Dr Ruth Neubauer

Visiting Scholar, Institute for Design Innovation

Ruth Neubauer

Dr Ruth Neubauer researches design practices and how design agency can be traced in the sociomaterial networks of practice. She is particularly interested in how design can be made accessible as design thinking for interdisciplinary use.

Ruth is a lecturer for design thinking at the New Design University in Sankt Pölten, and she is a lecturer for methods and theories in design at the University of Art and Design Linz in Austria. With students she explores design as an interdisciplinary approach to effecting change. She does this by drawing on theories of design and sociomaterial practice to frame the practice-based work with materials. Her design studio classes encourage work with both practical and theoretical ‘stuff’.

Academic background

Ruth received her PhD in Design Innovation from Loughborough University London in 2019. She has 15 years’ experience in interaction design, working in the digital design industry in Brighton, London and Vienna. Her original degree is in photography and painting and graphic art from the Academy of fine Arts Vienna. She has also worked as an artist and had numerous exhibitions.

Current research and collaborations

Ruth’s research interest is design practice and materiality as a lens to view the materialising of ideas. In her recent research project “Reconfiguring artefacts” she investigated, in a team of researchers, the material effects of design artefacts in collaboration. She writes about pedagogies of design thinking. She also works on projects around embodied processes of cognition and sensemaking. In a new research project, “Interdisc.Design”, she explores the potential of opening design processes as interdisciplinary and collaborative processes of creation through a digital reflection tool. With colleagues at the Institute for Design Innovation, she explores the agency and effects of design at an individual, studio and industry level.

Current PhD / research supervisions

Willem Heesbeen – PhD title: Designer and Artist, Reflective Practitioners and the question of Autonomy.

The research investigates various perspectives on autonomy with regard to creative work and intentionality, and it involves testing various speculative scenarios for design.

Marianne Pührerfellner – PhD title: How do you feel my digital friend? — Emotional Human–Computer Interaction in Smart Living Contexts.

The research explores affective relationships between humans and their technological devices.

Interests and activities

Ruth’s personal interests are sustainability and social equality. Through her initiative Interdisc.Design she runs projects that design and practice better ways of living.

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