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Bēhance

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DESIGNER, RESEARCHER, LECTURER

Having graduated from Glasgow School of Art in Visual Communication, I have worked across Europe, and my extensive design industry experience covers a broad creative spectrum from graphic design, branding and promotional music videos, through fashion communication, photography and i… Read More
DESIGNER, RESEARCHER, LECTURER

Having graduated from Glasgow School of Art in Visual Communication, I have worked across Europe, and my extensive design industry experience covers a broad creative spectrum from graphic design, branding and promotional music videos, through fashion communication, photography and interiors, to art direction and textile design innovation. Currently I am teaching at the National College of Art and Design in Ireland, and a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art and the Estonian Academy of Arts. I've previously taught at Heriot-Watt University, Kingston University, Interactive Design Institute and for the University of Strathclyde. Alongside developing new models of pedagogical enquiry related to design teaching & learning, my research interests include applying creative thinking and design tools to developing innovative way of questioning, responding to, and discussing the city. Previous research has encompassed design approaches to innovate textile production and textile archiving, which led to AHRC funding and cross-disciplinary collaboration within academia and industry.

Alongside lecturing at various institutions, I continue to work as a designer on commercial commissions & personal projects, all of which enhances design & academic research whilst building into my practice. Read Less
  • Lecturer in Design Education
    National College of Art and Design — Dublin, Ireland
  • Lecturer - Visual Communication for BA Fashion, MA Fashion
    Kingston University — London, United Kingdom
  • P/T Graphic Design tutor
    Interactive Design Institute — United Kingdom
  • Lecturer in Visual Communication, School of Textiles And Design
    Heriot Watt University — Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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Being research active in a design school provides an opportunity to develop my own practice and ‘thinking’, alongside my design practice, which feeds into the structuring of briefs and modules. Some final year UG students have worked with me on research, and my work is something we discussed in the studio, along… Read More
Being research active in a design school provides an opportunity to develop my own practice and ‘thinking’, alongside my design practice, which feeds into the structuring of briefs and modules. Some final year UG students have worked with me on research, and my work is something we discussed in the studio, along with their design projects. I realised that this shared platform creates a positive, open foundation for their design learning - allowing my role to become more like that of a creative director in a commercial design studio, guiding the students as opposed to giving answers or instructions. This transparency between teaching and research enhances their skills/thinking as well as my own.

As an early career researcher, my interests build upon my considerable design and textile industry experience, as well as previous research-led design consultancy practice. Whilst at Heriot-Watt University I worked in partnership with institutions such as Robert Gordon University, and internally with the School of Life Sciences, School of Built Environment, and with public sector organisations such as Textiles Scotland and the Scottish Academy of Fashion http://scottishacademyoffashion.com/about

My research develops a common theme of narrative and communication, across 3 strands:

1. City Spaces – A New Line of Questioning
Through the development of a conceptual design project in 2010 (in partnership with Glasgow City Council, The Heritage Trust, Evolve & Strathclyde University) this research focuses on discussing fresh ways to analyse and understand urban space.

By applying creative thinking and design tools to develop an innovative way of questioning, responding to, and discussing the city, this research provides insight into the use of three-dimensional space and it’s impact on users, experience & communication.

The intention is to build toward a series of books and exhibitions which will showcase the methodology & toolkit development but primarily act as vehicles to discuss different aspects of the research; public & personal space, internal & external spatial structures, engagement & intervention, and the architecture of the city & society.

Research in 2011-12 has taken the form of a series of exercises in different spaces – performance, interventions, mapping and writing. A short collaborative film is proposed for 2014/15.

In October 2011 I presented the first paper on 'city spaces - a new line of questioning' at the IASDR conference in Delft.

Since then I've been testing a follow-up toolkit - to enhance the understanding of urban space and it's perception or role in the modern city - which has been presented and used at a number of European conferences.


2. The Architecture of Design

A framework for exploring creative thinking - initially through the development of workshops, approaches, & exercises – with the potential for application in industry, as well as education. The research builds into the development of a toolkit for enhanced creative practice; using teaching, student output and exercises to create a series of case studies. Through interdisciplinary collaborations with other Universities the toolkit will be refined to communicate a new theory for creative practice.

