His research interests include the use of representations in design (particularly digital representations, sketches and sketch models), generative design and distance design education. He was Director of the international Drawing Research Network 2001-11, Principal Investigator on the JISC-funded project ATELIER-D (2008-10) and the Leverhulme-funded project Designing with Vision (2009-11). In 2008 Intellect published his edited collection 'Writing on Drawing'. He is currently preparing 'Design and Designing: A Critical Introduction' a 350-page edited collection to be published by Berg in Spring 2012.
Phone: +44 (0)1908 655784
Fax: +44 (0)1908 653858
Room: N2049, Venables building
Selected recent publications
Jowers I, Prats M, McKay A and Garner S (2011) Design exploration with useless rules and eye tracking, International Conference of Engineering Design (ICED), 15-18 August, Copenhagen, Denmark (accepted).
Jowers I, Prats M, Pedreira N, McKay A and Garner S (2011) Supporting shape reinterpretation with eye tracking, Computer Aided Architectural Design in Asia (CAADRIA), 27-30 April, Newcastle, Australia.
Birkett S, Lloyd P and Garner S (2011) Education to practice: the development of responsibility in product designers, Int. Journal of Design Research, Vol.9, No.2, pp131-145.
Prats M, Jowers I, Pedreira N, Garner S and McKay A (2010) Interpretation of Geometric Shapes – An Eye Movement Study, Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications (ETRA), 22-24 March, Austin, Texas, USA.
Hart J, Zamenopoulos T and Garner S (2010) The Learningscape of a Virtual Design Atelier, in Proc of the 8th eLearning@Greenwich conference, University of Greenwich, UK, July 2010.
Schadewitz N, Garner S and Hart J (2010) 'Design learning futures: Principles and practices of design studio education in the 21st century', Proc. 6th Swiss Design Network conference Negotiating futures - Design fiction, Basle, 29-30 October.
McKay A, Chase S, Garner S, Jowers I, Prats M, Hogg DC, Chau, HH, de Pennington A, Earl CF and Lim S. (2009) 'Design synthesis and shape generation', in Inns, T. (Ed.): Designing for the 21st Century-Volume 2: Interdisciplinary Methods and Findings, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1409402401, 978, pp304-321.
Prats M and Garner S (2009) Making meaning: developing an understanding of form in distance design education, Design and Semantics of Form and Movement (DeSForM '09), 26-27 October, Taipei, Taiwan.
Birkett S, Lloyd P and Garner S (2009) 'The Development of Responsibility in Product Designers', in Proceedings of International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR09) conference, COEX Centre, October, Seoul, South Korea.
Prats M, Lim S, Jowers I, Garner S and Chase S (2009) Transforming shape in design: Observations from studies of sketching. Design Studies, Vol 30, No5, September, pp503-520.
Garner S (2008) Writing on Drawing: Essays on drawing practice and research, Edited collection of original papers, Intellect Books & NSEAD, Oct., ISBN 9781-8415-0200-7.
(From Dec 2009, Chicago University Press. ISBN 1841-5020-07).
Garner S & Evans C (Eds) Design and Designing: A Critical Introduction. Undergraduate reader (pp350) to be published by Berg in Spring 2012.
Open University publications
Garner S 'An introduction to design and designing', Block 1, T211 Design and Designing, 2004
Garner S & Earl C 'Detail design and manufacture' Block 5, T211 Design and Designing, 2004
Garner S 'Case studies of design and designing', Block 6, T211 Design and Designing, 2004
Garner S 'Modelling workbook', T211 Design and Designing, 2004
Current and recent projects
ARCHI21: EU funding for design and language learning
Members of the Design group have secured new funding from the EU Lifelong Learning programme (Key Activity 2: Languages) for a project titled ARCHI 21 - Architectural and design based education and practice through content & language integrated learning using immersive virtual environments for 21st century skills.
Steve Garner, Theo Zamenopoulos, Georgy Holden, Katerina Alexiou and Nicole Schadewitz are co-investigators on the ARCHI 21 project which involves six EU partner universities in a project to explore the application of new technologies to language learning and teaching in design – particularly architecture education.
ARCHI 21 is a two-year project worth a total of 400K Euros. The research, which began in November 2010, builds on the foundation established by the JISC-funded ATELIER-D project between 2008 and 2010.
Steve Garner is the PI on this two-year project, funded by The Leverhume Trust, that began in May 2009. ‘Designing with Vision’ is worth £196k and employs post-docs Miquel Prats and Iestyn Jowers. Alison McKay, Professor of Design Systems at Leeds University is the co-investigator.
The project uses eye tracking technology to identify participant interest in emerging sketch designs. Using a design shape computation tool (developed in a previous project funded by the AHRC - see DSSG below) in conjunction with eye tracking the system will use data on points of interest to offer designers variations on their preferred images as an aid to shape creation.
Given that much current commercial design concerns the definitions of product variations, knowledge from this project will also enable the automation of the process of generating product ‘families’ through shape conjecture.
Steve Garner was the PI on this JISC-funded two-year JISC-funded project at the Open University titled Achieving Transformation, Enhanced Learning and Innovation through Educational Resources in Design (ATELIER-D). Value £180k. It ran from Nov 2008 to Dec 2010.
