Students & supervisors

Sue Walker‘We believe our doctoral researchers will become confident in tackling real-world problems through working in teams that cross traditional subject disciplines. By studying the history, theory and practice of design, they will be able to carry out the very best kind of research – that which leads to improvements in the ways we live our lives every day.’
Professor Sue Walker, Design Star Director, University of Reading.

Design Star students 2016/17

Joanne Pilcher Cultural Appropriation: Oral Histories of Contemporary Australian Textile Designers and Makers (1988- Present)

Niall Sloane A masterless apprenticeship: making learning methods for non-designer participation in contemporary design and production

Suzanne Rowland The rise of the fashionable, ready-made blouse in Britain, 1909-1919: The developmental relationship between a commodity and its networks within design, technology and business

Elli Young Fashioning An Independent Jamaica 1950 – 1975

Mike Thompson The act of making: Research theatre and public forms of knowing

Anna Williams Designing the future? How can speculation play a role in improving foresight for science and technology policy making

Tim Miller Re-scripting Organisations: Inventing the Designer-in-Residence

Liam Healy Empirical Speculation and Urban Disasters:
Prototyping Futures in The Jungle

Rui Leitão Gamification and Ocean Literacy in early Secondary Education

Marije de Haas A dignified end-of-life plan for Alzheimer’s patients

Rachel Warner The impact of typographic and graphic arrangements on facilitating shared decision-making for elderly care

Ferdinand Ulrich The interaction between changing design processes, technologies, distribution models and production of type in the digital era

Borna Izadpanah Typesetting Persian books and newspapers: the tensions between traditionalism, modernity, and perceptions of national identity

Design Star students 2015/16

Riccardo Olocco Redefining 15th-century Venetian romans

Elena Papassissa Armenian typefaces from 1840 to the present: traditionalism, Latinisation, and the search for identity through changing technologies

Elizabeth Tregenza Not just copying: Frederick Starke and British Ready-to-Wear 1934-1968

Giovanni Marmont Politics of userness and alterations in everyday practice: interacting with furniture as performative tactics

Sarah Pennington Curating issues of concern: mediating critically engaged design.

Tom Keene The housing database made visible: Regenerative politics, participation and design.

Katarina Dimitrijevic Transgressing plastic waste: Designedisposal strategic scenarios

Jonathan Gay Information Design and Visuocognition: The role of information design in relation to medical information visualization, and the case for an alternative graphic representation to the electrocardiogram.

Alessia Cadamuro Co-design, the hidden language: an investigation of designer and non-designer dialogue within the development of enablining technologies and services for people with Autism and verbal communication difficulties.

Charlotte Foster Video production in the social welfare charity sector – processes, narrative and ethics

Victor Jeganthan A critical evaluation of interaction design and technology to facilitate a digital assistive device for visually impaired runners.

Ruby Allen Applying creative participatory methods to co-design smart products for people living with dementia.

Our first Design Star cohort 2014/15

Jocelyn Bailey The politics of social design: how are the concepts and practices of social design challenged, compromised, extended or filtered by engagement with political structures?

Janet Aspley Hillbilly deluxe: rhinestone tailoring, country music and change in the American South 1947 – present

Jennifer Roberts First World War women munitions’ workers, their dress and the legacy of images in historical discourse

Matthew Plummer-Fernandez Making algorithms public: rendering visible the operations and politics of algorithmic systems through critical design

Olga Noronha An inquiry into how jewellery ‘becomes the body’

Charlotte Jais Human factors design for dementia care environments

Gionata Gatto The Plan-Bot, more-than-human socialities and the scientific construction of speculative facts: an exploration at the intersection between Plant Neurobiology and Speculative (Critical) Design (SCD)

Francesco Mazzarella Service design applied to artisans’ communities: an enabling ecosystem towards social innovation and sustainability

Marie Lefebvre Investigation of the commercial sustainable design and design for sustainable behaviour (DfSB) literature for practical application in the context of the circular economy

Charlotte Jais Human Factors Design for Dementia Care Environments

Helen McGilp The design process in fashion: an analysis of the methods used in recording, reviewing and articulating design development within the fashion industry

Tanveer Ahmed Fashioning Inequalities?

Marie Leahy In what ways might the modification of the design and content of illustrated books extend the reading life of people with early‐stage Alzheimer’s disease?

Andrew McIlwraith Creating better museum plans: an empirical approach to designing printed and digital museum plans that allow for a better visitor experience

David Brezina Structural analysis of text typefaces for selected world scripts: a systematic approach to stylistic consistency in multilingual environments

Peter Lloyd – University of Brighton


Design Star at Brighton is led by Peter Lloyd who is Professor of Design and Associate Editor for the journal Design Studies.  His research and teaching are in the areas of design process, design ethics, and design thinking. You can read Peter’s blog about Design here.

Jonathan Woodham – University of Brighton

Jonathan WoodhamProfessor Woodham publishes in a number of specialist fields largely centred on design issues in the industrialised world in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly within a British context. He developed the infrastructure for research in arts and humanities at the University as Director of Research and Development until 2015.

