I studied Industrial Design at The University of Teesside and then worked in industry as an in-house designer, a design manager and then as a director of a design consultancy. I later gained a Masters Degree in the History of Design from Middlesex University and a PhD from the University of Huddersfield. I have spoken at a number of international conferences around the world on Design History, Design Theory and Design Practice, and have written books and had articles published in a number of international design journals.
I am an industrial designer, design historian and design educator. I trained initially as a mechanical and production engineer before studying Industrial Design at The University of Teesside. I then worked in industry as an in-house designer, a design manager and then as a director of a design consultancy. When I became a design educator I studied the History of Design at Middlesex University. My work on the social history of computing technology eventually led to a PhD from the University of Huddersfield. I have spoken at a number of international conferences around the world about Design History, Design Theory and Design Practice, have written books and had articles published in a number of international design journals. My most recent significant publications include the books ‘Computer’ (Reaktion, 2010) and ‘Delete: A Design History of Computer Vapourware’ (Bloomsbury, 2013).
My academic research covers a wide variety of subjects, all concerned in one way or another with the relationship between society and technology. The relationship between people and technological artefacts is explored through my writings on the design history of computers. The impact of the society-technology relationship on the design profession is explored through my writings on professional vs amateur design, including work on the history of Do-It-Yourself and Open Design. The future impact of emerging technologies on the nature of design is explored through my practice-based research into Post Industrial Manufacturing.
Specialist areas of interest
Design History of Computing, Post Industrial Manufacturing, Amateur vs Professional Design, Open Design
Department of Design
Science, Technology and Arts
Postgraduate, Product and Furniture
MA Design, BA Product Design
Theory Supporting Practice, Design Principles
- Art and Design Research Centre
- Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute
The Spectacle of Computing
The Design History of the Electric Guitar Seabreeze: A creative heritage engagement toolkit
ATKINSON, Paul (2018). Born in the USA: The geographical, temporal and cultural displacement of the cigar box guitar. In: Design and Displacement, Parsons School of Design, New York, 6-8th September 2018. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2018). Hairy guys in sheds: the rough and ready world of DIY cigar box guitar makers. Design and Culture.
DI LUCCHIO, Loredana, IMBESI, Lorenzo and ATKINSON, Paul, eds. (2017). Design for Next: Proceedings of the 12th European Academy of Design Conference, Sapienza University of Rome, 12-14 April 2017. Abingdon, Oxford, Informa UK Limited.
ATKINSON, Paul (2017). ‘The Robots are Coming!’: Perennial problems with technological progress. The Design Journal, 20 (Sup 1), S4120-S4131.
ATKINSON, Paul (2016). At the push of a button : the utopian futures of computer-aided everyday life. In: “How We Live, and How we Might Live": Design and the Spirit of Critical Utopianism. The DHS Annual Conference 2015, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California, September 11-13th, 2015. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2016). The ICDHS : where do we go from here? In: CALVERA, Anna, WOODHAM, Jonathan M and BARBOSA, Helena, (eds.) Reflections on Design History and Design Studies 1999-2016 : Celebrating the ICDHS 10th Anniversary. Aveiro, Portugal, UA Editoria, Universidad de Aveiro, 71-73.
DOGU, D, PINTO, R, OZCAN, A, VIERA, J, ATKINSON, Paul and CARVALHAIS, M (2016). Designing research tools : empirical knowledge as a base for future beekeeping. In: “Survival”: UD16, 5th Phd In Design Research Meeting, Aveiro, Portugal, 22-23 July 2016. (Unpublished)
PHILLIPS, Robert, DEXTER, Matt, BAURLEY, Sharon and ATKINSON, Paul (2016). Standard deviation : standardization and quality control in the mash-up era. Disegno : TheJournal of Design Culture, 3 (1-2), 96-117.
VALENTINE, Louise, BORJA DE MOZOTA, Brigitte, NELSON, Julien, MERTER, Sevi and ATKINSON, Paul, eds. (2016). The Value of Design Research : Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design, Paris Descartes University, Institute of Psychology, Boulogne Billancourt, France, 22-24 April 2015. Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University/European Academy of Design.
