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Northumbria University Public Lecture Series: Professor John Vines

Northumbria University


Professor John Vines, Professor of Design, Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University

Design Building, City Campus East, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne 

Refreshments will be available from 6pm.

Title: Co-creation, Design and Researching with Citizens


We’re at a time when Universities are being increasingly challenged about their value is to economies, their expertise in relation to political debate and educating citizens, and what their purpose is in relation to issues of societal, cultural and environmental importance. While there is a whole array of reasons for this, some of these challenges are grounded on a perception that academic research is ‘ivory tower’, that research is something that is ‘done about or to’ people and the world, and that knowledge is something to be transmitted and communicated by experts rather than co-produced.

In this talk, Professor Vines will explore alternate ways of framing relationships, focused on examples of design research that attempts to meaningfully co-create knowledge and outputs. He will discuss how a current trend to encourage citizen involvement in research by the large research councils ignores a long history of socially and civically engaged design and technology research, where there is often a focus on citizen participation and a concern with improving the lived, social and work conditions of potentially marginalised groups. Through both historical examples and his current projects, Vines will unpick both the value and values of doing research with citizens, what it means to involve publics and communities in speculating futures and co-creating knowledge, and what the responsibilities are for Universities in operating between citizen groups, NGOs, public and industrial sectors around societal issues. He will make a case for why designers – and in particular designers of digital technologies – have an important role to play in these processes, especially in relation to co-designing future products, services and systems that advocate for human needs and values.

About the Speaker

John Vines is a leading researcher in the field of human computer interaction and participatory design, where his research focuses on studying how people experience, appropriate and use digital technologies in their everyday lives. His research focuses on the study of how people experience and use digital technologies in their everyday lives and often takes a research through design approach, which involves designing new digital prototypes and artefacts.

Professor Vines has an ongoing interest in human experience and technology design as it relates to self-care, trust, security and empathic communication, focussing on ways in which digital technologies might support new interactions and engagements between people in relation to these issues, rather than be used to replace human contact. He is currently working on a range of projects involving the design of technologies with communities, examining issues such as social isolation among carers, intergenerational conversation around dementia, advice and information sharing in health support groups, advocacy and the measuring of outcomes in charities, and community decision making around care services.

He moved to Northumbria University at the start of 2017, having previously worked at Newcastle University’s Open Lab, with whom he still closely works. John is the lead of Northumbria’s IDEATE multi-disciplinary research theme which is exploring collaborative and critically informed approaches to design innovation, and co-leads the newly established Co-Creation Lab in the Northumbria School of Design.

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Event Details

Northumbria University
City Campus East
Design Building
Newcastle upon Tyne



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