Skip navigation

Helen Simmons

Postgraduate Associate

Department: Northumbria School of Design

My work explores the nature of design infrastructuring for social innovation. What spaces, roles, policies, tools, languages and practices enable an organisation to be truly innovative and entrepreneurial at all levels? I’d like to understand this to know how we can help individuals within communities to grow the confidence, agency and skills to be able to address their own needs and desires, creating a culture of sustainable social innovation.

I am interested in how to create a vibrant and fruitful research culture within a design school and through micro projects am exploring the role of a design school promoting social justice within a civic university.

I am keen to develop new models of pedagogy making use of innovative technologies and accommodating different learning styles. I believe that providing students with experiential learning opportunities, collaborating with uncommon combinations of organisations and people, will create the environment where we can joinly take positive action on the grand challenges of the modern world.

As Senior Research Assistant on the Arts and Humanities Research Council and European Regional Development Fund supported programme Creative Fuse North East, I design and co-facilitate creative workshops and internship programmes with business owners of cross-sector small to medium enterprises helping them identify how they might innovate within or between their organisations.

My practice-based research is multidisciplinary in its approach and is grounded in values of inclusivity, accessibility empowerment and kindness.

I am currently working on the Creative Fuse North East research programme and co-producing the Designamite Podcast which explores the research, teaching and practice of Northumbria's School of Design.

Helen Simmons

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Innovation Constellations as a systems approach to social design infrastructuring, Spencer, N., Simmons, H., Bailey, M., Hemstock, O., Carrion-Weiss, J. 3 Aug 2022, dmi: ADMC2022: Design as a Strategic Asset, Cambridge, US, Design Management Institute
  • 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
  • Participating in a conference, workshop, ...: Relationship-Centred Practice 2022
  • Participating in a conference, workshop, ...: Design Feminisms 2022
  • Organising a conference, workshop, ...: Creative Fuse North East Conference 2022
  • Organising a conference, workshop, ...: Pint of Science 2022
  • Participating in a conference, workshop, ...: Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD) Annual Conference 2022

  • Design Studies MA September 30 2021
  • Other Courses BSc (Hons) January 01 1998
  • Other Courses BSc (Hons) January 01 1998

Our Staff


a sign in front of a crowd
+

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

Research at Northumbria
+

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

NU World
+

Explore NU World

Find out what life here is all about. From studying to socialising, term time to downtime, we’ve got it covered.


Latest News and Features

Newcastle quayside cityscape at dusk

The Power of Five

How the North East’s universities are working together to help drive forward the Levelling…

a headshot image of Andy Smith smiling at the camera with an image of the sun in the background
Care leavers covenant
Auschwitz-Birkenau
Jacinda Ardern. Photo Credit NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Creative writing lecturer, May Sumbwanyambe, from the department of Humanities at Northumbria.
More news

Back to top