Mr Roy Tam

Mr Roy Tam

Lecturer in 3D Design

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

Roy can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Design
  • Sustainable construction
  • Product design
  • Furniture design
  • Wood and steam bending
  • Design production

Roy is an Associate Head of the School of Art, Design & Architecture (Marketing & Admissions), Admissions Tutor and Lecturer, and Leader of the Work Experience module for BA 3D Design. He is a multidisciplinary lecturer embracing Designer Makers and Product Designer. He has a background in design, engineering and electronics and his focus is in Enterprise, Business and Sustainability.

Roy is a key contact for external enquiries for Enterprise Solutions. He was twice the finalist for a VC's Enterprise Award, a mentor for Young Enterprise, and a judge for You're Hired Plymouth business game. He started the PopUp Shop which attracted staff student partnership funding with Peninsular Arts. He speaks fluent Cantonese, and have run a design competition with a Chinese manufacturer.

Roy helps to embed employability within 3D Design modules, and coordinates activities that adds to students' employability experience, such as by winning competitions, showing at key exhibitions, getting work experience and interview techniques. Graduates are networked through our 3D Design Alumni group in LinkedIn, and a buddy system is available for students to contact alumni. He has been nominated for the 2013 SSTAR Awards for Excellence in Championing Career Development.

Roy was a KTP supervisor for Spinnaker International which won a VC's Enterprise Award. He is responsible for the school's Career's Programme, and have been awarded a CEPPL for exploring new ways of Work Experience, which became a new module. He is the Faculty's key organiser for the FLUX business game. He manages the student's websites ( and is coordinator for the New Designers London exhibition. His marketing skills is used both in teaching and for student recruitment.

Roy teaches a holistic approach towards sustainability, but specialises in Low Impact Production and Designing in Timber. According to New Designers, this approach have raised Plymouth to one of the top two positions in sustainable design teaching. He has lectured widely and given papers on sustainable furniture. His current research is in Intelligent Energy Saving Devices and explores holistic approaches to reduce energy use.

He completed a masters level course in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

His managerial responsibilities include designing experiences for recruiting, admissions and interviews. He was an External Examiner to the BA Three Dimensional Design degrees at the University of the Arts, Camberwell, and Manchester Metropolitan University. He acted as an external link tutor to the Somerset College of Art & Design, and was an MSc supervisor for Schumacher College. He was external adviser for Rycotewood Furniture Centre at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, Colchester Institute and City of Bath College. He was also a successful small business mentor for Arts Matrix, and his work was highlighted as a case study.

For his Professional Practise, Roy designs furniture to commission for clients like the NHS, and making a range of batch produced furniture. He was co-founder and director of Trannon Furniture with eco pioneer David Colwell for 12 years, and developed it into a successful business in sustainable furniture. He was Senior Product Designer and Project Manager at the hi tech consultancy Cambridge Consultants and was instrumental in setting up a new design department at their parent consultancy Arthur D Little Inc, USA. His area of work included domestic and outdoor appliances, audio equipment, healthcare products, fire and security, industrial equipment and toys, and he holds two US patents.

Professional membership

FRSA: Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
Crafts Council: Member of the Crafts Coucil Register of Makers
Design Knowledge Research Group: Member
Higher Education Academy: Member
City & Guilds Amateur Radio License

Roles on external bodies

2015: External Adviser, revalidation, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Oxford Brookes University
2015: External Adviser, revalidation, Colchester Institute
2012: External Adviser, new course, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College
2010-13: Supervisor for a classic KTP for Spinnaker International.
2009-10: Supervisor for the university's first short KTP, which won the VC's Enterprise Award.
2009-10: Judge, You're Hired, Plymouth's Tamar Business Education Partnership.
2009-10: Adviser, Bath City College.
2007-08: Supervisor MSC for Schumacher College.
2006-08: Competition judge, Fine Wood Working Competition, the New Forest Trust.
2006: Competition judge and organiser: '2020 Living' for the 2007 Ideal Home Show.
2006: Judge for Wood Fair SW.
2004-08: Link Tutor to Somerset College of Art.
2006: Editorial advice and providing content to 'Furniture Today DVD' by Jez Broun.
He was a member of the Design Council Kite Mark Selection Panel and took part in their Designers in Schools Week programmes.

