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News and Events
Peter Lloyd in the Press
Following the success of the Channel 4/Open University
programme 'The Secret Life of Buildings', which Peter Lloyd was
academic advisor for, articles continue to draw on the subjects that
were covered. This week The London Evening Standard published an
article on Open Plan Offices and Peter Lloyd was asked for a comment.
IED Award to Nigel Cross
In July, Nigel Cross was presented with a prestigious award by the Institution of Engineering Designers. The award was the Gerald Frewer Memorial Trophy, and was presented to Nigel by Sir George Cox, the IED President (see photo), at a lunch at the SS Great Britain site in Bristol. The Trophy is presented annually for outstanding contributions in the field of engineering design, design management, education and training or design philosophy. In Nigel's case it was for his contributions in design education and research. Previous awardees have included well-known designers such as Trevor Baylis, James Dyson, Jonathan Ive and Alex Moulton.
We have just been awarded a £200,000 research grant to participate in this project, which is to explore methods to manage new patterns of electricity demand and local electricity generation. Stephen Potter is leading the OU contribution to this, working with Western Power Distribution and the University of Bath on the knowledge dissemination and user engagement aspects of this major four year project. For details see the Low Carbon UK website and also the introductory podcast we have produced for the project.
Catherine Cooke Exhibition
An exhibition of the Soviet Design collection of the late Catherine Cooke has opened in Cambridge University Library and will run until April 2013. Catherine was a Lecturer in Design in our Department and she left her collection on Russian design and architecture to Cambridge University Library. For details of the exhibition, see the University of Cambridge Library website.
Business Users’ Electric Vehicles Workshop
As part of the Open University's support for the Milton Keynes Electric Vehicles project a Business Users' Electric Vehicle Workshop took place on Wednesday June 20th.
20 people from local employers and businesses supplying electric vehicles attended the workshop which was to facilitate information and experience exchange on helping organizations find the right information to make an investment decision on either vehicles or recharging infrastructure.
Participants also brought along five vehicles, which were eagerly examined after the wrkshop finished.
This workshop was one of a series of events being held locally as part of the EU-wide Sustainable Energy Week.
For details of future workshops please email Stephen Potter at email@example.com
Helen Sharp and Mark Woodroffe from the Department of Computing
together with Nicole Lotz from Design and Innovation in collaboration
with Botho College Botswana secured funding to investigate 'Novice
interaction design behaviour in different cultures'. This 18 month
project running from October 20111 - March 2013 will look at the design
thinking of students studying M364 (Fundamentals of Interaction Design)
in the UK and Botswana. A protocol study will explore cognitive
processes in designing. A diary study will look at socio-cultural
factors in designing. More information can be found here.
Katerina Alexiou and Theodore Zamenopoulos have assured funding for 2 research projects from AHRC and EPSRC.
‘Media, Community and the Creative Citizen’ is a large £1.4m grant funded jointly by AHRC and EPSRC as a part of the Cross-Council Connected Communities and Digital Economy Programmes. The project aims to understand how creative citizenship generates value for communities within a changing media landscape and how this pursuit of value can be intensified, propagated and sustained. The grant is led by Prof Ian Hargreaves from Cardiff University. Other partners are Birmingham University, Birmingham City, University of West of England, Royal College of Art, and a number of community and third sector organizations. Katerina and Theo are leading the OU involvement in the ‘community-based design’ strand of the project.
‘Valuing Community-Led Design’, is a follow on project funded by AHRC under the Connected Communities: Culture and Design scheme. The project aims to collate, articulate and disseminate evidence about the value of community-led design and bring the relevant stakeholders together to create a common conceptual framework and research agenda for the future. Katerina and Theo will be working with two community partners: Architecture Centre Network (www.architecturecentre.net/) and The Glass House Community Led Design (www.theglasshouse.org.uk/).
Special Issue published
February 2012 sees the publication of the special issue of Transport Planning and Technology, containing papers presented at the UTSG conference held at the OU in January 2011. This edition was co-edited by Stephen Ison and Stephen Potter. See also our January 2011 news item below on the conference itself.
The special issue can be downloaded free at:
Complexity and Creative Economy workshop at Nesta
An AHRC funded workshop on Complexity and Creative economy was held at Nesta bringing together experts in complexity science, design and the creative economy. The workshop aimed to explore how complexity theory and its methodological approaches can help in providing a better understanding of the creative economy. Presentations and video podcasts of keynote speakers and panelists can now be viewed at http://www.complexity-creative-economy.net/first-workshop.html.