Research in 2011-13 has been in the form of case studies and practice-based exercises with students. These have been compiled as papers presented at the 4th IJADE/NSEAD 2012 conference, the Cumulus Dublin 2013 conference and being submitted for several journals & conferences in 2014


3. Textile Archives
With heritage remaining a dominant theme across fashion, advertising, marketing, textiles and the public sector during the last decade, this research has the potential to connect with that sustained trend. In collaborating with companies and agencies in the industry it has a potential to maximise the commercial reach of academic design research.

Focused on aspects of re-interpreting the archive, radical collaboration and re-positioning heritage, this area of research discusses the current design approaches of the industry, the true potential of ‘an archive’ in the digital age and the scope for developing an innovative, intuitive new business model for the industry. The intention is to collate a series of projects that address different issues in textiles/fashion/design legacy and create opportunities for significant, real, change in the industry as well as creating academic outputs.
Building on 6 years of commercial design experience within the sector this is a body of work that seeks to establish new methods of visual communication, interpretation and growth for a heritage industry.

2011-12. STA(R), The Scottish Textile Archive project http://www.rgu.ac.uk/research/research-institutes/institute-for-innovation-design-and-sustainability-research/themes/digital-technologies/knowledge-based-systems/ahrc-star
In partnership with the IDEAS research institute and the IMAGES research institute at Robert Gordon University it looks at how heritage and the archives of the industry can be used more effectively. The project aims to research and develop a smart, living archive system for the textile industry. It has been awarded £30k AHRC funding - selected as an AHRC case study project for 2012/13 - to develop a small demonstrator model (commenced February 2012) in partnership with Johnstons of Elgin, that follows on from a seed funded scoping study (commenced April 2011) with 7 industry partners. Project partners range from large-scale manufactures (e.g. Reid & Taylor, Johnstons of Elgin, Lyle & Scott) to individual designer-makers. This research area provides synergy with industry and economic & political agendas, but also real scope for commercialisation – not only within the textiles industry, but other sectors with an established ‘legacy’ story e.g. oil & gas, tourism. It’s also possible that the service design aspects of its investigation/delivery could grow to become cross-sector public engagement or other CPD projects. Read Less
Focusing on how design is communicated and promoted, I contributed to both the ‘Fashion Design for Industry’ and ‘Fashion Communication’ undergraduate programmes, along with masters supervision, and CPD work with industry.

During my appointment at Heriot Watt I fully restructured 4 existing courses within the… Read More
Focusing on how design is communicated and promoted, I contributed to both the ‘Fashion Design for Industry’ and ‘Fashion Communication’ undergraduate programmes, along with masters supervision, and CPD work with industry.

During my appointment at Heriot Watt I fully restructured 4 existing courses within the fashion programme (running through years 2, 3 & 4) to embed a series of communication-based agendas that better fit the needs of the market. In applying these courses progressively across 3 levels the students were enabled to develop essential research tools, creative thinking & digital design skills that, initially, they applied to a conceptual promotional product for a fashion designer. At the next stage, the students apply this knowledge to the development and promotion of their own conceptual fashion collection, before, in their final year, combining both sets of knowledge to create their own magazine (showcasing conceptual direction, research and development for their final year collection), promotional fashion film and fashion shoot, to compliment their graduate collection.

Not only has this stepped learning approach had a positive impact on the communications/media based work of the students, it’s encouraged a strong fashion identity for the school within just one academic year - across printed material, collections, and fashion presentation.

In writing two new Fashion Communication courses I had the opportunity to build on what I had initiated within the fashion programme. I created briefs with learning structures that encourage relevant and engaged skills learning, which help to create a foundation for development of the students’ own style of communication.

With a particular emphasis on the application of industry methodology to enhance design learning and creative thinking across both undergraduate and post-graduate programmes, my teaching addresses: graphic design & branding, photography, fashion film, fashion styling, design trends, illustration, contextual & creative thinking, as well as fashion show production/promotion.

The introduction of these courses and my teaching/learning approach is something that has been noted by the external examiner, in both exam boards and reports, as having created a standard of final year visual output now comparable with MA level.

The impact of my teaching approach and practice over the 5 semesters at HWU led to being one of four lecturers nominated for the ‘innovation’ teaching award within Heriot Watt University, and being awarded the ‘Graduates Teaching Award’ for the School of Textiles and Design, 2012. Again, in 2013, I was shortlisted for a teaching award in the university. Read Less
Member Since: Nov 19, 2012