Ruth Neubauer, PhD researcher

Ruth, from the UK and Austria, is a PhD student at Loughborough University London studying under the Institute for Design Innovation. Prior to her studies in London, Ruth graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Vienna.

What country are you from?

The UK and Austria

Under which institute are you studying your PhD?

Institute for Design Innovation

What is the full title of your PhD?

Reconceptualising design practice: Knowledge and agency in digital technology design.

Please give a brief synopsis of what you are researching and why.

I am researching design processes with a practice lens to design. Current conceptions of knowledge production and agency in professional design bring up issues for designers and design outcomes. An alternative lens of viewing professional design as a form of social practice could potentially resolve these issues.

Who are your academic supervisors?

Erik Bohemia and Kerry Harman

Why did you choose Loughborough University London to undertake your PhD?

I was interested in this particular postgraduate research program (Design Innovation) which invited me to work on alternative ways of conceiving of design practice.

Tell us about your academic background.

I graduated from the University of Fine Arts Vienna, with a Magistra Artium (MA) degree in painting and graphic art. I then worked in digital technology design for over ten years.

What attracted you to your chosen research field?

It was a natural next step for me in my career as a designer, to go into research and education. I always had a deep interest in why we are doing things a certain way and how it could be improved. This research field poses an excellent opportunity for me to make sense of what I had worked on and experienced in the design industry, and to hopefully contribute to the knowledge of the design discipline in ways that help it move forward.

Describe a day in the life of a PhD student.

To be able to sit down and dedicate time to thinking, reading and writing is quite a privileged way of going about your day. It is a very self-directed way of working. There are a lot of work hours, but also great freedom in your work schedule. Activities vary greatly depending on what phase of your research you are in.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I spend time with my family. 

How would you describe the research community on campus?

The research community is made up of nice and enthusiastic people. People focus on their work, but there is always someone for a friendly chat and a cup of tea in between.

What advice would you give to prospective PhD students looking to study at Loughborough University London?

 London is a new campus it is a great time to help shape it. It is very student-centred, and staff and colleagues are supportive.