (together with Monika Rosińska) of the postgraduate course Design History and Criticism at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw. In 2013, she was a laureate of the grant programme “Młoda Polska” (Young Poland) of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
In 2013, she published a book with interviews with Polish graphic designers entitled Miliard rzeczy dookoła. Agata Szydłowska rozmawia z polskimi projektantami graficznymi (editor’s translation: A Billion Things Around Us. Agata Szydłowska Interviews Polish Graphic Designers), published by Karakter.
Two years later, the same publishing house released a book she wrote with Marian Misiak entitled Paneuropa, Kometa, Hel. Szkice z historii projektowania liter w Polsce (editor’s translation: Paneuropa, Kometa, Hel. Notes on Typography in Poland). It examines the history of typography in Poland in the context of political and social changes.
In 2018, the Ossolineum publishing house released a book version of her doctoral thesis under the title Od solidarycy do TypoPolo. Typografia a tożsamości zbiorowe w Polsce po roku 1989 (editor’s translation: From Solidaryca to TypoPolo. Typography and Collective Identities of Poland after 1989). It is a history of the latest social, cultural and political changes in Poland seen through a prism of fonts and typography.
Agata Szydłowska is also one of the authors (together with Ewa Solarz and Agnieszka Kowalska) of Ilustrowany Elementarz Polskiego Dizajnu (editor’s translation: The Illustrated Book of Polish Design) (publishers: Wytwórnia, Culture.pl) which, by means of illustrations and short descriptions, tells the youngest readers the story of their native design.
She is also an author of many articles which she has had published in magazines such as 2+3D, Monitor Magazine, Progetto Grafico, Slanted, Notes na 6 Tygodni, Kultura Współczesna, Kultura Popularna, Design and Culture as well as in exhibition catalogues, anthologies and collaborative publications.
As a curator, Agata Szydłowska has organized design exhibitions in Poland as well as outside the country. In 2014, during the Tokyo Designers Week in Japan, together with Aleksandra Ubukata and Aureliusz Kowalczyk, she staged +48 Social Club exhibition presenting Polish design, including graphic art, illustration and product design (co-organiser of the project: Culture.pl). In 2017, with Monika Rosińska, she created ZOEpolis. Design for Plants and Animals (in galeria Dizajn BWA Wrocław ) – an exhibition devoted to the reflection on design beyond anthropocentrism. The exhibition is co-financed by National Programme for the Development of the Humanities, as a part of a project entitled Cartographies of Strangeness, Otherness, and (Ex)(in)clusion. The Perspective of Contemporary Philosophy and Art.
Translated by Magdalena Majkowska, February 2019