A blog about design at the OU.

  • 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 […]

  • U101 – A Triumphant Return to Face-Face Tutorials

    U101 – A Triumphant Return to Face-Face Tutorials

    Module U101: Design Thinking in the 21st Century, has always had, since its launch in 2010, a tradition of running face to face tutorials (day schools) to augment the online module delivery and tutorials. While the student attendance at these events had seen a gradual decline in recent years, nevertheless, from those that did regularly […]

  • Governing sustainable urban innovation: navigating the generic and specific.

    Governing sustainable urban innovation: navigating the generic and specific.

    In many UK towns and cities the search for responses to climate change is framed by extant urban fabrics and thus favour incumbent technologies and actors associated with these.  For example, road networks which favour motorised vehicles have almost inevitably directed sustainable transport innovation toward electric vehicles produced by established vehicle manufacturers.  Indeed, rendering transport […]

  • John Christopher Jones: In Memoriam – by Nigel Cross

    John Christopher Jones: In Memoriam – by Nigel Cross

    The first Professor of Design at the Open University, the pioneering, internationally renowned and influential design researcher John Christopher Jones died on the 13th August 2022, in London, at the age of 95.  John Chris at his 80th birthday party, Hampstead Heath and at the 50th Anniversary DRS conference, Brighton, 2016 (Photos: Robin Roy) Known […]

  • Design@50 – Design in a Time of Climate Emergency

    Design@50 – Design in a Time of Climate Emergency

    The latest Design@50 event focused on the topic Design in a Time of Climate Emergency, featuring reflections and discussion between Prof Stephen Peake, Dr Emma Dewberry, Dr Alessandra Campoli and Dr Derek Jones. The event also featured archive footage from the first Open University course that introduced design, connecting it to far broader issues around […]

  • Walking the memory lane to gain design inspirations

    Walking the memory lane to gain design inspirations

    Design education at the OU encourages students to draw inspiration from everyday experiences. I learned this week that revisiting the history of your lived experiences is also an excellent source for design inspiration. I grew up in Magdeburg in former East Germany, in a newly build neighbourhood in the 1980’s. In 2022, I returned to […]

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