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Research

At Northumbria School of Design we conduct design-led research with an emphasis on practice, understanding and redefining problems, and making positive real-world change.

Much of our research in the School of Design is built on long-term collaborations with citizens and communities, and includes partnerships with a range of non-profit, public and commercial partners. While our research is diverse in nature, the School has three research themes that much of our work aligns with:

These themes are underpinned by strengths in core areas of design expertise which include craft futures, design fiction, fashion cultures, human-computer interaction, participatory design, responsible innovation, service design and social design.

We bring researchers, design professionals and our external collaborators together in a number of ways, both within the University as research groups, and outside Northumbria through running forums and events that aim to develop and grow networks. Our initiatives in the School of Design include: CoCreate, a multi-disciplinary research group with an emphasis on participatory forms of research and social and interaction design; the Digital Disruption Network, a research network where organisations and academics invent the future of digital technology together; and the Northumbria DESIS Lab part of the global DESIS network of design schools working to promote and deliver design-led social innovation for sustainability. 

Northumbria School of Design established the Research Through Design conference series and the Design and Semantic of Form and Movement (DeSForM) conference series and is a key constituting member of Northumbria Practice Research Group.

Our research is a key contributor to Northumbria’s Multidisciplinary Research Themes (MDRT) which brings together expertise from across the University to address the pressing regional, societal and global challenges of this century and beyond. We work closely with the Human and Digital Design and the Integrated and Social Care MDRTs.

Explore our range of projects and collaborations on our dedicated Northumbria Design Research website

Research Themes

Design + Wellbeing

Our research within the Design + Wellbeing theme includes work that explores the ways carefully designed artefacts, services and systems can promote wellbeing, as well as research that explores the benefits to wellbeing that comes from engaging in making, collaborative design and creative practice.

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Design + Business and Publics

Our research with businesses and publics explores the ways design processes, methods and techniques can lead to innovative new ideas and value creation for organisations and society.

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Design + Making and Materials

Our design research on making and materials concerns materialities, the cultural value and benefits of making in society, and the effects emerging technologies and materials may have on design, making and craft practices.

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Research Themes


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Explore Design Research

Find out more about our research, staff and collaborations that takes place in the School of Design on our dedicated Design Research website. 

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Postgraduate Research Degrees

We have a vibrant postgraduate research community with over 60 PhD students working in issues related to design methods, theory and practice across all our areas of design expertise. Find out about what we can offer. 

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Postgraduate Taught Research

Our MRes in Design offers an opportunity to carry out original, in-depth design research, aimed at equipping students for further academic study at doctoral level or to work as a researcher in related industries.

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