Ongoing

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Amelia Huw Morgan

Illustrator : Drawing. Performance.

‘in hope of the participant viewer’ is a PhD research project by publication exploring experimental and phenomenological relationships between the illustrated image and the participant viewer, in reaction and relation to socio-political problems and the unfathomable effort of the human being to become redundant in society beyond passivity of ‘like’ in the everyday life. Modes of thinking including `Brechtian and `Stansinslavskian’ theatre, puppetry and ‘The Soul of the Marionette’ (Gray, 2015), are experimentally deployed in a critical, practice research in which embodied streams of consciousness wonder why we seem forever intent on making ourselves more graceless and senseless than the marionette; both mocked and revered in Heinrich Von Kleist’s essay (1810).

(Supervisors : Thompson. Woodward.)

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Henry Hill

Product Designer : Design. Postanthropcentricism. Artefact Becoming.

CAVE : This PhD research project – co-supervised with Keble College, Oxford University – starts from a recognition of design’s role and status in relation to what many describe as the “crisis” of the planetary condition. The research project arrives at a mode of design(ing) otherwise to that of its entrenched industrial paradigm situated largely within a modern Western Enlightenment understanding of the world. It does so by attending to the ontological worlding agency of design objects and attuning to the nonhuman agencies, temporalities, and processes of our more-than-human world. Through selectively turning to traditional ways of knowing and making – which (it is argued) suggest more than simply a romantic or primitive sensibility toward “nature” – this research attempts to reformulate a relational way of knowing and making (viz. designing) that is receptive to the human and nonhuman entanglements that constitute the interrelations and interdependencies of living systems and environments. As such, this project is orientated as a speculative transitional proposition grounded in relation to notions such as that of ‘The Ecozoic Era’ (Berry, 1999), ‘Sustainment’ (Fry, 2009), and ‘Ecological Thought’ (Morton, 2010). Condensed to a research question, this thesis then asks: How might design be reformulated towards becoming a mindful and effective practice of weaving and repairing the mesh of life?

(Supervisors : Thompson. Woodward. Malafouris.)

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Theo Humphries

Interaction Designer : Design. Humour. Entanglement

A PhD research project – co-supervised with Plymouth University – scoping a new theory of ‘malentanglement’. Deviation from an expected order of things can illuminate engagements with designed artefacts and the inhabited ‘designed world’. Malentanglement is proposed as a means to understand the role and place of humour in design, and as a means to account for the difficulties faced by design/designers when describing highly innovative artefacts or aesthetics to other parties – such as clients or the wider public. The research has impact into understanding the role of humour in effective participatory and user-centred design practice.

(Supervisors : Thompson. Pepperell. Punt.)

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Laura Barritt

Artist & Teacher : Art. Abstraction. Extended Spaces. Mind.

A PhD project – co-supervised with Cardiff School of Education & Social policy and the WJEC  – which considers the possibilities of the arts in secondary education as a means to equip adolescent artists with the necessary (but overlooked) skills of artistic abstraction as a mean to render visible the contemporary ‘ontological crisis’ that many adolescents endure.  With the fast-accelerating expansions of digital space extending (lived) abstract environments beyond previous understandings, this research considers the impact and genesis that contemporary extended and unstable environments may have on the vulnerable developing minds of adolescents, who are already going through a period of instability and rapid biological development.

(Supervisors : Thompson. Woodward. Popovac)

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Emma Smith

Textiles Designer : Design. Owning. Metatphysics.

In my PhD I want to explore deeper questions of what goes into the condition of contemporary and future in Tum Genus Longa relationships. I want to inquire if when we focus attention onto questions of both sides of the ownership-relationship, what new ideas might emerge that designers can draw upon? The overarching aim of my research will be to draw discourse emerging from new materialism together and to shine fresh light upon the ideas and problems of ownership or possession-endurance for design. How we can we better understand and focus these emerging metaphysical and philosophical ideas forward in a way that is useful for textiles designers?

(Supervisors : Thompson. Woodward. Canavan.)

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Yalda Borzorg

Artists Ceramicist : Cognition., Material Engagement Theory. Ceramics.

Asking how might Material Engagement Theory might contribute to theories of creativity in Ceramics, this PhD research will connect Cognitive science, Material Engagement Theory (MET) and ceramics practice. MET has been successfully deployed in archology to explain and explore the human cognitive system both from an ontogenetic and a phylogenetic perspective. In my research by tracing common threads between the material world, artists’ cognition and creative knowledge I wonder is whether it is possible to use MET to understand the effects of materials on artists’ creativity.. There is a reciprocal relationship between the maker and the material. The maker and the material learn from each other.

(Supervisor : Woodward. Thompson)

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Nigel Ash

Artist, sculptor & maker

As a sculptor and a maker, I am interested in practical, embodied and sometimes tacit knowledge, used by makers in material processes. My research project throws into question hylomorphic attempts to understand the application of the Maker’s know-how which humiliate the ‘happy accident’, this position paper sets out a post-anthropocentric model of making. Adopting an analytical stance to include the ineffability of materials (Ingold, 2013) and other events or circumstances that lie outside of purposeful affordances (Gibson, 1986), diffracts the focus of analysis away from purposeful human agency. A post-anthropocentric understanding of serendipity, or the happy accident, in making processes is established such that it set out a re-understanding of the Maker’s process and knowledge as a transcendent intra-action between flows of material and cognition which in turn opens the space for a more subtle and complete investigation into the complex fluid flows between human and non-human which go to make the maker and the made.

(Supervisors : Thompson. Woodward)

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Sanjay Sahota

Product designer and technology theorist

My research explores whether ancient and indigenous technologies might bring new insight to the way in which we design artifacts. It attempts to do this in a way that is more in keeping and in tune with the world around us and less modelled on 19th Century ideas of dominance, ordering, and control. In an investigation of ways in which a number of ancient and indigenous models of technology might be reinterpreted in an extended and decolonized design conversation, the research draws upon contemporary post-anthropocentric ideas around human/non-human relationships; a centering of Arturo Escobar’s idea of the Pluriverse and a drawing from histories of indigenous technologies such as that of Julia Watson.

(Supervisors : Thompson. Woodward)

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Andrea Gogova : Associate Research Student

Animator & Graphic Designer : Doctoral Researcher Erasmus Exchange in partnership with Tomas Bata University in Zlin.

From Grid to Rhizome – (post) digital text layout structure. My doctoral research is based on two scopes of research. The first area is based on cybertext theory implementation. The (post)digital text layout as an open and complex system that depends on two types of materiality based on the processing mode. The first is the text of programming code, invisible for users, and the second the text structure of visible interfaces as a Transitoire Observable (Bootz, 1999). The second area of research is based on comparing the research of the grid-based structure in architecture and urbanism with graphic design. Both scopes of the arguments lead to the idea of Rhizome (Deleuze and Guattari, 1980) as a model of (post)digital text layout structure.

(Supervisors : Zervan, Mitášov & Husarova.)

Bata Uni

Completed

Dr Rachel Eardley 

Interaction Designer : HCI Design. Movement. Human Hand.

A PhD research project – co-supervised with Bristol University – that seeks to understand hand movement as a facet of cognition and how it can be accounted for in HCI research terms, specifically in respect to the design of mobile phones. The research tests ways in which micro-movements of the hand afford a higher level of complexity in sensorimotor action in human – non-human cognitive processes. The research has an impact in terms of understandings for the design and additional potential of small device interaction.

(Supervisors : Thompson. Gill. Roudaut. )

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