Biographies of Participants at Designing and Consuming workshops, Durham University, 11-13 January 2006

pdf version of biographies


Dr. Thomas Binder

Danish Centre for Design Research

Thomas Binder is the director of the Danish Centre for Design Research, where he leads a research group working with design theory and design practices, addressing the changing role of design research in design work as in design school education. His current research includes empirical studies of design discourse and situated everyday practices of designers, and experimental explorations of the relations between designed artefacts, place and space. Thomas Binder has previously been studio director at the Interactive Institute in Malmö, Sweden where he lead an interdisciplinary research group including researchers, artists and designers sharing an interest in the changing ways social space gets constructed and transformed by new media. Earlier Thomas Binder has been part of the user-centred design group at the Danish company Danfoss. Thomas Binder has been the chairman of the Nordic Design research conference and the Participatory design conference and his centre is a member of the Network of Leading Design Research and Innovation Centres. He holds a PhD from the Technical University of Denmark.


Dr. Simon Blyth


Currently I lead the Global Consumer Insight Team for Unilever’s Oral Care category, with responsibility for tactical and strategic innovation research projects – from initial insight generation to post launch evaluation.

Before this, I taught at the University of Southampton where I completed a PhD on masculinity and domestic violence.


Michele Chang



Dr. Irene Cieraad

Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Irene Cieraad, social anthropologist, is a senior researcher in the Department of Interior Architecture and Design, Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. She has published on the anthropology of domestic space, material culture and the home, household technology, and domestic consumption. She was the editor of At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space (Syracuse University Press). In 2000/2001 she was a curator of exhibitions on the history of vernacular interior design.


Dr. Tim Dant

Sociology, University of East Anglia

Tim Dant is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of East Anglia where he teaches social theory and the sociology of culture. He has research interests in the sociology of material culture and critical theory and has published a number of journal articles on both themes. He is the author of Material Culture in a Social World (Open University Press 1999), Critical Social Theory (Sage 2003) and Materiality and Society (Open University Press 2004).


Dr. Tom Fisher

Sheffield Hallam University

Tom Fisher is a Fine Art graduate who has worked as a designer and maker of furniture and has a PhD from a sociology department. His interest in consumption stems from his experience as a designer and his perspective is informed by both sociological/ anthropological approaches to the subject and a concern for the materiality of consumption experiences. He is currently Reader in Design at Sheffield Hallam university where he is supervising PhDs related to consumers' understanding of sustainability and the basis for feelings of desire for objects. Commercial consultancy has included work for packaging manufacturers to uncover consumers' interpretations of physical features of containers.


Sabine Hielscher

Sheffield Hallam University

BA(Hons) Ecodesign at Goldsmiths College, London.

Currently PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University: design for sustainability, sustainable consumption.


Gordon Hush

Glasgow School of Art

Gordon Hush is a sociologist working within Glasgow School of Art’s Department of Historical & Critical studies. He works largely with design students, in particular the Product Design students of the B.Des/MEDes programme for whom he co-ordinates a social science research programme. This is aimed at overhauling the role of the designer, shifting the focus of design activity from technical, functional and aesthetic considerations to include a greater focus upon the user participation with the objects, services and experiences of available to the inhabitants of contemporary capitalist society. In addition, he is writing-up his doctoral thesis, The Socio-Spatial Construction of Consumption: an historical and contemporary analysis, which proposes a critical interrogation of sociology’s reliance upon concepts derived from economic theory as the means to investigate ‘consumption’ activities.


Professor Jack Ingram

Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

Jack Ingram is Head of School of Product Design at the University of Central England. He works with companies in the management of new product development, and is Project Director for the Centre for High Value-Added Products, a £1.5m project to develop the role of design in SMEs in the West Midlands, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. He is a Council member of the Design Research Society, a founder member of the European Academy of Design, and co-founder of The Design Journal.


Dr. An Jacobs

Vrije Universiteit Brussel SMIT

An Jacobs is Senior Researcher at SMIT (Study of Media, Information & Telecommunication) established at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) in 1990. The center is involved in fundamental research, applied short and long term research and contract research in the area of ICT, use and policy. They are research partner in the Flemisch Institute of Broadband Technology (IBBT). At the moment she is doing different IBBT-research projects within the field of e-government and e-health.

She holds a PhD degree in Political and Social Sciences-Sociology (University of Ghent), where she previously worked as teaching-assistant at the Department of Sociology. She teaches also a course in Sociology of technology at the Hogeschool Antwerpen in the Department of Design Sciences- integrated product development.