PINTO, Raul, ATKINSON, Paul, VIEIRA, Joaquim and CARVALHAIS, Miguel (2015). Designing with biological generative systems : choice by emotion. In: CLIFFORD, Alison, CARVALHAIS, Miguel and VERDICCHIO, Mario, (eds.) xCoAx 2015: Proceedings of the Third Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics and X, Glasgow. Universidade do Porto, 289-295.
ATKINSON, Paul, BATEMAN, Roger, GWILT, Alison and HANSON, Maria (2015). Space|Time|Place : enabling participation in design research for higher education staff. In: The Value of Design Research, 11th International European Academy of Design Conference, Paris, 22-24th April 2015. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul, HOLMES, Violeta and MCDERMOTT, Catherine (2015). Evaluation of the ‘Be Innovative’ Design and Electronic Engineering Challenge 2014 and Chinese students’ response. In: Controversy and Conformity: 25 years of transforming the academy, Sheffield Hallam University, 27 February 2015. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2014). ENIAC versus Colossus and the early presentation of electronic computers. In: 2014 Annual Design History Society Conference : Design for War and Peace, Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford, 4th-6th September 2014. (Unpublished)
FARIAS, Priscila and ATKINSON, Paul, eds. (2014). Design Frontiers. Territories, Concepts, Technologies. Mexico, Editorial Designio.
ATKINSON, Paul (2014). 3D Printing: the new universal tool of the future? In: 3D printers - drivers of innovation in the creative industry and production: additive manufacturing helps creative services to new opportunities, Vienna, Austria, 5 March 2014. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2014). Cultures, classifications, counsel and the value of design research. Design Journal, 17 (4), 485-487.
PINTO, Raul, VIEIRA, Miguel, CARVALHAIS, Miguel and ATKINSON, Paul (2014). How do we relate to unconventional artefacts? : Designing with biological generative systems aimed at customization. In: PAIVA, Francisco and MOURA, Catarina, (eds.) Designa 2014: Desire : Proceedings : International Conference on Design Research = Desejo : Proceedings : Conferência Internacional de Investigação em Design. Covilhã, Portugal, Universidade da Beira Interior, 301-308.
ATKINSON, Paul (2014). Room with a VDU: The Development of the ‘Glass House’ in the Corporate Workplace. Interiors, 5 (1), 89-115.
PHILIPS, R, DEXTER, Matt, ATKINSON, Paul and BAURLEY, S (2013). Standard deviation - ensuring quality and replicability in Open Design practice. In: The Knowledge Exchange Conference 2013, Lancaster, 26-27th September 2013. (Unpublished)
PINTO, Raul, CARVALHAIS, Miguel and ATKINSON, Paul (2013). Sistemas Generativos Biológicos: Ferramentas De Produção Para A Individualização (Generative Biological Systems: Production Tools For Individualization). In: UDesign'13 - 2º Encontro Nacional de Doutoramentos em Design. Porto, Portugal, Universidad de Porto, 254-259.
DEXTER, Matt, ATKINSON, Paul and DEARDEN, Andrew (2013). Open design and cystic fibrosis: enabling participation in the design process. In: 2nd European Conference on Design4Health, Sheffield Hallam University, 3-5th July 2013. online e-book, Sheffield Hallam University. (Unpublished)
CRUICKSHANK, Leon and ATKINSON, Paul (2013). Closing in on open design: comparing casual and critical design challenges. In: Proceedings of the 10th European Academy of Design Conference, Gothenburg. [Gothenburg], University of Gothnburg/European Academy of Design.
PINTO, Raul, CARVALHAIS, Miguel and ATKINSON, Paul (2013). Generative designing with biological systems - searching for production tools aimed at individualization. In: Proceedings of the 10th European Academy of Design Conference, Gothenburg. [Gothenburg], University of Gothenburg/European Academy of Design.
DEXTER, Matt, ATKINSON, Paul and DEARDEN, Andrew (2013). Open design and medical products: irreconcilable differences, or natural bedfellows? In: Proceedings of the 10th European Academy of Design Conference, Gothenburg. [Gothenburg], University of Gothenburg/European Academy of Design.
