Vicky Gerrard

Teaching Design as a way to Reclaim Boundaries of Freedom from Within Hostile Environments

For over 10 years Vicky has worked internationally with government, civil society, industry, and academia, researching how to enhance participation through design practice. She is continuing this work at Loughborough to develop a design pedagogy thats supports people to reclaim boundaries of freedom from within hostile environments.

After gaining a masters degree in biomedical engineering from Sheffield University, Vicky spent her early career supporting the development of appropriate health technology. While working as a researcher at the Singapore University of Technology and Design she founded and ran Opportunity Lab. The social design lab worked with communities and students across South and Southeast Asia to enhance participation through design. Projects included participatory research to inform elder care policy in Singapore, design capability building in informal settlements in the Philippines, and appropriate health technology development in Southern India. Vicky moved to Indonesia in 2016 to work with artists on community based research before beginning her doctoral studies at Loughborough University London in 2020.

PhD research description

Vicky’s research asks how design pedagogy can support people to reclaim boundaries of freedom from within hostile environments. Drawing on the creative practices of people whose freedoms have been severely restricted – including asylum seekers and disabled activists – the research considers how they use dialogic design to reconfigure their boundaries of freedom and how such dialogic practices can be supported. In essence, the thesis materialises dialogic learning by considering designed things as dialogic utterances that contribute to the ongoing and ephemeral co-construction of knowledge, and asks what learning interventions might support such a practice within hostile environments.

PhD supervisors

Dr Ksenija Kuzmina and Professor Thomas Tufte

Awards, grants or scholarships received

AHRC Techne Studentship

Papers, publications and articles

Gerrard, V. (2022, September). Absurdist Rebellion: Negotiating the Moral Boundaries of Participation. In Proceedings of the 17th Participatory Design Conference: Research Papers-Volume 2

Prendeville, S., Carlton-Parada, A., Gerrard, V. and Syperek, P., (2022, August). From Publics to Counterpublics: Designing for Autonomy. In Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference 2022-Volume 1 (pp. 218-229).

Gerrard, V. (2018, November). What did you teach to my students?! In Papanek: Politics and Design ed. Mateo Kries, Amelie Klein, Alison J. Clarke (pp. 172-179)

Gerrard, V. & Sosa, R. (2018, October). Data Objects in Hasselt and Genk. In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Situated Action

Sosa, R. et al. (2018, May). Data Objects: Design Principles for Data Physicalisation. In Proceedings of the 15th International Design Conference

Gerrard, V. & Sosa, R. (2014, October). Examining Participation. In Proceedings of the 13th Participatory Design Conference: Research Papers-Volume 1 (pp. 111- 120)