The Research Team


fiona-picDr. Fiona Hackney – Associate Professor Design Cultures & Community Engagement is an internationally recognised scholar with research interests in the fields of design history, crafting and creating-making, health and well-being, gender, media and print studies.  She has an active track record of research and collaborative working with academics (in the UK and elsewhere), community groups, and third sector agencies. Her research explores the themes of agency, culture and community identity, media and everyday creativity, with a particular emphasis on history as a means of promoting community engagement and enhancing social and cultural capital. These themes are developed in the Material and Visual Culture research group, which she co-convenes at Falmouth University, and associated publications exploring creativity, health and wellbeing, participatory and collaborative working. She has acted as Co-investigator and Principal Investigator on a number of funded research projects within the AHRC Connected Communities funding strand, which focus on creative-making. and crafts and well-being Recent projects include Co-creating CARE: Community Learning Through Collaborative Making, an intergenerational skill-sharing project working with embroidery, knitting and crochet groups and CARM: Community-appropriated Research Model , which explores community radio podcasts as a means of community learning and sharing. Dr. Hackney is an experienced reviewer and peer reviews for the AHRC.  Forthcoming publications include ‘Quiet Activism and the New Amateur: The Power of Home and Hobby Crafts’ Design and Culture, Vol. 5: 2 pp. 169-194 (2013) and a monograph on popular women’s magazines: Women’s Magazines and the Feminine Imagination: Opening Up a New World for Women in Interwar Britain, currently in preparation for I. B. Tauris (2014).

Co-I:  Deirdre Figueiredo is currently the Director of Craftspace which works in Deirdre-Figueiredo-portrait2-295x295partnership with makers and artists, audiences, venues and a diverse range of organisations to push boundaries and perceptions around contemporary crafts practice, touring exhibitions and audience development. Craftspace aims to initiate programmes of work which stimulate artistic excellence, critical thinking and understanding of contemporary crafts in the widest social and cultural contexts. Deirdre has worked as a curator and manager in the field of visual arts, craft and museums over the past 20 years and has developed particular expertise in diversity and audience development issues. In a wider role she contributes to a range of advisory panels, boards and steering groups including recently the Arts Council West Midlands Regional Council and a steering group for the Irish Arts Council to develop its first formal policy approach to cultural diversity. She was one of two people leading a Crafts Leadership Network as part of the national Cultural Leadership Programme. She is a board member of Audiences Central and Punch, and a Trustee of The Crafts Study Centre, Farnham.

Co-I:  Professor Ann Light is a qualitative researcher, interested in how people relate to each other annlight1in contemporary society and the impact of present/future design choices. A fascination with digital mediation led her to make studies of websites and online discussion as early as 1995, and she now focuses on mobile and ubiquitous contexts of use. An important element of her work has been looking at design globally – with projects in Ghana, India, Chile and Uganda, workshops on six continents, and a role advising the European Union on the future of the Internet. She works extensively with arts organisations, grass-roots community groups, older people and marginalised communities, focusing on meaning-making, identity, inclusion and experience of technology.  She publishes on social innovation, human-computer interaction and cross-cultural methodology, having helped design and evaluate websites, mobile phones, social networks and technologies of augmented reality, automatic identity capture (AIDC), ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things.

Mary Loveday Edwards (Research Assistant) is a writer, researcher, performer and P7060022academic. She has a BA in Theatre with Performance Writing and an MA in Arts & Ecology.  Her practice focuses on ideas around nostalgia, belonging, belief, ethics, and ecology. She writes and performs in the project Efficacity (with Jason Hirons), as part of the duo Ella and Patience (with Emma Bush), and both solo and in collaboration with others.  She has built and rigged puppets and worked on at departments for television, including The Ink Thief for ITV and Dennis the Menace and Gnasher for TCC, and worked as props and costume maker for theatre, including Miss Saigon, Duchy Ballet, and Bill Oddie’s Mother Goose.  She has written on craft, art and pedagogy for international journals, conferences and exhibitions).  Mary delivers critical and contextual studies across the Contemporary Craft Programme at Plymouth College of Art.