ATKINSON, Paul, MARSHALL, Justin, UNVER, Ertu and DEAN, Lionel, T (2012). I did it my way: user engagement in post industrial manufacturing. In: IPSER, C, (ed.) Fabvolution: Developments in Digital Fabrication. Barcelona, Institut de Cultura – Disseny Hub Barcelona, 81-87.
ATKINSON, Paul (2012). Vapourware and the agency of ideas. In: FARIAS, Priscila Lena, BRAGA, Marcos, CALVERA, Anna and SCHINCARIOL, Zuleica, (eds.) Design frontiers : territories, concepts, technologies. Sao Paulo, Brazil, Blucher, 576-579.
ATKINSON, Paul (2011). Open design: How the end of exclusivity will affect the future of design. In: Business and Design Lab Seminar, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 5 October 2011. (Unpublished)
DEXTER, Matt, ATKINSON, Paul and DEARDEN, Andrew (2011). Health products; designed with, not for, end users. In: YOXALL, Alaster, (ed.) Proceedings of the 1st European Conference on Design 4 Health, Sheffield. Sheffield Hallam University, 110-121.
BATEMAN, Roger, ATKINSON, Paul and RODDIS, Jim (2011). From academy to industry to user : engaging stakeholders in sustainable material development. In: COELHO DA ROCHA BARTOLO, Helena Maria, (ed.) Proceedings of SIM2011: Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing. Leiria, Portugal, IST Press, 729-736.
ATKINSON, Paul (2011). Ghosts of the profession : open design and post industrial manufacturing. In: TRAUTENBERGER, G, (ed.) Open Design. CIS.doc (4). Graz, Austria, Creative Industries Styria, 18-20.
ATKINSON, Paul, MARSHALL, Justin, UNVER, Ertu and DEAN, Lionel Theodore (2011). I did it my way: user engagement in post industrial manufacturing. In: COELHO DA ROCHA BARTOLO, Helena Maria, (ed.) Proceedings of SIM2011: Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing. Leiria, Portugal, IST Press, 679-687.
ATKINSON, Paul (2011). Orchestral manoeuvres in design. In: VAN ABLE, Bas, EVERS, Lucas, KLAASSEN, Roel and TROXLER, Peter, (eds.) Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive. Amsterdam, BIS Publishers, 24-31.
ATKINSON, Paul (2011). Post industrial manufacturing : the impact of emerging production technologies on design. In: ATKINSON, Paul, (ed.) Designing impact! : approaches to applied research. Beijing, Foreign Languages Press, 170-179.
ATKINSON, Paul (2010). All that glitters is not gold : craft jewellery and digital manufacturing. In: GIMENO MARTINEZ, Javier and FLORE, Fredie, (eds.) Design and Craft : Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Design History & Design Studies. Brussels, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 454-457.
ATKINSON, Paul (2010). Back to basics: Questioning the process of design. Design Journal, 13 (1), 5-8.
ATKINSON, Paul (2010). Boundaries? What boundaries? The crisis of design in a post-professional era. The Design Journal, 13 (2), p. 137.
ATKINSON, P. (2010). The curious case of the kitchen computer: products and non-products in design history. Journal of Design History, 23 (2), p. 163.
ATKINSON, Paul, UNVER, Ertu, MARSHALL, Justin and DEAN, Lionel T (2009). Post Industrial Manufacturing Systems: the undisciplined nature of generative design. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.
ATKINSON, Paul (2009). Actor networks and the development of the home computer. In: HACKNEY, Fiona, GLYNNE, Jonathan and MINTON, Viv, (eds.) Networks of design : Proceedings of the 2008 Annual International Conference of the Design History Society (UK). Boca Raton, Fl., Universal-Publishers, 219-224.
ATKINSON, Paul (2009). Boundaries? What boundaries? The crisis of design in a post-professional era. In: MALINS, Julian, (ed.) Proceedings of the 8th European Academy of Design Conference. Aberdeen, European Academy of Design/Aberdeen University, 30-34.
ATKINSON, Paul (2008). Upwardly mobile: the role of fashion and image in the development of mobile computing. In: IFFTI 2008 Conference: The Body : Connections with Fashion, School of Architecture and Design and School of Fashion and Textiles, RMIT (Royal Melbourne Insititute of Technology), Melbourne, Australia, 8-11 March 2008.