The workshop was jointly organised by Katerina Alexiou from the OU, Roberta Comunian from Kent University and Caroline Chapain from Birmingham University. Jeff Johnson and Theo Zamenopoulos from the OU were also invited speakers.
EPSRC Project Award
Dr Emma Dewberry has been awarded a grant of £326K as Co-Investigator on an EPSRC project titled SHOCK (not) HORROR together with Dr Glendinning of Newcastle University and Dr Castan Brotofrom UCL.The research proposes that system shocks constitute opportunities to radically ‘shift minds’ by re-evaluating the relationship between demand and provision and devising new and transformative ways of thinking about infrastructure.Industrial contributors to the project include ARUP, Network Rail, CIRIA, IBM,National Grid, Yorkshire Water and Willis Re.
Added 5th April 2011
Phebe Mann, long-time AL on various Design modules including T211 Design and Designing has been awarded a UKRC ‘Women of Outstanding Achievement’ Award, 2011. Phebe has been selected as the winner of the category for Tomorrow's Leader.
UKRC is funded by the Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills. The awards ceremony will be held on the 5th May 2011 from 6pm at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.
Connected Communities and Creative Economy funding success
Added 30th March 2011
Dr Katerina Alexiou was chosen to participate in an AHRC sandpit back in December and she consequently participated in two successful funding bids. Both projects started in March. The first project is entitled "The Role of Complexity in the Creative Economy: connecting people, ideas and practice" and aims to explore how complexity theory and its methodological approaches can help in providing a better understanding of the creative economy as a field of research. The project is in collaboration with Kent University and Birmingham University. The second project is entitled "Community Media Spheres and the Creative Citizen". The project is in collaboration with University of West of England, Cardiff University, RCA, Birmingham University and Birmingham City University and partners were awarded funding to prepare for a much larger (£1.5m) bid in June 2011. The project tries to understand the changing landscape of digital and physical media and how they can be used to transform communities and support creative citizenship.
Software Design for Climate Leadership: "4Decades" Software Success
Added 1st March 2011
In a collaboration between the Design Group and Department of Computing Stefan Kreitmeyer, a new full time PhD student, together with supervisors Stephen Peake, Robin Laney and Yvonne Rogers have created Climate Leadership Game "4Decades". The project has attracted attention from several public and private sector organisations.
The game was successfully tested at a Climate Leadership Seminar for 40 senior managers in Cambridge in January 2011. Data capture with the help of Richard Hearne will provide key insights into this novel application of ambient displays for collaborative teamplay and decision making around sustainability.
New Chair in Design!
Added 1st March 2011
Congratualtions to Peter Lloyd who has been appointed to a Chair. Peter's title will be Professor of Design Studies.
Added 1st March 2011
Sally Caird has been won a competitive place on the End User Energy Demand workshop organised by the EPSRC. This will be held on the 23 March 2011 at The Montague on the Gardens Hotel, London.
Design Thinking in Times Higher Education Supplement
Added 21st February 2011
The IT Training award for the new Design Module U101 Design Thinking (see news 14th February) was mentioned in this week's Times Higher Education Supplement. The award recognised the significant achievements in online learning pioneered by U101 and establishes The Open University as a leading provider of IT Training Services to industry.
New Award for U101 'Design Thinking'
Added 14th February 2011
The Level 1 module Design Thinking received a prestigious award at the Institute for IT Training annual award ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London on 3rd February.
The award, for Innovation in Training Services, was collected by module team chair Peter Lloyd, curriculum manager Karen Ross, and Kevin Streater, executive director for employer engagement.
Other organisations nominated for awards included IBM, Bupa, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Boots.
SusTEACH funding success
Added 5th February 2011
Professor Andy Lane and Dr Sally Caird have won £125,000 funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) under the Greening ICT Programme for the SusTEACH project to develop Sustainable Tools for the Environmental Appraisal of the Carbon Impacts of Higher Education Teaching Models using ICTs.
SusTEACH will examine the transformative impact of ICTs on HE teaching models and assess their environmental and life-time impacts.
SusTEACH aims to develop an innovative environmental impact appraisal toolkit that can be used at early development stages to help reduce impacts when new modules and programmes are being designed and approved, and contribute towards achieving.