The field of integrating social research within all phases of the development process of innovative products is her core interest. Therefore she specializes in user research and technological assessment instruments, combining her interest in both quantitative and qualitative techniques.


Roger Jones

Originally trained in aeronautical engineering, switched to product design and worked for several prominent industrial designers before forming own consultancy in mid-70s.

Also, lecturing part-time and later full-time, developed and led a successful taught masters course in product design at De Montfort University. Subsequently concentrated on developing the growing consultancy, which eventually employed 40+ working on product and engineering design and project management, particularly in contrasting fields of pharmaceuticals and transport. Now retired.


Professor Guy Julier

Leeds Metropolitan University

Guy Julier is Professor of Design and Head of Research in the Leeds School of Architecture, Landscape and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. Currently also an Honorary Professor at the Glasgow School of Art, he has lectured in Spain, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Ireland. He is author of New Spanish Design (1991), The Culture of Design (2000; revised edition forthcoming), the Dictionary of Design since 1900 (2004, revised edition of 1993 publication), a correspondent of Experimenta (Madrid), an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Visual Culture and a contributor to 2+3D (Krakow).


Professor Ilpo Koskinen

University of Art and Design Helsinki

Ilpo Koskinen is Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Art and Design, Helsinki. Trained in sociology and in conversation analysis, his present interests lie in studying mobile and ubiquitous communication technologies. In his opinion, studying these technologies requires that we understand them as human action, which happens to be mediated by technology. His other interests lie in studying how design changes cityscapes, and in interpretive design methodology which (he thinks) provides a useful, though underdeveloped, approach to bridge the gap between design and the social sciences. At present, he is writing a book on mobile multimedia.


Anne Sofie Lægran

Norwegian University of Science and Technology/University of Edinburgh

Anne Sofie Laegran is a geographer at NTNU in Norway, based at the Research Centre for Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. With a general interest in technology and everyday practice, she is currently doing a post doc. on people in rural areas working from home. She plans to do a new project on DIY and home improvement.


Dr. Rebecca Leach

Keele University

Rebecca Leach is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Relations. Her research interests lie in the area of consumerism, with specific focus on the home and the role of taste in constructing identities and relationships.


Debra Lilley

Loughborough University

Debra Lilley graduated in 2000 with a BA Honours Interior Design degree (2:1). Upon graduating Debra worked for Johnson Controls Ltd, where she used a variety of consulting tools to gain customer insight to inform the design process. In 2003 she completed an MRes in Manufacturing Sustainability and Design at Cranfield University and subsequently joined Medway Council as an Assistant Sustainability Policy Officer conducting audits across council buildings to identify opportunities for environmental improvements. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Loughborough University in the Department of Design and Technology. The aim of the research is to assist manufacturers in designing products that are instinctively used in a sustainable way by identifying and applying behavioural indicators, triggers or features within the product design to enable sustainable behaviour or block unsustainable behaviour.


Dr. Barend van der Meulen

University of Twente

Barend van der Meulen is associate professor at the University of Twente, department for Science, Technology and Health Policy Studies. His research focuses on the dynamics of science and technology, the governance of science and technology and policy instruments like foresight and evaluation. Typical topics include the understanding of “europeanisation of national research systems”, “the role of research funding bodies in research systems”, “the co-construction of technology and governance relations”, “Users and governance relations in ambient intelligence development.” He teaches on aspects of technology and society and on foresight studies to engineering students and industrial design students. In the latter course, aspects of STS and foresight studies are used to challenge students at master level to create new futures.


Dr. Mika Pantzar

National Consumer Research Centre

Mika Pantzar is an economist (PhD). Currently he is research professor in National Consumer Research Centre (Helsinki). He has published over hundred articles within consumer research, design and technology studies, rhetoric of economic policy, food studies, systems research, future studies etc. Among his books are Domestication of technology. From science of consumption to art of consumption (in Finnish, Tammi, 1996) and The Invention of Needs (for Future Home) (in Finnish, Otava, 2000); Manufacturing Fun: Innovations in happiness, well-being and fun. NCRC publications 1/2005 (Mika Pantzar, Elizabeth Shove, eds.) (


Miles Park

Product Design/ Sustainable Futures, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury

Miles is course leader of the Product Design | Sustainable Futures course, at the recently formed University College for the Creative Arts, UK. He has a degree in Industrial design (University of Technology, Sydney) and a masters degree in Environment Management (University of New South Wales) and is currently undertaking PhD research at Kingston University.

