Tom Fisher – Principal Investigator

Tom Fisher is Research Coordinator for the School of Art and Design, representing research on the School Executive Group. In this role he wrote and developed NTU’s submission to REF Unit of Assessment D34, Art and Design, History, Theory and Practice, working across the college to include colleagues in the Sustainable Consumption and Product Design research groups.

He has led research funded by the AHRC and Defra, participating in work funded by WRAP. He is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and reviews research bids for AHRC, ESRC and EPSRC. He is a member of the Design Research Society Council and leads the Special Interest Group OPEN (Objects, Practices, Experiences, Networks).

He applies his expertise in Art and Design research training to his teaching on the School’s Masters courses, as well as the university’s credit-bearing Professional Research Practice course. He has supervised 18 PhDs to completion and is currently supervising five students.

Tom’s research is distinctive in its span of disciplines, building from his direct experience of craft practice through theory and methods from the human sciences – he has been published in Design History and Archaeology. His work in sustainable design means he works closely with the Sustainable Consumption Research Group. His background in craft practice has been a platform for a strong connection to the Digital Craft and Embodied Knowledge research group.


Janis Jeffries – Co-Investigator

Janis Jefferies is an artist, writer and curator, Professor of Visual Arts and Research, Research Fellow at the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles, Artistic Director of Goldsmiths Digital Studios. She is currently the associate pro warden for culture and creative industries. She convenes the PhD in Arts and Computational Technology and advises Goldsmiths Graduate School on practice based research across the College. She has supervised and co supervised 13 practice based PhD students to successful completion and examined 22 others around the world. She has supervised and supported over 255 students at M level since 1990 in her capacity as Head of MA Textiles and then Head of Visual Arts (until 2004). Since 2009 she has been involved with an Erasmus exchange project (2009-2011) with the Academy of Fine Art, Athens, Paris 8 and Valencia University for MFA student summer workshops around arts and technology.

Jefferies was trained as a painter (Sheffield School of Art, Maidstone College of Art and Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts) and in woven construction (Poznan Academy of Fine Arts, Poland). On return to the UK in 1978 she pioneered the field of contemporary textiles within visual and material culture. She is recognised by her peers as one of the leading practitioner /theorists of her generation, through solo exhibitions of work (UK, Poland, America, Canada and Australia), conferences and professional seminars (e.g. UK, America, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Estonia. Lithuania, Russia), and artist residencies at the Universities of Wollongong and Newcastle (Australia), visiting professorships at Art Institute of Chicago, and University of South Australia, 37 exhibitions (5 solo shows), curatorial work (14 since 1979), 4 journal publications, 10 catalogue essays for artists of international standing, 2 edited books and several chapter contributions to anthologies distributed by Manchester and Edinburgh University Presses, Telos Art Publishing, Berg Publishers, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA. She was one of the founding editors for Berg publishers of Textile; The Journal of Cloth and Culture.


Adam Drazin – Co-Investigator

Adam Drazin is an anthropologist who works on design and with designers. He obtained his PhD in anthropology at UCL in 2001, on the material culture of care in Romania. For the last three years, he has been lecturing in Ireland at Trinity College Dublin on themes including material culture, globalisation and migration, gender and the home.

Adam is running the MA programme in Materials Anthropology Design at UCL. He aims to promote the broad spectrum of ways in which anthropology engages with design and materials, and explore how dialogues with institutions in the private and public sectors can advance anthropological understandings, particularly through the use of object-focussed design methodologies.

In the past, he has conducted postdoctoral research in Ireland on Irish-romanian homes and constructions of openness, and has worked as a design anthropologist with engineers and designers in companies including Intel and HP Labs. This latter work has included work on memory and remembering, the material culture of ageing, and the intersection of mobility and isolation in later life. He has also lectured in anthropology at NUI Maynooth and Dublin Business School; and has taught ethnographic methodologies to design students at the RCA in London, NCAD Dublin, and TU/e Eindhoven. He is an external examiner for the Glasgow School of Art’s BDes and MDes programmes, and has published in a number of journals and collections.


Camilla Sundwall – Research Assistant

Camilla Sundwall trained as a product designer at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and her work has a key emphasis towards materials, their specific properties and possible applications. She works as a designer and materials researcher whilst undertaking a PhD in anthropology at UCL. Her research is focused on cultures of materials in design; the implications, methods and uses of materials expertise within an industrial design context, analysing how this expertise is learned, managed and manipulated in such ways that it can be shared with, anticipated and recognised by consumers. In investigating design ethnographically she aims to get to the core of where materials are discussed, selected and applied in a mass-manufacturing context. One aspect of the research is to understand how materials translate between different cultures and what role nationality and heritage have for the design decisions and CMF (colour, material, finishing) selection.