Added 21st January 2011
Godfrey Boyle and Stephen Potter have both featured in the January 2011 Euronews programme on Energy and the City. This can be viewed on the Euronews Comments:Visions site. The longer interviews are also available on the Euronews Bonus Video site.
UTSG Conference hosted at OU
Added 8th January 2011
On January 5-7 we hosted the annual conference of the Universities' Transport Study Group (UTSG). This is the major annual conference for transport researchers in UK universities and it turned out to be a record-breaking event, with 130 delegates and over 80 papers in four parallel streams.
There were several research presentations from OU staff and PhD students as well as from our Affiliated Research Centre, the Transport Research Laboratory.
The photo above shows Professor Margaret Bell from the University of Newcastle giving the final plenary presentation of the conference.
The photo right shows Professor Julian Hine awarding the Smeed Prize for the best student paper to John Lees-Miller from the University of Bristol.
The plenary sessions were webcast.
Getting warmer: field trial of domestic heat pumps
Added 24th November 2010
Robin Roy, Sally Caird and Stephen Potter of the Design Innovation Group have completed work with the Energy Saving Trust on the largest field trial of domestic heat pumps so far conducted in the UK.
The OU team carried out studies of the experience, behaviour and satisfaction of over 90 heat pump users to complement the technical monitoring of heat pump performance.
The main findings of the first year of the field trial were published in September 2010 and created some controversy. The OU team also produced a confidential detailed report for the project sponsors which included the Department of Energy and Climate Change, The Scottish Government, seven energy suppliers and five heat pump manufacturers.
ARCHI 21: EU funding for design and language learning
Added 14th November 2010
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 begins in November 2010, builds on the foundation established by the JISC-funded ATELIER-D project between 2008 and 2010.
Software and Climate Change
Added 22nd October 2010
In a collaboration between the Design Group and Department of Computing Robina Hetherington, a new full time PhD student, together with supervisors Stephen Peake and Robin Laney have created a video on "A Requirements Engineering Approach to Design Software for Low Carbon Buildings"
The video was made for the Second International Workshop on Software Research and Climate Change
New Course Launch: U101 Design Thinking
Added 11th January 2010
U101 Design Thinking - Creativity for the 21st Century is a new first level, 60pt course which launches in February 2010 after two years of development. Click below to watch the promotional video for the course.
Course team chair, Peter Lloyd, says: "the course features fantastic new learning technologies, including an online design studio, and is set to be a step forward in Design Education".
The course forms part of a new BSc/BA award in Design and Innovation.
Most downloaded in Design Studies
Added 15th December 2009
Miquel Prats and Steve Garner are co-authors of the paper 'Transforming shape in design: Observations from studies of sketching'. This was the most downloaded paper from Design Studies during July to September 2009.
Prats M, Lim S, Jowers I, Garner S and Chase S (2009) Transforming shape in design: Observations from studies of sketching. Design Studies, 30(5), September, pp 503-520.
OU student design prize in The Independent
Added 15th December 2009
An article on the Recolight design competition, co-ordinated at the OU by Georgy Holden, appeared in The Independent recently. The competition, to design packaging to enable low-energy lightbulbs to be recycled safely, was won by Clive Eyre, a student on T307 Innovation: Designing for a Sustainable Future.
Stephen Peake involved with Science Museum - Prove It! Exhibition
Added 22 October 2009
Stephen Peake acted as an expert advisor for the materials for the new "Prove-it" exhibition that was launched this morning. Stephen also attended an early creative workshop/brainstorm to help deisgn the visitor experience.
New edited book on 'Embracing Complexity in Design'
added 14 September 2009
Embracing Complexity in Design is a new book edited by Katerina Alexiou, Jeffrey Johnson and Theodore Zamenopoulos and published by Routledge (Taylor and Francis Group).
Outlining state-of-the-art developments in the area of complexity and design, this book collates them into a unique and authoritative resource for both the design and complex systems communities. The book is based on research which focuses on a variety of different themes and domains, including architecture, engineering, environmental design, art, fashion and management.
For more information check the publisher's website.
Peter Lloyd's new book 'About: Designing' is Published
added 9 July 2009
About: Designing - Analysing Design Meetings, a new book edited by Janet McDonnell and Peter Lloyd, has been published by Taylor and Francis. This cutting edge book derives from the research project Design Thinking Research Symposium 7: Design Meeting Protocols which distributed the same video data of actual design meetings to leading researchers in Design Thinking Research. 21 different analyses resulted, and are included in the book.
