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Professor Mark Bailey


Department: Northumbria School of Design

Mark Bailey is Professor of Design-led Innovation and Head of Design Research and Knowledge Exchange. 

His research is interested in the facilitatory role of design to promote the co-creation of new knowledge and understanding in complex, multidisciplinary situations. Taking an integrated academic practice approach he has created environments and approaches that enable students to learn whilst working as co-researchers engaged in authentic, research-enriched, and enriching, education and knowledge exchange.

Mark established the Responsible Design Innovation Practice research group, a community of practice which brings together academics from across Northumbria’s School of Design and Newcastle Business School, alongside researchers and students from the unique MA/MSc Multidisciplinary Innovation (MDI) programme which he wrote, led and has overseen since its launch in 2008. Through this group he has secured, since 2013, over £1.3m Research Council and contract research funding and delivered strategic innovation support to around 90 external enterprises ranging from start-up charities to Fortune 500 global corporations. With the group he has published extensively on design-led responsible innovation practice and education.

He has recently been Northumbria University's academic lead in a c.£6m collaboration with the four other North East universities: Creative Fuse North East. This work is focused on developing multidisciplinary innovation capability and capacity amongst the region's Creative Cultural Digital and IT sectors. He has also led a British Council-funded partnership with the American University of Armenia to develop design-led enterprise education in the country. This work has resulted in Bailey and his team authoring Enterprise education Policy recommendations for the Armenian Prime Minister and the Ministry of Education and Science.

Bailey is co-investigator in an EU-funded Horizon 2020, project, Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3 (GETM3), involving a consortium of European and South Korean universities working in partnership with employers to explore mismatches in the alignment of entrepreneurial graduate expectations with those of employers, and to consider the role that universities might play in bridging the gap. Now in its second phase (as GETM4), the consortium has expanded to include 18 partners in 9 countries including Chile, Kenya and North Macedonia, and Bailey is leading the Higher Education Innovations workstream.

Mark Bailey

Mark's research is about the practices of design that enable multidisciplinary groups to work creatively together to address stubborn and complex challenges in pursuit of positive change. Specifically, through my research I have helped shape the development of the new field of multidisciplinary innovation practice and pedagogy, and demonstrated how design-led, enquiry-based, cooperative learning develops new knowledge and meaning at the intersection of disciplinary boundaries. He believes that whatever form a designed output takes, it is a manifestation of synthesised knowledge crystallised as a version of certainty at the moment of its completion. Furthermore, that synthesised knowledge is a crystallisation of the multiple compromises, creatively made in the artistry of reaching that temporal certainty. 

The unique, experimental and innovative Master’s programme in Multidisciplinary Innovation programme that Mark established capitalises on this concept of design as knowledge creation. 

As a pragmatic academic, his approach has been an entirely integrated one and this is evidenced by his creation of an Integrated Academic Practice (IAP) model. With this he established and leads environments that enable high quality authentic, cooperative, enquiry-based learning and excellent practice-based research undertaken through business engagement operating at the heart of the research/teaching nexus.

Employing this IAP model, he has led collaborations with multiple organisations including Unilever, Mars, Philips and Herman Miller as well as many SMEs, start-ups and charities. These collaborations allow the academic team to develop and deploy new knowledge regarding the role of design within enterprises whilst simultaneously affording students the opportunity to learn through addressing real-world issues that really matter to the partner organisation.

Mark has worked in Higher Education for more than 20 years having previously spent ten years leading design and development projects in the Aerospace industry where he worked on advanced passenger and business jet concepts as well as designing bespoke private jet interiors. He has also led a small design consultancy business. A highlight of his early consultancy career was as part of the design team that designed the best-selling ‘Little Professor’ for Texas Instruments!

He supervised a Knowledge Transfer Partnership embedding Service Design methodology within Age UK Newcastle which won the Research Councils of UK Knowledge Base Impact Award in 2013. He has led the School of Design’s Cultural Partnership with the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) of which he is a Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has contributed to the Pure Insight Innovation Leaders programme delivering on the subject of ‘Smart Failing’ to delegates from companies such as Mars, Pepsico, Telefonica O2, Astra Zeneca, Birds Eye, Coca Cola, Carlsberg, Philips and GSK.

Through his Integrated Academic Practice approach, over the past decade, Mark has worked, with some 70+ different companies across 3rd, public and private sectors. These have included BBC, Philips, Mars, Bower and Wilkins, Unilever, Age UK, Northumbrian Water Group, Fendor, NCVS, Berghaus, Northumbria Police, Sonoco Alcore, Elddis and the Parking Appeals Tribunal to name but a few.

Over a decade of working in partnership with Unilever, characterises the value of this sort of unique research and educational partnership:

Mark is interested in the role of the designer as orchestrator, facilitator and translator within multidisciplinary innovation teams. He is particularly interested the role of education in this regard. He is concerned with developing knowledge around and approaches to design and innovation practice and education with reference to organisational settings with a particular emphasis on multidisciplinary activism and the role of the designer/design approaches in facilitating innovation in teams of ‘non-designers’. His work is involved with pedagogical approaches to broad spectrum design activity ranging from service and system design through brand strategy to artefact.

As Northumbria’s Principle Investigator in both phase 1 and phase 2 of the AHRC/ERDF/ACE funded c.£6m collaborative research programme Creative Fuse North East programme, Mark has employed his Integrated Academic Practice approach to enable post graduate innovation students to act as co-investigators in developing and deploying innovation readiness workshops with regional small businesses.

