A blog about design at the OU.

  • Celebrating the diversity of research in the built environment

    Celebrating the diversity of research in the built environment

    A few months ago I took part in a ‘video challenge’ being run by the international, open access journal, Buildings & Cities. The challenge was for PhD students and those who had recently completed their PhDs to explain ‘why their research matters’ in a two minute video aimed at a general audience. The purpose of […]

  • Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering

    Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering

    Engineering is still far from reaching gender equality. In 2020 only about 15% of engineers were women in the UK (Women’s Engineering Society, 2022). Design is in a slightly better position with 22% of female designers in the workforce (Design Council, 2023). The design sectors with the highest numbers of female staff also have the […]

  • Tom Karen

    Tom Karen

    Letchworth Garden City Museum has been hosting an exhibition of the work of designer Tom Karen over the past year. It is still on show and worth a visit. Sadly, Tom Karen died recently, aged 96. This exhibition is a chance to catch up on a lifetime of designing. Many iconic contributions came from his […]

  • Calculating your carbon footprint

    Calculating your carbon footprint

    Earlier in 2022 I was asked to produce some material for OpenLearn on carbon footprints as part of the OU’s Carbon Literacy training and the Digital Transformation project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The OpenLearn article is at: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/calculating-your-carbon-footprint After discussing what is meant by a carbon footprint and ‘net zero’, […]

  • Designing Intelligent Mobility

    Designing Intelligent Mobility

      This week I received a long-awaited early Christmas present. My Design Group colleagues, Matthew Cook, Miguel Valdez, James Warren and I had written a chapter entitled Towards an Intelligent Mobility Regime in the second edition of the Elsevier book Intelligent Environments.  As often happens for a major internationally co-authored publication, this has been almost […]

  • The inclusive design studio

    The inclusive design studio

    I have been fortunate to experience diverse studio-based education approaches in different parts of the world and in different modes (hybrid, virtual, community-based, etc.). I position myself as a design education scholar with a particular interest in diversity and the socio-cultural contexts of designing. As a Senior Lecturer in Design at the Open University, I design online studios and […]

  • The Secret Genius of Modern Life

    The Secret Genius of Modern Life

    Members of the the Design Group have been working on an OU / BBC co-production called The Secret Genius of Modern Life, a series that uncovers the secrets behind the miraculous technologies of the modern world, revealing the mind-blowing stories behind their invention. Derek Jones and David Sharp were the academic consultants and it’s probably […]

  • Celebrating our Gurnos

    Celebrating our Gurnos

    On a lovely sunny Saturday at the end of September, people on the outskirts of Merthyr got together to celebrate the place and community of Gurnos. The celebration was the outcome of several activities in partnership with the Open University in Wales as part of two different projects: the Creu Cyffro Community Renewal Funded project, […]

  • Every city needs a Supergarden!

    Every city needs a Supergarden!

    During the last weeks of summer, hot on the athletic heels of the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham burst into flower with the arrival of a spectacular supergarden. PoliNations, a celebration of Birmingham’s diverse population, wove an exploration of the city’s cultural heritage with that of the plants that adorn and breath oxygen into its gardens, conceived […]

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