His work explores media history, design, semiotics, communication technologies, and aesthetics with a regional focus of the Middle East and Africa. Dr. Osborn is currently engaged in a number of research projects across a variety of media:
- Text – His manuscript Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design (Harvard University Press, 2017) is a cultural and technical study of Arabic script and typography.
- Video – He produced and edited “Glitter Dust: Finding Art in Dubai,” a documentary feature, which premiered at the 2012 Gulf Film Festival in the United Arab Emirates. The film combines HD video and animation to examine the contemporary art scene in Dubai.
- Interface Design – He designs, programs, and builds interactive “unmixing” terminals that elucidate contemporary African artworks. This work contributes to an ongoing "African Art Reframed" research project.
- Curatorial – He moderates the “Diagrammatica Project” as a study of communication and information design. The project collects significant diagrams as models of visual and spatial reasoning.
Dr. Osborn co-directs Georgetown's Technology Design Studio. His courses frequently combine hands-on production projects with theoretical and traditional scholarship. In the past, Professor Osborn has taught and studied in Jordan, Yemen, Turkey, Mexico, Zimbabwe, the U.A.E, and Switzerland.