Four Tet, credit Rikard Österlund
The Design Research Area, which sits in the School of Art, Design and Architecture, comprises three intertwingled clusters: i-DAT (digital), Message Research Cluster (visual communication), and Design Knowledge cluster (3D Design). Collectively they cultivate a powerful ecology that generates high quality interdisciplinary research at a local, national, and international level to create meaningful societal impact.
Through networks, collaborations, and partnerships we facilitate co-design and co-production with practitioners, communities, other disciplines, industry, and government. Speculative, provocative, and subversive design research strategies generate creative interventions, not just things, but experiences, relationships, and services, all of which require new design methods, tools, and techniques.
Our agenda is enhanced by a range of future focused research instruments, such as the Immersive Vision Theatre, Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Laboratories (DFIML) that blur the boundaries between the physical and the virtual, the real and the imaginary. 
Design Research celebrates a dynamic engagement with (post)digital innovation as a catalyst for creative production, playful experimentation, and industrial engagement, nurturing a vibrant community of practitioners, Postgraduate and Post-Doc Researchers.

Key projects

Quorum: Cultural Computation

Quorum comprises research in the design, development and application of software and hardware that augments, evaluates and increases public engagement of cultural experiences. Working collaboratively with communities, not-for-profit, public, private organisations, impact includes: design of cultural value metrics to increase public engagement, organisational culture change, financial value, marketing reach; design of the Arts Council England ‘Impact & Insight Toolkit’; enhancing curatorial techniques of the Tate; application of Artificial Intelligence to improve safe-guarding and pupil engagement for schools; strategy change of Plymouth City Council’s open data policy to engage citizens and industry; designing collaborative audience experiences for the international Fulldome community.

Further information

Quorum logo

Murmuration was one of the outcomes from the E / M / D / L – EUROPEAN MOBILE DOME LAB for Artistic Research ( partnership of European and Canadian cultural organisations funded by EU Culture Program. This post contains information and documentation on this project component.

Qualia  – a revolution in measuring audience feedback

Artory - the What’s On App for culture in Plymouth. The Artory pilot programme was intended to run from 17/01/2015 (iOS and Android Artory Apps were available on from 15/12/2014)for one year, but ended up successfully serving its collaborating culture organisations, their audiences and the City of Plymouth until October 2017. is a chatbot. It uses conversations with its users to understand the collective mood of pupils at Plymouth School of Creative Arts (UK). It is created for and with these pupils to give students a voice and a way to express how they collectively feel about important matters at the school.

Postgraduate research opportunities

We offer three PGR initiatives

TIWWA is an eye-catching sculpture which aims to reflect the changing nature of society

PhD Digital Art and Technology
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.

Professor Mike Phillips at the CODEX launch

PhD Codex
The full-time PhD consists of an 18-month residency period in the UK followed by a mobility period in a collaborating institution.

Planetary Collegium

Planetary Collegium
Our research builds on the rich legacy of the Planetary Collegium, a radical nomadic Postgraduate research model developed by Professor Roy Ascott


Journals and conferences