Cheryl Buckley – University of Brighton

Cheryl BuckleyProfessor of Fashion and Design History, Brighton University. Her research deals with the history of design in the twentieth century including fashion, ceramics, interiors and architecture. She has a particular expertise in design history and gender publishing. Since 1980 her work has dealt with the theme of transnationalism and the impact of émigrés in Britain and the USA. She is Visiting Professor in Design History for the MA Program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design at Parsons, The New School for Design | Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York. For more information see her web profile.

Alex Wilkie – Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Alex Wilkie is the Co-Director of the MPhil/PHD Programme in Design at Goldsmiths. Alex’s research interests lie at the intersections of the Science and Technology Studies (STS), interaction design and user-involvment in design practice.

Martin Conreen – Goldsmiths, University of London

Martin ConreenMartin Conreen is an artist and designer. He received his BA from Goldsmiths College in Fine Art/Sculpture in 1984. His interest in materials and making led him to work in numerous design fields, including silver-smithing, set building, furniture design and shoe making. Martin’s research has focused on new and emerging materials, crafts, material culture, contemporary art, and making/manufacturing. He currently has a growing interest in Rapid Prototyping/Manufacturing along with their materials and their relationship to digital technologies. In 2012 he became a cofounder and director with Dr Mark Miodownik and Dr Zoe Laughlin of the Institute of Making based at UCL (engineering department), a multidisciplinary research club for those interested in the made world.

Megha Rajguru – University of Brighton

Dr Megha Rajguru is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Art and Design at the University of Brighton. Her research is in South Asian design and material culture and museums in postcolonial contexts. Her particular focus is on ethnography and politics of development within design in postcolonial countries. For more information see her web profile

Tobie Kerridge – Goldsmiths, University of London

tobie-kerridge-2016 Tobie is committed to taking a collaborative and speculative approach to design, and in providing empirical and analytical accounts of practice. He has worked as a design researcher since 2003, with the Interaction Research Studio and as a Helen Hamlyn Research Associate, and is a Lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths where he leads MA Design Interaction. For more information, follow the links: Departmental webpage and Personal website.


Sharon Cook – Loughborough University

sharon-cookSharon is a Senior Lecturer at Loughborough Design School and ‘Understanding the user in real world design applications‘ is the fundamental underpinning to her research.  Sharon has worked on industry, government and European research projects and has achieved significant impact outputs. Her specialism within ergonomics relates to Inclusive Design with particular experience in the development of wearable simulations of ageing, disability and occupational health.  For more information, see her web profile.

Andrew May – Loughborough University

Andrew MayDr Andrew May is motivated by the challenge of applying and adapting scientific principles to user centred design of new technology and services. He has worked in many different domains, including automotive, construction, manufacturing, mobile (consumer and work), and emergency response. His current research projects are about (1) how ‘smart homes’ can help householders make decisions about energy saving, and (2) the phenomena of volunteered geographic data. For more information see his web profile.

Vicky Lofthouse – Loughborough University

Vicky LofthouseDr Vicky Lofthouse is a Senior Lecturer in the Design School at Loughborough University and leader of the Sustainable Design Research Group. She is an experienced researcher, lecturer and PhD supervisor.  Vicky takes a very practical approach to research and seeks to collaborate with companies to ensure that her research outputs are highly relevant and valuable. These collaborations have seen her work with a wide range of large and small organisations over the years. Her research interests include:

  • Understanding how to enable industrial design practitioners to engage in more responsible design
  • Helping companies integrate ecodesign into their product development process and sustainable design into their business practices.
  • Understanding how to raise awareness of the consideration of social issues in sustainable design education

Val Mitchell – Loughborough University

Val MitchellDr Val Mitchell  is a senior lecturer at Loughborough Design School and Programme Director for the Interaction Design MA. She specialises in User Centred Design (UCD) and in particular methods for eliciting user requirements for future technologies and services. She is particularly interested in the design and use of scenario and persona based methods within User Experience (UX)  and Service Design including the development of Participatory and Co-design methods. More information is on her web page.

Sue Hignett – Loughborough University

Sue Hignett is Professor of Healthcare Ergonomics & Patient Safety at Loughborough University (UK).  Over the last 30 years she has experienced the healthcare industry as a clinician, ergonomist, researcher and patient.  Her research looks at a wide range of human factors and ergonomics issues including hospital and ambulance design, medical device evaluation, staff wellbeing and an innovative approach to patient falls. Prof. Hignett is the Chair of the Education & Training panel at the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, and Editor for ‘Ergonomics’.  She is currently working with Health Education England and colleagues from the Chartered Institute on a series of workshops to raise awareness of Human Factors and Ergonomics in healthcare. More information on her web profile.

