Other projects

Reviewing and chairing

I am a peer reviewer for:

  • Craft Research journal (2014-)
  • Future Crafts strand of In This Place, Cumulus conference at Nottingham Trent University (2016)
  • Research Through Design conference (2017)
  • Culture Costume and Dress conference, Birmingham City University (2017)

I have chaired panels and conference sessions at:

  • Circular Transitions conference, University of the Arts London (2016)
  • AlgoMech festival research symposium (2016) - panel on maker culture [watch video]

Design Routes

From 2014 to 2016 I worked as a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Leeds on Design Routes, a collaborative research project funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Design Routes aims to explore how design can make a meaningful contribution in developing and revitalising culturally significant designs, products and practices to make them relevant to the needs of people today. The research considers designs and products that are linked to particular places, employ traditional making processes or are embedded in local ways of life.

A central element of the research is the development of an accessible framework, built around a taxonomy of revitalisation strategies, to support key stakeholders engaged in revitalisation.

I led the development of the taxonomy through analysis of over 400 examples of revitalisation, examining the relationship of these examples to the traditions upon which they build. The taxonomy addresses diverse areas of interest in terms of revitalisation, from sustaining traditional practices through design to initiatives focusing on promotion, skills and enterprise.

A range of outputs are emerging from the Design Routes research. Our co-edited book, Design Roots: Local Products and Practices in a Globalized World, will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2017.

The Emperor's New Clothes

I was a member of the organising committee for The Emperor's New Clothes, an event which brought together the fashion and textiles community to discuss the multifaceted challenge of sustainability. It provided a space to discover forward-thinking ideas and initiatives, forge new connections, and have a frank debate about the scale and pace of change in the industry.

The conference was organised by researchers from the School of Design at the University of Leeds and hosted speakers and attendees from a diverse range of backgrounds: industry and academia, design and technology, micro enterprises and industrial giants.

Taking inspiration from the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes and the little boy who points out what no-one else dares to admit, the conference aimed to offer an open platform for discussion. It enabled participants to explore points of difference, challenge myths and preconceptions, and consider alternative approaches for a more sustainable fashion and textiles future.

Curious Encounters

In 2014/15, I collaborated with other early career researchers in the faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Music at the University of Leeds to run a skills development project focused on public engagement, funded by the university's LEAP Skills Hub.

The project kicked off with two workshops for PhD students and early career researchers. The workshops were followed by a pilot public engagement activity involving researchers from four schools within the university. Together, we developed the concept for Curious Encounters, an interactive pop-up exhibition through which we showcased our research and connected with people outside the university.

The event took place at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery in February 2015. Further details about the event and the project as a whole are available here.

Three conversations

In May 2014 I collaborated with David Gauntlett on a series of three blog posts, discussing our shared interests in making, design and creativity. These conversations were posted on our respective blogs at davidgauntlett.com and keepandshare.co.uk.

The three posts in the series are #1, ‘On design, and systems’, #2, ‘On sustainability’, and #3, ‘On small steps’. In June 2014, I created three infographics to summarise these conversations, which can be found here. We later transformed the posts into an article for the academic journal Conjunctions, which can be accessed here.

David Gauntlett is well-known in the world of making for his fantastic book, Making is Connecting: the social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0. He is a Professor in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design, and Co-Director of the Communications and Media Research Institute, at the University of Westminster. David's teaching and research is about self-initiated everyday creativity, and cultures of making and sharing.

In spring 2015 we collaborated on a keynote 'provocation' at the Research Through Design conference, and jointly presented a talk and workshop at the University of DundeeWe have also worked together on projects about creative research methods and digital transformations (more details below).

Wardrobe project

In autumn 2013, I was invited to be a guest blogger for New York-based 'curated fashion eco-mmunity' ReFashioner. In my guest blog posts, I described a personal project which grew out of my PhD research. This Wardrobe Project involved reviewing the contents of my wardrobe, repairing or reworking items in need of rejuvenation, and trying to ‘design’ ways of wearing more of this treasured collection of pieces I’ve gathered over the years. 

You can find links to my ReFashioner posts on my blog here.

Creative research methods

While I was a PhD student at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, I successfully applied for AHRC Collaborative Skills Development funding for a project on creative research methods, in association with Professor David Gauntlett at the University of Westminster. I then led the project, working in collaboration with David and colleagues from both universities.

The project involved two interdisciplinary academic workshops in summer 2013, attended by over fifty researchers from 28 institutions, and the creation of a case study resource. 

More details can be found on the project website.

Research residency at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

In spring 2013 I took part in the Knowledge Exchange in Design scheme, undertaking a research residency at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. I worked with the Applied Art curators to consult with visitors about the forthcoming redevelopment of the Applied Art ceramics displays in the museum's Industrial Gallery.

I proposed to use creative research methods as a consultation tool, and together we developed the idea of 'The Curation Game': a participatory drop-in activity where visitors are invited to select five items from a collection of twenty ceramic objects, and to create their own display. By analysing the comments that visitors made as they created their displays, I was able to write a report for the museum drawing out interesting themes, ideas and suggestions, and including a number of practical recommendations for the redisplay.

My project is profiled in this short film about the Knowledge Exchange in Design scheme:

Digital Transformations

In 2012 I attended a series of workshops run as part of an AHRC-funded project, led by David Gauntlett, exploring digital transformations in the creative relationships between cultural and media organisations and their users. I became a Fellow of the project, contributing two guest blog posts and speaking at the final event