Writing on Drawing - Essays on drawing practice and research
The Drawing Research Network
Steve Garner is the Director of the Drawing Research Network (DRN), an international network of 500 academics, students and practitioners interested in drawing research, education and practice. This was established in 2001. www.drawing-research-network.org.uk.
The 2010 DRN conference ‘Observation:Mapping:Dialogue’ took place on 14 September 2010 at the University of Brighton. The Keynote presentation was given by Professor Deanna Petherbridge. www.drawing-research-network.org.uk/category/events-and-exhibitions/drn-conference-2010/
The 2009 DRN conference 'Thinking through Drawing' took place on 8 October 2009 at the Cochrane Theatre, Southampton Row, London. This was in collaboration with The Campaign for Drawing www.campaignfordrawing.org.uk and it formed part of the wider conference 'Drawing for Learning, Engagement and Enjoyment'. See the following links for more details.
Teaching materials on 'People-centred designing'.
Also, studies of online collaborative design with OU students (with Giselle Ferreira 2008).
Steve Garner was a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project Design Synthesis and Shape Generation (Programme: Designing for the 21st Century) between April 07 and July 08 (value £319k). The project was led by Leeds University and involved staff from Strathclyde as well as the OU. The project explored how designers generate shapes and how shape computation systems might augment designers without impinging upon their creativity. An experimental prototype shape computation system was constructed and it can be downloaded from the following website:
FabLab - Rapid Fabrication Laboratory
The FabLab was established in the Department in October 2005. It includes rapid prototyping tools and various computing equipment (more here). One PhD studentship (Gareth Paterson) was associated with the Lab between 2005 and 2009.
CV and Affiliations
Joined The Open University in March 2000. Current title Professor of Design and leader of the Design Group.
1984-2000 Lecturer, Loughborough University. 1998-2000 Programme Leader, BA/BSc Industrial Design and Technology, Loughborough University.
Director, Drawing Research Network (2001-
Member, Design Research Society
Member, DRS Special Interest Goup 'Design Pedagogy' (2009-
Member, Education Advisory Board: Campaign for Drawing (2001-04)
Co-Editor, ‘TRACEY’, an electronic journal of drawing research
Member, National Society for Education in Art and Design (1987-
Open University Validation Services
Steve Garner chaired the OU validation panel for three BA Honours programmes (3D Design, Fine Art and Fashion) at Havering College of Further and Higher Education, Essex on 24.5.07 and the re-validation of 3D Design and Fine Art on 29.4.08. Final assessment 30.4.09.
Journals: Design Sudies, J of Design Research, Co-Design, IJADC in HE, Design Journal, Curriculum Journal, IJTDE, Tracey.
Research Councils: AHRC 04, 06
Conferences: DRS 08, AIEDAM 09, DRN.
PhD external examiner, Loughborough University School of Art and Design, 2009, Rachel Morris, 'Emotionalism within Furniture Design'.
PhD external examiner, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University, 2008, Rafael Lacruz-Rengel, 'A theory of reference for product design: the semantics of consumer products'.
PhD external examiner, Dept. of Education, University of Bath, 2007, Kin Wai Michael Siu, 'Need Identification: A critical and fundamental element in the design process'.
PhD external examiner, School of Design, Coventry University, 2002
PhD external examiner, School of Design, Coventry University, 1999
PhD internal examiner, Dept. of Computer Studies, Loughborough, 1998
M.Phil internal examiner, Dept. of Computer Studies, Loughborough, 1992
External Postgraduate Examining
MSc ‘Product Design Innovation’ & MSc ‘Product Design Enterprise’, Aston University, 2007-10
MA ‘Drawing as Process’, Kingston University, 2002-05
MA/MSc ‘Innovation’, Huddersfield University, 2002-05
MA 'Art and Design Education', University of Bedfordshire, 2005-08
External Undergraduate Examining
BA/BSc Industrial/Product Design, Luton University, 1999-02
BA Design and Technology, Goldsmiths College (Univ. of London), 1993-96
BA Design, DeMontfort University, 1989-93
BA Design & Technology, King Alfred’s College, Winchester, 1991-94
Iestyn Jowers (ft), co-supervised with Prof Chris Earl. Awarded PhD, Dec 2006, Computation with curved shapes: Towards freeform shape generation in design.
Miquel Prats (ft), co-supervised with Prof Chris Earl. Awarded PhD, Feb 2007, Shape exploration in product design: Assisting transformation in pictorial representations.
Gareth Paterson (ft), co-supervised with Prof Chris Earl. Awarded PhD, June 2009). 'Form generation in digital design'.
Stacey Birkett (ft), co-supervised with Peter Lloyd. Awarded PhD, Sept 2010, 'The development of responsibility in product designers'.
Debi Wynn (pt), co-supervised with Prof Frank Banks (2007-12). Research topic: Developing creative thinkers through the school technology curriculum.
Karl Jeffries (pt), co-supervised with Dr Alison Green, Psychology (2010-). Research topic: Education for the creative industries.
Course Team Chair for T211 Design and Designing (2002-09)
Production course member of:
U101 Design Thinking: Creativity for the 21st Century (in production)
OU committee membership
Design and Engineering Programme Committee (2011-)
Academic Staff Promotions and Rewards Advisory Group (2008-09)
Undergraduate Technologies Programme Committee (2007-10)
Learning, Teaching and Student Support committee (2005-07
BSc (Hons) Technology Degree Board (2005-07)
Page Last Updated: 31 May 2011