Peter Spring

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Dr Peter Spring BA(Hons), MA, PhD, FRSA, FHEA   

Senior Lecturer Product Design and Portfolio Director of MA for the School of Design and Applied Arts

Tel: 01792 481066

As Programme Director of the Product Design courses I am responsible for developing, delivering and assessing innovative design- based modules and programme content widely aimed at inspiring and establishing methods by which to create interest, understanding and enthusiasm.

Alongside developing and contributing to the development of learning and teaching strategies, understanding through the students experiences, feedback and their pastoral care, I ensure that programme design and delivery fully comply with the necessary quality and other regulations assured by the university.

Through close partnership with other creative fields, I have come to recognise that many practitioners, designers and other creative specialists are not able to display the required breadth and depth of understand­ing to propose and explore how to design practicable products. Many ‘designers’ it appears to me are ‘styling’, rather than designing. These regular experiences within daily practice lead me to concentrate my academic distinctions and creative talents in pursuing a pedagogical career and to fully contribute by helping new generations of professionals.

Design qualifications and experiences in a range of design and creative industries allowed me to develop my area of expertise in ‘design thinking’, qualitative research methods and metadesign processes. 

My areas of specialism and ambitions concentrate on exploring methods that challenge our thinking and the ways by which interactions take place and are beneficially maintained - by design. For example, my PhD focused on this idea, and I developed a model that aids the designing of beneficial interactions and cross-disciplinary working, both between individuals and between them and objects.

My interest and aims are to enlarge the idea of ‘design’ and challenge the ways we think about it. My approach to designing interactions, (i.e., Adaptive Assembly) demonstrates a cross-disciplinary approach to research and its development, framed as forms of metadesign.

As Senior Lecturer, by exploring novel and interesting ways to transform research and its methods, I seek to continue to engage students of all levels, encourage their questioning and help them to recognise that, for instance, so called ‘errors’ are in fact, entirely necessary to the design and research processes.

My approach to teaching is dedicated to developing core design skills and enterprising mindsets in student industrial designers.  I am especially interested in the diffusion of ideas, innovations and designs and the ways by which cultures and their system dynamics interact. I am dedicated to finding ways by which emerging designers and other creatives can be assisted in their development by gaining a deeper understanding of our place in the inescapable situation and complexity of natural systems. Understanding, therefore how and why evolutionary systems and the ecologies emerge, between individuals and individuals and the artefacts manifested through them can be used as a directly applicable and empirically supported teaching methodology for manipulating designerly interactions.

My interdisciplinary research has been successfully applied to enable the crossing of subject-specific fields. ‘Adaptive Assembly’, the model I developed as my thesis, was also used in the MA in Museum Studies ‘Distance Learning’: Theory and Practice, University of Leicester’s, Department of Museum Studies. Key aspects were additionally adopted and used in ‘Narrative Spaces’, an interdisciplinary museum conference held in 2010. 

I have a specialist knowledge and research interests in Design and the ways through which valuable and defined teaching pathways might be revealed; natural, evolutionary systems, bio-mimetics, cultural dynamics and material cultures.

I am currently developing my research models and their basis to explore ways by which we might orientate design and other creative education in recursively beneficial and economical ways.

Previously, I was successful in applying my research model in industrial and creative practice, I regularly employed aspects of my initial model to identify and to intervene in the often common disparity between those that often erroneously refer to design and designers, and how this problem can be innovatively challenged and informed. My recursive model for adapting behaviour and interactions was also regularly employed as a part of my company’s scheduling and design management structure. The identification of aspects of a project, such as how to structure a prototyping stage, and then, to extrapolate specific components to take forward, has enabled me to test my research in yet another way. It was intended to be in cross-disciplinary at the outset, and it has been shown to be so.

My area of specialism is in studying and employing aspects of natural systems (e.g., evolutionary systems) in order to challenge and re-frame our understanding and terms of referencing design.

My research interests focus on metadesign and design thinking, with particular concentration on designing and building creative, beneficial networks of interaction; these might be between individuals or groups and between the them and the objects we create and use.

Expert in 3Dimensional design and ‘design-thinking’ methodologies, I also have industrial experience spanning over 20 years. During this time I worked as an Art Director in Children’s Television, programme series include, Rosie and Jim, Tots TV, Brum. I have a wide knowledge of exhibition design in the field of Heritage and the Arts and latterly built up a small company designing and hand making bespoke ceramic tiles and small household products, national and international clients included The Saatchi Gallery, The National Gallery, Purves and Purves, Ann Sacks and many architects, design consultancies and many private clients too

Beautiful Creatures. Can we design exemplars of wellbeing that are self-reproducing?

Agents of Change: A Decade of Design Futures

Goldsmiths University Press. 2009

Adaptive Assembly

Vol. 1. Number 2. 2008

Journal of Writing in Creative Practice


Evolution. A Little History of a Great Idea.

Gerard Cheshire. Wooden Books. 2008

Contributing editor