Current research interests and projects include: design for product life, eco-efficiency and the rebound effect, design for behavioural change and industry-education collaborative projects.


Dr. Liz Parsons

Keele University

Liz started at Keele with the Management Group in January 2005. Previously she worked as a Lecturer in Marketing at Stirling University since Sept 2000. She completed her PhD in Human Geography at Bristol University. Liz’s current research interests lie broadly in exploring the relations between consumption and culture, with an enduring interest in the practices of buying and selling secondhand goods. At present she is concerned with the construction of value (particularly in the lay sense of this term) in secondhand markets. This research takes a material culture approach to the study of consumption emphasising the social and cultural construction of the meaning of objects. It is also concerned with developing perspectives on consumption which pay attention to what we do with the things that surround us, and which acknowledge that things have lives, not just when they enter and re-enter the commodity phase. Her current project has involved interviews with second-hand and antique dealers based in Glasgow.


Isabel Shaw

Lancaster University

Isabel specialised in the history of African art and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African studies. She then continued her interest in the anthropology of visual and material culture at UCL, where she completed her MA. Currently she is doing a PhD at Lancaster University. She is looking at a range of different commercial and professional practices and processes (e.g. design, advertising) that attempt to make ‘normal’ mundane technologies such as the brush and paste in different cultural and social contexts.


Professor Elizabeth Shove

Department of Sociology, Lancaster University

Elizabeth Shove is professor in Sociology at Lancaster University and principal applicant for the Designing and Consuming project. She is currently interested in the sociology of practice, technology and ordinary consumption. She has written about concepts of comfort, cleanliness and convenience and has recently completed a project on sustainable domestic technologies in the kitchen and the bathroom. The Designing and Consuming project provides an opportunity to engage with designers, to explore the material aspects of material culture and to examine the dynamic relation between materials, images and forms of competence.


Dr. Jennifer Smith

University of Leicester, Department Media and Communication

Jennifer works in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Leicester, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate modules on advertising, consumption, and the body. Broadly speaking, my research interests lie in the study of consumers and consumption, and more specifically focus on the work of cultural intermediaries in the production of lifestyles and the technologies of promotional culture, including advertising and lifestyle magazines; and the emotional labour and physical capital of service workers. My PhD (Sociology, City University of New York) examined the consumer body discourse and the intersections of the leisure industry, popular media and service work through a case study of the commercial fitness field—this continues to be an area of research for me. In addition, my current research examines the problematic professionalization of cultural intermediaries, and the cultural economy of domestic interior design.


Dr. Dale Southerton

CRIC, University of Manchester

Dale Southerton is a Research Fellow at the ESRC Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition, University of Manchester. He specializes in the study of consumption and has previously conducted research exploring this topic in relation to identity formation, senses of belonging and distinction; the social worlds of caravanning; and the normalization of freezers. Currently he is conducting research on consumption and time-use, kitchens and bathrooms, and the diffusion of cultures of consumption. His key research interests centre around theories of consumption, social change, innovation, sustainability, time and space, and social networks.


Dr. James Stewart

ISSTI, University of Edinburgh


Dr. Frank Trentmann

Cultures of Consumption Research Programme

Dr. Frank Trentmann is the programme director of the ESRC-AHRC Cultures of Consumption research programme. He is a senior lecturer in the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, in the University of London. He was educated at Hamburg University, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and at Harvard University, where he received his PhD. He has also taught at Princeton University (USA) and at Bielefeld University (Germany).


Dr. Nina Wakeford

INCITE, University of Surrey


Dr. Matt Watson

Department of Geography, Durham University

Matt Watson is a Research Fellow in Geography at Durham University, and co-applicant and researcher on the Designing and Consuming project. His research interests address issues of practice, particularly in relation to knowledge and materiality. Research projects have explored these themes in relation to nature reserves, waste practices and domestic consumption.


Heike Weber

Munich Center for the History of Science and Technology

I am a historian, working on the history of technology and its intersection with consumer culture. Presently, I am finishing my dissertation on portable electronics (1950-2000): In it, I describe the evolution of today’s so-called “mobile lifestyle” by looking at the design and usage of the portable radio of the 50s, the walkman of the 80s and the cell phone of the 90s. Previously, I have worked on the technologisation of urban leisure and entertainment around 1900. In my next project, I will focus on visual culture, namely on pictures in the making and mediation of science and technology.


Tara Woodyer

Royal Holloway, University of London