As an academic leader, designer, researcher and author I have promoted an interdisciplinary approach to the creative arts and industries. Originally trained as a car designer at Coventry University, I have worked and taught across a range of design disciplines over the past 20 years.
In my current role as Head of the School of Design at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), I have developed an innovative new curriculum and integrated UG/PG suite of programmes, introducing new management, quality assurance, staff development and student assessment procedures.
In 2017 I undertook the additional responsibility of Acting Director of the institution, overseeing the management of the institution’s resources, HEA compact compliance, academic direction, finances and governance in a caretaker capacity.
I have extensive experience of successfully developing and delivering major policy, infrastructure and public engagement initiatives. As Programme Director of Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) for the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), I successfully devised and delivered a major government-backed €5 million programme that exceeded all targets and established a platform for the continued development of design in Ireland.
A former Head of Design & Applied Arts at Edinburgh College of Art, I have taught and managed at institutions across the globe including being Deputy Head of the School of Textiles and Design at Heriot-Watt University, Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, Course Director at University of Dundee and teaching at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. I have been an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, a Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University and Aston University, and Director of Design Research at UCD.
I have been awarded and managed over €1 million of national and European research funding since 2012 – successfully identifying new funding opportunities and building sustainable project teams. I have considerable experience of authoring and managing funding grants alongside the development of innovative research, commercialisation and educational strategies – much of which is reliant on establishing collaborative networks across the private and public sector, government, academia and industry.
I am an active design researcher and practitioner, and I have written a number of books including ‘Product Design’ (Laurence King, 2011) and ‘Research Methods for Product Design’ (Laurence King, 2013). My most recent book ‘Irish Design 2015 – Making Design Matter’ was published by DCCoI in 2016. I was the conference chair for the 2013 Cumulus Conference, and I am a reviewer for ‘Iterations’, ‘The Design Journal’ and the Design Research Society. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Institute of Designers Ireland. My current research addresses the development of design policy and strategy, and draws upon my work with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and membership of the National Design Forum.
As a Fellow of the Institute of Designers in Ireland, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Design Museum ‘Designs of the Year’ Nominator, editorial board member of ‘Iterations’ and reviewer for ‘The Design Journal’ and ‘Design Principles and Practices: an International Journal’, I am actively engaged in the international design discourse.
I have, throughout my career, advocated for the pivotal and dynamic potential of creativity – be that through curriculum innovation, cultural interventions or policy development. I see creative education as having the power to build a platform for change in the wider economic, political and social context.