Category: Design comment

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • My Design@50 Research story

    My Design@50 Research story

    Last month, Jeff Johnson and I were interviewed in the online event OU Design Research @50. In the discussion, ably steered by Claudia Eckert, Jeff and I reflected on how design research has developed at the OU and what is distinctive about the OU’s design research approach. I thought for this blog it might be useful […]

  • Radical Acts

    Radical Acts

    An exhibition currently on at Harewood House in Yorkshire, bears the title “Radical Acts”. This grand stately home, surrounded by gardens and an estate, was built on money from West Indian sugar plantations and was, as information around the house freely admits, bought on the backs of slaves. Indeed in 2021 the black actor, David […]

  • The body as an artwork – the body as a community experience

    The body as an artwork – the body as a community experience

    Once again, it is a novelty experience to go to a physical exhibition. No other exhibition could have been more appropriate than Daniel Lismore’s “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” (what a title!). The focus in the exhibition is on the body, more precisely on Daniel’s body as an artwork, but the bodily experience […]

  • Creativity, Rituality and Sustainable Development: A Case Study from the Global South

    Creativity, Rituality and Sustainable Development: A Case Study from the Global South

    Introduction   A few years ago, while researching the persistence of traditional creative practices in Nepal, I heard about the Janakpur Women Development Centre, an NGO in Southern Nepal, where local women work on the preservation and re-use of traditional patterns and imagery used in agricultural rituals. The NGO aims to improve the quality of […]

  • What did YOU do in the War (against Covid19)? Engaging a response to the covid pandemic through visual communication.

    What did YOU do in the War (against Covid19)? Engaging a response to the covid pandemic through visual communication.

    It seems we might just, finally, be starting to win our battle against the scourge of covid. In fighting an invisible enemy that has had such a devastatingly tangible impact, it is not surprising that the rhetoric has sometimes carried metaphors of war. COBRA meetings in Whitehall and the Queen urging the country to remain […]