Stephen Peake Awarded Charter Studentship
added 8 July 2009
Stephen Peake, together with Robin Laney, has been awarded an Open University Charter Studentship in the area of in Climate Change/Design/Requirements Engineering. This interdisciplinary project will look at how computer systems can be developed that are sensitive to large-scale changes in the world around us.
Interested applicants, further details and contact information can be found on the group's Opportunities page.
PhD success for Gareth Paterson
23rd June 2009
Gareth Paterson, full-time research student in DDEM, has recently received notification that the OU has approved him being awarded a PhD, subject to corrections and modifications to the thesis. His thesis is titled ‘Form Generation in Design’.
Congratulations to Gareth on this achievement.
Claudia Eckert and Chris Earl's Journal Paper makes Open Research Online Top Ten Most Viewed
Added 12th June 2009
The Open University's Open Research Online (ORO) database provides downloads of all staff publications. Claudia Eckert and Chris Earl's paper on comparative design was one of the top ten downloads for May.
Blackwell, A. D, Eckert, C. M., Bucciarelli, L. L and Earl, C. F. (2009). Witnesses to design: A phenomenology of comparative design. Design Issues, 25(1), pp. 36–47.
Stephen Peake Talks Climate Change and Design at the British Museum
Added 12th May 2009
Stephen Peake will give a talk about climate change and design at the British Museum on Sunday 17th May. Stephen's talk will look at how creativity in the form of design and innovation has transformed the world and how it is critical to our coping with climate change and wider sustainability challenges that lie ahead. The talk will be illustrated with examples of ideas, attitudes, technologies, and processes that have shaped the world and will do in the future.
Steve Garner in Design Week
Added 29th April 2009
Design research at the Open University appeared in an article in the trade magazine Design Week describing Steve Garner's recent £196,000 grant from The Leverhulme Trust to look at how eye-tracking technology could recognise which parts of sketches the designer is interested in and automatically suggest developments.
European Conference on Complex Systems
Added 31st March 2009
Iain Kusel, a part-time PhD student in the group, is currently coordinating a workshop for PhD students at the Satellite Meeting of the European Conference on Complex Systems. The date of the meeting is 23rd September 2009 and will held at The University of Warwick, Coventry.
Green Jobs - Radio 4 Interview featuring Godfrey Boyle
Added 18th March 2009
Godfrey Boyle recently featured in an interview with Sarah Mukherjee, the BBC's environment correspondent. The interview was used in a feature about 'Green Jobs' and was broadcast on the Radio 4 programme The World Tonight on 17th March. Godfrey pointed out that the Open Universeity is already running courses on sustainable energy for professionals and the general public, but a lot more needs to be done if the 'Green New Deal' is to take off in the UK.
The Green Jobs piece is about 20 minutes into the programme
New Leverhulme-funded research: Designing with Vision
Added 3rd March 2009
Steve Garner is the PI on a new two-year project funded by The Leverhume Trust and which begins in May 2009. ‘Designing with Vision’ is worth £196k and will employ post-docs Miquel Prats and Iestyn Jowers. Alison McKay, Professor of Design Systems at Leeds University is the co-investigator.
The project will use 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) in conjunction with eye tracking the system should be able to 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.
Godfrey Boyle: The Oil Crunch
Added 17th February 2009
Despite the recent falls in oil prices, the world could still face an 'oil crunch' in which supplies fail to meet demand as early as 2012-2015. That's the conclusion of OU Energy & Environment Research Unit director Godfrey Boyle, in his contribution to a new UK Industry task force report 'The Oil Crunch'. Even before the price reductions, oil companies wreren't investing enough in expanding supplies. Combined with the effects of the 'credit crunch' and the need to meet the threat of climate change, what's needed now is a big investment in energy efficiency, combined heat and power production and deployment of renewable energy sources.
Peter Lloyd: New Associate Editor of Design Studies
Added: 7th January 2009
Peter Lloyd has been announced as one of two new associate editors for the leading journal in Design Research: Design Studies. Since it's beginning in 1979 the journal has built up a considerable reputation and now has a strong impact factor. Nigel Cross remains as Editor-in- chief with three associate editors - Peter Lloyd, Norbert Roozenburg, and Rivka Oxman - all together managing the paper review process for the journal.
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Page Last Updated: October 1, 2012