Mark sees value in design education for ‘non-designers’ recognising the critical importance of establishing creative confidence as a key employability attribute. To this end, he is also an active co-investigator in the €1m EU funded Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3 programme (, through which he is exploring the role of designerly pedagogies in preparing graduates, outside design disciplines, for jobs that don’t yet exist.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Final degree shows: culmination or invitation?, Simmons, H., Bailey, M., Spencer, N., Hemstock, O., Mutambo, N. 7 Sep 2023, DS 123, Glasgow, The Design Society
  • Taking the pulse of responsible design: exhibitions as a critical discourse venue, Simmons, H., Bailey, M., Spencer, N. 7 Sep 2023, DS 123, Glasgow, The Design Society
  • Creativity and the Trauma of COVID-19: How do Foundation Level Art and Design Students Navigate a Liminal Journey during a Pandemic?, Robertson, E., Thomas, J., Bailey, M. May 2022, In: International Journal of Art & Design Education
  • Design-led Innovation Readiness: priming small to medium-sized enterprises for strategic innovation, Bailey, M., Spencer, N., Carrion-Weiss, J., Arakelyan, A., Carter, A. 25 Apr 2022, Academic Design Management Conference ADMC22
  • Design-led Innovation Readiness: priming micro SMEs for strategic innovation, Arakelyan, A., Carrion-Weiss, J., Carter, A., Bailey, M., Spencer, N. 2022, In: Design Management Journal
  • Design Listening: what designers hear and how they respond, Carrion-Weiss, J., Bailey, M., Spencer, N. 7 Dec 2022, [ ] With Design: Reinventing Design Modes, Singapore, Springer
  • Innovation Constellations as a systems approach to social design infrastructuring, Spencer, N., Simmons, H., Bailey, M., Hemstock, O., Carrion-Weiss, J. 20 Jul 2022, In: Academic Design Management Conference Proceedings
  • Multidisciplinary innovation Armenia: explorations in design-led multidisciplinary enterprise education, Bailey, M., Spencer, N., Carrion-Weiss, J., Arakelyan, A. 8 Sep 2022, DS 117: Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2022), London South Bank University in London, UK. 8th - 9th September 2022, The Design Society
  • Three degrees of influence in virtual workshops: towards an understanding of co-creative facilitation practice in technologically mediated settings, Hemstock, O., Bailey, M., Spencer, N., Simmons, H., Coombs, S., Carrion-Weiss, J., Richardson, C. 25 Jun 2022, Proceedings of DRS2022 Bilbao, London, Design Research Society

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Creative Spark partnerhsip fund, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), British Council, 05/11/20 - 30/06/23, £19,951.00
  • Creative Fuse North East (AHRC funded), Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Newcastle University, 01/02/20 - 31/07/22, 0.00
  • ERDF: Creative Fuse North East 2 (see also CRP0755 AHRC), Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Newcastle University, 01/02/20 - 31/07/22, 0.00
  • Creative Spark Partnership Fund Year 2, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), British Council, 01/11/18 - 30/06/20, £29,978.00
  • Creative Spark: Get Ready to Innovate Armenia, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), British Council, 09/10/18 - 31/07/19, £49,924.00
  • AMEX Product Summit consultancy, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), American Express Europe, 01/10/18 - 12/10/18, £7,570.00
  • Project Legacy Sprint, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Northumbrian Water, 08/05/17 - 12/05/17, £2,000.00
  • Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3 MSCA RISE Project No 734824, Pearce, A. (Principal Investigator), Bailey, M. (Co Investigator), European Commission, 14/12/16 - 30/12/20, £769,355.00
  • Creativity Works (ERDF), Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), European Commission, 01/06/16 - 28/01/19, £229,779.00
  • Creative Fuse North East, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Arts & Humanities Research Council, 01/01/16 - 31/12/17, £468,671.00

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Participating in a conference, workshop, ...: 25th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education 2023
  • Organising a conference, workshop, ...: National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange (NCACE) 2023
  • Organising a conference, workshop, ...: GRTI Armenia 2022
  • Publication Peer-review: The MIT Press (Publisher) 2022
  • Invited talk: Design inspired enterprise education 2021
  • Publication Peer-review: Devoconnect (Publisher) 2021
  • Invited talk: INACADE 2021, International Academic on Contemporary Art & Design, BINUS University, Jakarta, Indonesia. 2021
  • Organising a conference, workshop, ...: The Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management On-line Conference 2020
  • Consultancy: Enterprise Education Policy Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations in the Republic of Armenia 2019
  • Organising a conference, workshop, ...: British Council Enterprise education Policy Dialogue workshop 2019

  • Justine Carrion-Weiss Towards an understanding of the outcomes of rapid design interventions on participants and organisations Start Date: 01/10/2019 End Date: 14/06/2023
  • Elaine Robertson Situational influences: Creative understanding and identity in a transitional art and design FE context. Start Date: 01/09/2023
  • Helen Simmons Start Date: 01/10/2023
  • Justine Carrion-Weiss Towards an understanding of the outcomes of rapid design interventions on participants and organisations Start Date: 01/10/2019 End Date: 14/06/2023
  • Alexandra Tinning Exploring Critical Design Practice to unmask, challenge and shift culturally held beliefs about mental health. Start Date: 13/09/2022

  • Design Studies DPhil March 31 2021
  • Design Studies MA June 30 2015
  • Industrial Design BA (Hons) June 30 1988
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2002

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