ATKINSON, P. (2008). A bitter pill to swallow: the rise and fall of the tablet computer. Design issues, 24 (4), 3-25.
ATKINSON, Paul, ed. (2008). Automake and future factories : generative design and direct digital manufacture. Sleaford, Hub: National Centre for Craft and Design.
ATKINSON, Paul (2008). Computer History: Vapourware and the problems of museology. In: FUJITA, Haruhiko, (ed.) Another name for design: proceedings of the 6th International Conference of Design History and Design Studies. Osaka, Osaka University Communication-Design Center, 129-132.
BEEGAN, Gerry and ATKINSON, Paul (2008). Professionalism, amateurism and the boundaries of design. Journal of Design History, 21 (4), 305-313.
MARSHALL, Justin, UNVER, Ertu and ATKINSON, Paul (2007). AutoMAKE : generative systems, digital manufacture and craft production. In: 10th Generative Art Conference, Milan, 13-15 December 2007. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, P. (2007). The best laid plans of mice and men: the computer mouse in the history of computing. Design issues, 23 (3), 46-61.
ATKINSON, Paul (2007). Design disasters in the history of computing. In: BALCIOĞLU, Tevfic, TOMBUŞ, Özlem Çağlar and IRKDAŞ, Derya, (eds.) EAD 07 conference proceedings : dancing with disorder: design, discourse, disaster. Izmir, Turkey, European Academy of Design/Izmir University of Economics, 797-806.
MARSHALL, Justin, ATKINSON, Paul and UNVER, Ertu (2007). Generative craft and digital production. In: Nordic Design Research Conference (2nd), Konstfack, University College of Art, Craft and Design, Stockholm, 27-30 May 2007. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2006). The best laid schemes o’ mice and men : the evolution of the computer mouse. In: DE RIJK, Timo and DRUKKER, J. W., (eds.) Design and Evolution : Proceedings of Design History Society Conference 2006. Delft, Netherlands, Delft University of Technology, 1-20.
UNVER, Ertu, ATKINSON, Paul and TANCOCK, Dave (2006). Applying 3-D scanning and modeling in transport design engineering. Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 3 (1-4), 41-48.
UNVER, Ertu, ATKINSON, Paul and TANCOCK, David (2006). Applying 3D scanning and modelling in transport design education. Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 3 (1-4), 41-48.
DEAN, Lionel, T, ATKINSON, Paul and UNVER, Ertu (2005). Evolving individualised consumer products. In: JONAS, Wolfgang, (ed.) Design system evolution : the application of systemic and evolutionary approaches to design theory, design practice, design research and design education. Proceedings of the 6th European Academy of Design Conference. Bremen, Germany, Hochschule für Künste Bremen (University of the Arts, Bremen), 1-19.
ATKINSON, P. (2005). Man in a briefcase: the social construction of the laptop computer and the emergence of a type form. Journal of design history, 18 (2), 191-205.
DEAN, Lionel, T., ATKINSON, Paul and UNVER, Ertu (2005). Future factories : inverting the mass-production paradigm. In: Symposium on the use of digital technology in designing and making three-dimensional forms, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK, 28 January 2005. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul and BENINCASA, Caterina (2004). Feeling follows function : gendered responses to the teaching of material culture. In: 4th International Conference on Design History & Design Studies (ICDHS), Universidade de Guadalajara, Mexico, 1-5th November 2004. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2004). Post-industrial manufacturing systems : the impact of emerging technologies on design, craft and engineering processes. In: BURNETT, Gordon, (ed.) Challenging craft : International Conference 8-10 Sept. 2004. Aberdeen, Scotland, Gray's School of Art, Robert Gordon University.
ATKINSON, Paul, UNVER, Ertu and DEAN, Lionel, T. (2004). ‘Future Factories’: supportive technologies as creative processes. In: MARJANOVIC,, D, (ed.) Proceedings of the Design 2004 8th International Design Conference. Dubrovnik, Croatia, The Design Society, 99-104.
