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Meet Your Programme Lead - Stuart English

Discover more about our Design Management MA lead academic's career, links with industry and what he likes about teaching on this distance learning course.

Can you tell us about your background and your experience in relation to this Design Management course?

During my career, I have designed many innovative products and I'm experienced in writing patents, many of which are granted worldwide. However, my career started in the 80s when I trained as an industrial designer before going on to practise with Design4 Plastics, SilentNight Holdings and Joyce Loebl. Following this, I joined Marchant Filer Dixon, where I worked as a consultant industrial designer and designed products of engineering content. It was after this role, in 1990, that I co-founded GlenelgProduct Design - a design consultancy that specialises in producing innovative product and packaging design solutions, taking ideas from concept to production.

I joined Northumbria University as a programme leader for the BA (Hons) Design for Industry course in the 90s, before writing our School’s first distance learning course in 1999. Since then, I have have been leader on a number of Masters programmes, and gained the position of director of taught postgraduate. I am currently the director of enterprise and engagement for the School of Design.


What is your particular area of academic expertise, and why are you passionate about it?

My particular area of academic expertise is in design thinking and design driven innovation. My PhD by publication focuses on innovation as a consequence of how we think about problems and situations. Unlike some other design thinking researchers, I take a radical constructivist standpoint on creative practice, which is philosophically different from describing design in terms of reason. I am passionate about the whole philosophical standpoint of design, which I think raises many questions and opportunities for the future of humanity.


Are you involved in any wider projects or partnerships within industry at present?

I am currently writing a book that describes a unique form of design innovation method, and we will work with some of these tools during this course’s Design Thinking module. I also continue to work closely with industry and help companies to apply Multiple Perspectives Problem Framing  (MPPF) methods in business and commercial situations, particularly in relation to consumer products and healthcare technologies.


Why should people choose this distance learning Design Management MA programme?

Our Design Management Masters considers design as a fundamental standpoint on the world, which is not limited by traditional disciplines within the design sector. We’ve designed the course to ensure that your learning is transferable and can be applied in many business and organisational situations. You will learn a variety of methods and approaches that are not intended simply as theoretical ideas, but as practical tools. We will encourage you to apply all you have learned in the context of your own personal professional practice and to collect evidence of this as part of your reflective journal. There is also an opportunity to discuss design management ideas and concepts with both academic specialists and other students on a weekly basis; this will help you to embed your learning and interpret it in relation to your own practice and the experience of others.


What excites you most about teaching on the distance learning Design Management MA programme?

For me, the most exciting thing about teaching design is having the opportunity to work with people who will create the future, and, whilst creating the future, they also create themselves - this is an incredibly rewarding experience.


What can students expect to leave with after completing the course, and how will this transform their lives?

Design is a different way of thinking about the world. It puts you in charge of your own perception and enables you to be proactive in the creation of future realities. It is not only concerned with the objective world of business and society but also the subjective world of personal awareness. You can expect to graduate with a developed ability to lead design innovation in business and organisations and to create human, societal and economic value in the professional contexts you encounter.


Find out more about our Design Management MA here.




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