Debra Lilley – Loughborough University

Debra LilleyDebra Lilley works in the emerging field of research seeking to reduce the environmental and social impacts of products by moderating users’ interaction with them. She is currently Co-Investigator on CLEVER: Closed Loop Emotionally Valuable E-waste Recovery (EPSRC) and CORE: Creative Outreach for Resource Efficiency (EPSRC). Debra has extensive knowledge and experience of applying user-centred sustainable design methods and tools to generate behavioural insights to drive design development of less-resource intensive products. Her current research focuses on resource efficiency, design for the circular economy, design for sustainable behaviour, emotionally durable design and product lifespan extension. For more information see her web profile.

Carolina Escobar – Loughborough University

Carolina EscobarForward thinking Designer, Researcher, Lecturer & Facilitator. Sustainability, creativity, systemic thinking, and a pro-active mindset shape her role as a designer and citizen of the world. Carolina’s area of research sits within holistic sustainable design, social innovation and systemic thinking.  Her research looks at facilitating the transition towards more sustainable design practices by understanding better the design characteristics of products, services and systems that contribute to people’s happiness and sustainable lifestyles. She is particularly interested in uncovering grass-root opportunities that help people to innovate and shape more sustainable societies. For more information see her web profile.

Emma Dewberry – The Open University

Emma DewberryEmma’s broad research focus is Design for Sustainability. Her work in this area includes ecodesign strategies, product-service–systems, sustainable innovation, sustainable infrastructures and design education. She is currently developing the concept of design ecology as a means to seek out, and intervene in, the interconnected relationships across landscapes of design, at different scales of space and time. The aim of identifying these design interconnections (and chasms) is to locate new opportunities for creating sustainability. Emma welcomes doctoral research proposals on sustainable design, ecoliteracy, sustainable/social innovation, sustainable consumption, and sustainable urban infrastructure. For more information see her web profile.

Nicole Lotz – The Open University

Nicole LotzDr Nicole Lotz is a lecturer in design at the Open University. Her research interests include investigations of cultural factors, collaboration, learning and best practice in designing. She has worked on several funded projects in these areas and currently supervises two PhD students. She maintains several wikis on design patterns in Cross-cultural collaborationLearning designself-directed learning and a Cloudscape on design pedagogy. There is more information on her OU people profile.

Katerina Alexiou – The Open University

Katerina_AlexiouKaterina is a Lecturer in Design at The Open University. Her academic research falls in the area of design theory and methods and she has published articles in design cognition, collaborative design, learning, creativity, and social aspects of design. She also has a special interest in complexity science. Her most recent research activity is focussed on co-design and co-production with civil society organisations and communities engaged in place-making and creative civic action. For more information see her web profile.

Jeffrey Johnson – The Open University

Jeff JohnsonJeffrey Johnson is Professor of Complexity and Design at the Open University. His research interest is in the design, implementation and management of evolving complex socio-technical systems. This includes the formulation of new mathematical methods to model social systems in the context of policy and policy design. He is Deputy President of the UNESCO UniTwin Complex Systems Digital Campus (CS-DC) that federates 120+ universities worldwide to share resources in teaching and research. With CS-DC he has made MOOCs on Global Systems Science and Policy, and on Systems Thinking and Complexity. These stress the place of design thinking in planning and managing evolving multilevel complex socio-technical systems.

Theodore Zamenopoulos – The Open University

Theodore_ZamenopoulosTheodore Zamenopoulos is a Senior Lecturer in design at The Open University. He is a professional architect with an expertise on design cognition, community led design practices and complexity research. His research focuses on the conditions that foster design thinking in everyday life and empower people to develop their ideas into social innovations. He has been involved in a number of research projects around the themes of civic engagement in design and the empowerment of people through design. For more information see his web profile.

Sue Walker – University of Reading

Sue WalkerProfessor Sue Walker is Director of the AHRC-funded Design Star Centre for Doctoral Training, administered at Reading, working with colleagues at Brighton, Goldsmiths, Loughborough and the OU, and is a member of AHRC ‘Research Careers and Training Advisory Group’ network. Her research interests include analysis and description of graphic language, in particular the relationship between prescription and practice in everyday documents, typographic design for children and information design in public service. She supervises doctoral students on history and theory of typography and graphic communication, including Isotype, children’s books, and the graphic aspects of language.

Fiona Ross – University of Reading

Fiona Ross specialises in non-Latin type design and typography. Her research focuses on three strands: (1) non-Latin typeface design: theory, history, practice; (2) design approaches to multi-script typeface design; (3) the relationship of tools and typefounding methods to the visible appearance of non-Latin type forms. For more information see her web profile.

Eric Kindel – University of Reading

Eric KindelEric Kindel is Professor of Graphic Communication and head of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at Reading. His research takes in several areas: the graphic design of information, with an emphasis on aspects of Isotype; informal and alternative print methods, with a focus on the history of stencils and stencilling; and the inventive intersection of design and print production. For more information see his web profile.

Gerry Leonidas – University of Reading

Gerry LeonidasGerry is an Associate Professor in Typography at the University of Reading. He researches the practice of typeface design as a response to wider contexts, and a range of issues surrounding Greek typeface design and typography. He is active in developments in typographic education, and works extensively in the area between enterprise and academia. For more information see his web profile and his personal site.

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