Teaching interests

Furniture and Product Design.
Sustainable Design.
Live Projects
Design in wood, in particular, steam bending, green woodworking and the use of small diameter timber 'in the round'.
Cross Year Peer Learning.
Careers programme and setting up in Business.
Enterprise experience through public engagement.
Work Experience (awarded an ongoing CEPPL).

Promotion of Enterprise:
University PopUp Shop, organiser.

Teaching Marketing, Promotion and Networking techniques.
FLUX business game, 3D Design team organiser.
Mentoring with Arts Matrix.

He has lectured or tutored at:
Bournemouth Arts Institute
Bucks New University
Centre for Sustainable Design, Surrey Institute
City of Bath College
Colchester Institute
Design Council's Designers in Schools Week
Godolphin School, Salisbury
The Gryphon School, Sherborne
Hooke Park College, Parnham Trust
King Arthurs School, Wincanton
Manchester Metropolitan University
The Royal College of Art
Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester
Somerset College of Art & Design
South Wilts Grammar School
Southampton Solent University
Strode College
Tonbridge School
Yeovil College
Budmouth Technical College
Thomas Hardye School
Weymouth College

Staff serving as external examiners

2010-2014: External Examiner, BA Three Dimensional Design, University of the Arts at Camberwell
2006-2010: External Examiner, BA Three Dimensional Design, Manchester Metropolitan University
2005: MSc project external supervisor at Schumacher College

Research interests

Embedding enterprise in teaching & learning
Low Impact Production in timber
Energy saving appliances
Cross year, cross discipline learning

Design Lab
Research Centre for internal and external client projects including:
Prototyping design for Hospital Food
Design and production of a lock up IT Support Desk
Crowd Activity design for the 2012 Olympics
Ergonomic design for an iPhone and Tablet exhibition display
Prototype design of a high end Hospitality Trolley

Other research

Member of Design Lab.

Energy saving household appliances.

Manufacturing without tooling: Low tech, low impact work in timber bending.

Creative practice & artistic projects

Project Manager, curator, New Designers 2004-current.
Business Mentor, You're Hired, Young Enterprise Plymouth.
Organiser, mini FLUX annual Business Challenge for 3D Design careers program.
My current company's website:
My previous partnership:
My Plymouth students' website:,
2006: Editorial advice and providing content to 'Furniture Today DVD' by Jez Broun.

2015: Dutch Design Week, Eindoven - Steam twisted structure
2015: 'Fine Crafted Wood', New Forest Trust - Freehand steam bending
2015: 'Salone Satellite', Milan Design Festival- 'A Fence is a Bench' - Steam twisted structure
2011: 'Cabinet' Exhibition and Conference - Steam Twisted Structure in Wood. Exploring making in timber without jigs, Peninsular Arts
2009: Making Future II Conference - The crafts in the context of Emerging Global Sustainability Agendas, Furniture for LIFE, Can Craft be a model for industry? A practice-based presentation, Making Futures Vol 1: 276-287 PCAD
2007: Paper presentation at the Design Museum for the Twentieth Century Furniture Research Conference, Sustainable Furniture Design by Trannon 1980's - 2004, Bucks New University

Reports & invited lectures

Roy has lectured, tutored or spoken at:
Architype Architects
Arts Matrix
Bournemouth Arts Institute
Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, Furniture Design
Budmouth Technical College
Centre for Sustainable Design, Surrey Institute
Colchester Institute
Design Council's Designers in Schools Weeks 2002-2004
Edward Cullinan Architects
English Nature
Godolphin School, Salisbury
Gryphon School, Sherborne
Hooke Park College, Parnham Trust
King Arthurs School, Wincanton
Manchester Metropolitan University
The National Trust
The Royal College of Art
Sherborne Boy's School
Somerset College of Art (SCAT)
South Wilts Grammar School
Southampton Institute
Tonbridge School
Yeovil College

Other academic activities

KTP Supervisor: Classic and Short KTPs.
Career's Program: Portfolios, CVs, networking, business, marketing, promotions, CDP.
Work Experience: 2nd year module.
PopUp Shop to sell student's time and designs.
FLUX business game and miniFLUX for 3D Design.
Student's websites: and to promote work by students and alumni.
Students' Exhibitions: Promoting the student experience at New Designers and national exhibition.
Communicating students' successes: Major press features, including on BBC programmes.
Strategic student recruitment activities.