Bryony Stokes (film and photography) loves the power film has to speak to all groups Bryonywithin and across societies. She aims to use her technical and story-telling skills to inspire positive change in people’s lives.  Bryony is an established film maker specialising in short films on ethical subjects. She has worked in a variety of multimedia capacities in the last 10 years taking her all over the world.  Moving to Cornwall to focus on addressing environmental issues she is interested in positive change and action whether this is through exploring sustainability, the environment or smalls steps individuals are taking. By connecting with people and stories stepping outside of behavioural norms to question the ways in which we live her films paint a range of


Hannah Maughan (Falmouth University) was trained at the RCA, and works as a Hannah Maughanfreelance textile designer, specialising in embroidery and mixed media. Clients include Christian Lacroix, English Eccentrics, United Arrows, Byblos, Joseph and Habitat. Since 2003 she has also worked as Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons)Textile Design programme, establishing the mixed media area. This focuses on engaging the students in the traditions and values of hand and machine stitch and fabric manipulation but with the emphasis on technical acumen and creative response to personalise and contemporise the discipline. In 2003 she was instrumental in establishing Hidden Art Cornwall, the first and only franchise of the award winning designer-maker membership organisation, Hidden Art.  She is interested in the generational cycle through which embroidery and sewing techniques are passed down and in the stories connected to the process of handing down such skills and the stories attached to embroidered artefacts that pass through the generations, questioning whether these stories help or hinder the engagement of the next generation in learning craft skills.

Dr. Katie Bunnell  is Associate Professor of Design and convenor of the Autonomatic large_katie.bunnellresearch group at University College Falmouth. Autonomatic are a group of researchers that explores the creative application of digital technologies within craft based practices. Their projects are concerned with developing new working practices, processes, and innovative products that highlight the relevance of making in 21st century culture. Bunnell studied at the University of the West of England and Royal College of Art before completing a PhD, on the integration of new technologies into ceramic designer-maker practice, at The Robert Gordon University.


Dr Linda Sandino (V&A) is the CCW/V&A Senior Research Fellow  at Victoria & Albert linda sandinoMuseum.   Linda’s approach is to see oral history as narrative research that addresses both the forms in which oral histories are constructed (audio, video, visual, textual) as well as the content that such interviews yield: narrative identities  as defined by the philosopher Paul Ricoeur.   This was the subject of her PhD at the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London.  Originally Linda  graduated from the V&A/RCA MA in the history of design, specialising in the representation of craft and the applied arts in the magazine Crafts.    Past oral history work  includes extensive life history recordings for the National Life Stories at the The British Library National Sound Archive with artists, architects, craftspeople, and designers. In 2010 Linda co-convened the conference ‘Record/Create: oral history in art, craft and design’ at the V&A in association with the Oral History Society.  Current research is focused on recording life histories of curatorial staff at the Victoria & Albert Museum exploring the shifting definitions and histories of the diversity of curatorial practices at the Museum and its role as a site and community of memories.

Dr. Nicola Thomas is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography (specialising in cultural and Nicola_Thomashistorical geography) at the University of Exeter. An emerging area of research for Nicola involves the study of the creative economy. In a recent 3 year AHRC funded project Nicola explored the relationships between place and identity as they are negotiated by the creative makers, arts institutions and governance organisations in the South West. This project placed value on understanding the cultural practices and experiences of creative making within a regional context and involved interviews and ethnographies with over 100 practitioners, creative intermediaries, policy makers and organisations.

Daniel Carpenter has worked as Link Coordinator at Voluntary Arts since 2006, when heads up the information and research strand of the organisation, having written many of the popular VA Briefings on all aspects of running a small voluntary arts group, from child protection and entertainment licensing to marketing and social media.  He is also lead on the Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded ‘Hand on Crafts’ intergenerational crafts project to help traditional crafts organisations to attract young amateur participants, and the Grundtvig funded ‘Art-Age’ European partnership programme looking at the contribution of aesthetic learning on active ageing.  Daniel is also a trustee of the Heritage Crafts Association, which he helped to set up in early 2009.


Alison Gilchrist has been involved in community development for more than 30 years: AG+consulting+photoas neighbourhood worker, lecturer, writer, trainer, manager, director, policy advisor and researcher.  She has worked at local, regional and national levels, with community, voluntary and public sector organisations.  Her particular specialisms are networking and equalitites practice.  Her expertise draws on solid experience of working with communities and  practice research providing her with a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the relevant evidence base and current policy context.  She is a Trustee of the Community Development Exchange (CDX) and an Associate consultant with the Community Development Foundation, Our Life and CLES.

Katy Bevan is an independent curator, writer and education professional with a katybspecialism in craft and a passion for participation and passing on skills. Previously Participation & Learning Manager at the Crafts Council and now working as a freelance consultant.  She also writes about craft for Crafts Magazine amongst others and at The Crafter. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


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