Archive for the ‘Theses’ Category

Transmitting Craft Knowledge

6 March 2010

Transmitting craft knowledge: designing interactive media to support tacit skills learning.
Nicola Wood’s PhD Thesis
, November 2006

This is a rather late entry as the thesis was examined in 2006. I’m posting it now as Nicola has recently updated her website to make the work more accessible. It’s a very engaging piece of work that has value whether you are interested in practice-led research methods, the use of video and interactive media in research and design or craft skills and how they are learned.

Download full thesis from Nicola’s website which contains a great deal of other interesting material as well. The site is also a good example for any academic or professional who wants to build their public profile.

Dr Simon Bowen

5 June 2009

I’m exceptionally pleased to announce that Simon Bowen has successfully defended his PhD thesis titled

A Critical Artefact Methodology: Using Provocative Conceptual Designs to Foster Human-centred Innovation


available online at

Simon’s work explores some practical implications of the critical design methods developed by Dunn and Raby, Bill Gaver and others. He has synthesised and evaluated ways for designers to use provocative concepts, “Crazy Ideas” as he describes them, to stimulate stakeholders to engage in productive speculation about aspirations and needs that might not be revealed by more conventional user research techniques. (more…)

Lawrence, Hospital Beds by Design

31 December 2001

Ghislaine Lawrence, PhD Thesis, London University, 2001

This thesis is of wide interest to designers and design historians as it provides a new insight into an early large-scale practical design research project, conducted by Bruce Archer’s team at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s, and also into the thinking of the early years of design research and the Design Methods movement.

Full thesis downloadable in nine .pdf files


Whiteley, An Articulated Skeletal Analogy

31 December 2000

An Articulated Skeletal Analogy of the Human Upper Limb

Graham Whiteley’s PhD Thesis from Sheffield Hallam University, 2000

This was the first practice-led design PhD at Sheffield Hallam University. Graham Whiteley is an very talented 3-D designer who set out to create an entirely new set of principles for the construction of artificial arms for robotics or prostheses. This work led directly in to my own interest in tacit knowledge and the ideas which I have subsequently published on design inquiry.

Full Thesis downloadable in 10 .pdf files archived at (see below for links)


Gedenryd, How Designers Work

31 December 1998

How Designers Work: Making Sense of Authentic Cognitive Activity

Henrik Gedenryd’s 1998 PhD Thesis from Lund University.
One of the most valuable pieces of work on designing that I have encountered, and a good source for other key texts. Unfortunately Gedenryd died after completing this work, a very sad loss and I wonder where he might have taken his knowledge if he had lived.

Thesis Contents and Downloads (10 .pdf files)