I am a Senior Lecturer working within the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA) where I teach on the BA (Hons) Product Design and Product Design: Furniture courses. I am also actively involved as a design researcher in the Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC).
Following an early career in the creative industries I returned to university and graduated, with Distinction, from an AHRC funded MA in Industrial Design in 2008.The experience gained in my early career, combined with further study has given me great experience and a broad knowledge base to draw on in both my teaching and research activities.
Following a twelve-year career in the London fashion and textile industry, predominantly involved in the design and production of menswear, I moved to Sheffield where I worked organizing large-scale music events and live Internet broadcasts. I returned to university and graduated, with Distinction, from an AHRC funded MA in Industrial Design in 2008. Since then I have worked as a design researcher within the Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC) and I am now also a Senior Lecturer teaching on the BA (Hons) Product Design and Product Design: Furniture courses.
The experience gained in my early career, combined with further study has given me great experience and a broad knowledge base to draw on in both my teaching and research. I have been part of a wide range of funded research, which have involved working with older people, people with dementia, non-professional carers, looked-after children and people with spinal cord injury. This work has used a variety of creative methods including stop-frame animation, visual metaphor and design thinking. I have also been actively involved in the design and implementation of several research related exhibitions, both in the UK and internationally.
A common thread throughout the projects I have been part of is narrative, enabling people to tell their own story in their own way. This theme is also apparent in my personal research interests, but here the narrative extends to the stories of places and things as well as people. I am currently involved in research that looks at how practices of care and maintenance might be used to extend the life of particular objects and domestic spaces; more specifically my focus is around the decline of home maintenance as a popular pastime and asks how consumers might be encouraged to ‘care’ in this way once again.
Department of Art and Design
Business, Technology and Enterprise
Art & Design / Product & Furniture Design
BA (Hons) & MDes Product Design
BA (Hons) & MDes Furniture Design
Design for Manufacture
Advanced Design Principles
Graduation Minor Project
Graduation Project Short (Module Leader)
Graduation Major Project
- Art and Design Research Centre
- Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute
Doing it for Ourselves
Caring for Places a Things
SHINE –Design in Rehab
Exhibition in a Box
ADRC, Health Foundation, The ZHAW, Switzerland, Chang Gung University, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan, British Council PMI CONNECT
Wolstenholme, D., Downes, T., Leaver, J., Partridge, R., & Langley, J. (2014). Improving self-efficacy in spinal cord injury patients through "design thinking" rehabilitation workshops. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports, 3 (1). http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjquality.u205728.w2340
Gwilt, A., Leaver, J., Fisher, M., & Young, G. (2017). Understanding the caring practices of users. In Cooper, T., Braithwaite, N., Moreno, M., & Salvia, G. (Eds.) Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE), Nottingham Trent University, 17 June 2015 - 19 June 2015. Nottingham Trent University: http://www.plateconference.org/understanding-caring-practices-users/