This website if for internal consumption by researchers in the Design Research Area.

The Design Research Area sits within the School of Art, Design & Architecture, Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Plymouth. It comprises three research clusters:


Design Knowledge is an open and exploratory design-led research group researching with and for people, products, places and their interactions. We work with a variety of organisations to provide fresh perspectives on real-world issues. We offer undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD opportunities. All our staff are active researchers with extensive expertise in design practice and research informed teaching.

Our research covers a wide variety of practice-led activity, delivering new design solutions for the community, cultural policy and environments. Our research contributes to new knowledge in, human experience, agency, identity, architectural theory and design knowledge, as constructed and understood through artifacts, exhibitions, literature and interventions.

Our research has a critical and creative capacity to challenge design disciplines, whilst supporting emerging research.



i-DAT is an Open Research Lab for playful experimentation with creative technology. Since its formation in 1998 i-DAT has delivered world-class research which is manifest as a range of public projects (boundary-fluid art works, interventions, systems and cultural prototypes). i-DAT is a vertex in an international network of researchers and practitioners and host to a community of PhD students and artists.

i-DAT’s underpinning research concerns making ‘data’ palpable, tangible and accessible. It involves creating new experiences through the design and construction of networked, sensing and intelligent ‘things’ and software. Digital Practice is central to exploring the significance that data, its harvesting, processing and manifestation, can play in contemporary culture.

The research is collaborative and participatory at its core, engaging audiences and communities and cultivating a rich transdisciplinary approach through collaborations across the arts and sciences.



Message, a communication arts research cluster, is dedicated to the development and discussion of contemporary visual communication messages through research, particularly, but not exclusively, within graphic design, typography, illustration, fine art and publishing.

The intention of the group is to support the development of creative practitioner and theorists’ research, enabling the exploration and expansion of critical activities and debates around visual language and the theme of the message.

Members undertake a varied range of practice-led and theoretical research methods and disseminate findings through the Message journal, stand-alone publications, papers, exhibitions, conferences, residencies, collaborative projects and through enterprise-based activity.

Message includes both established and emerging researchers.  Core members include: designers, illustrators, writers, artists.