ATKINSON, Paul and HALES, Derek (2004). Chance would be a fine thing : digitally driven practice-based research at Huddersfield. In: HARRIS, Jane and PRESS, Mike, (eds.) Proceedings of Pixelraiders2 Conference. Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University.
ATKINSON, Paul (2003). Future factories : design work by Lionel Theodore Dean. Huddersfield, University of Huddersfield.
UNVER, Ertu, DEAN, Lionel T. and ATKINSON, Paul (2003). ‘Future Factories’: developing individualised production methods. In: AED 2003 : 3rd International Conference on Advanced Engineering Design. Prague, Czech Republic, Process Engineering Publisher, 1-9.
ATKINSON, Paul, DEAN, Lionel, T. and UNVER, Ertu (2003). ‘Future factories’: teaching Techné. In: Techné: Design Wisdom: The 5th European Academy of Design Conference, Universitat te Barcelona, April 2003. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2003). FutureFactories: Design Work by Lionel Theodore Dean. [Show/Exhibition]
ATKINSON, Paul and BEALE-PARRY, Joanna (2002). Design history on the periphery of design practice. In: Mind the Map: Design History Beyond Borders The 3rd ICDHS conference, Istanbul Technical Unibversity, 9-12 July 2002. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2001). The material culture of the laptop. In: Material and Ideal: things in time and space. A research conference on material matters, University of the Arts, Helsinki/ Design Museum, Helsinki, 18th-20th May 2001. (Unpublished)
ATKINSON, Paul (2001). The laptop : design or desire? In: COOPER, Rachel and BRANCO, Vasco, (eds.) Desire designum design : 4th European Academy of Design conference proceedings. Aveiro, Portugal, Universidade de Aveiro, 390-395.
SWINDELLS, S, ATKINSON, Paul and SIBLEY, M (2001). The professionals : contrasting professionalism within art, design and architecture practice and education. In: NORMAN, E.W.L. and ROBERTS, P.H., (eds.) Idater 2001 : International Conference on Design and Technology Educational Research and Curriculum Development). Loughborough, Loughborough University, 130-134.
ATKINSON, Paul (2000). The origin of PCs : perspectives on the history of the office computer. In: FERNANDEZ, Lucila, (ed.) Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Design History & Design Studies. Havana, Cuba, Oficina Nacional de Diseno Industrial, La Habana, Cuba.
ATKINSON, P. (2000). The (In)Difference engine: explaining the disappearance of diversity in the design of the personal computer. Journal of design history, 13 (1), 59-72.
ATKINSON, Paul and MALIK, Sophia (2000). Equating global design education: a case study in transferring curriculum content. In: SCRIVENER, Stephen A.R., BALL, Linden J. and WOODCOCK, Andree, (eds.) CoDesigning 2000 Adjunct Proceedings. Coventry, Coventry University, 179-184.
ATKINSON, Paul (1999). Work, rest and play: the personalisation of the workspace. In: Proceedings of the 3rd European Academy of Design Conference. Salford, European Academy of Design/Sheffield Hallam University/University of Salford, 26-56.
Editor, The Design Journal, Routledge/Taylor & Francis
Editorial Advisory Board Member, Interiors, Routledge/Taylor & Francis President of the European Academy of Design
Executive Committee Member of the International Committee of Design Histories and Design Studies International Advisory Board Member of the Computer History Museum (Mountain View, California)
Julia Keyte: 'The Practices and Circumstances that shape Product Attachment in the Home'
Raul Pinto: The Possibilities of Biological Processes in the Creation of Products
Mohd Shahrizal Dolah (2014 ) 'How Many Designers Create Furniture that Allows Meaningful Place-Making in Modern Office'
Matthew Dexter (2014): 'Open Design and Medical Products: An Open Medical Products Methodology' Claire Craig (2014): 'Photography in Care Homes: Methods for a Revealing Practice'
Karen Gaskill (2011) In Search of the Social: Toward an understanding of the Social Curator Isil Onol (2011) Haptic Interaction with Visual information
Lionel T Dean (2010) FutureFactories Paul Micklethwaite (2002) What is Design? An empirical investigation into conceptions of design in the community of design stakeholders.
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