Dr David Heap

Job: Associate Professor for Design Cultures

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Design

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: 0116 207 8370

E: david.heap@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.dmu.ac.uk


Personal profile

David is Associate Professor for Design Cultures in the School of Design at De Montfort University, as well as being the interim Programme Leader for MA Design Management. He leads a team of lecturers who teach historical, theoretical and professional aspects of design to all the students that study in the School of Design. As a trained furniture designer and Design Manager, David is interested in how design is used within manufacturing businesses; this interest has led to active involvement in UK manufacturing through the now defunct Furniture West Midlands group which championed design and manufacturing in small firms.

David’s current research includes auditing design maturity in small manufacturers and fabricators; a related strand of research involves investigating Silent Design in companies to establish ownership of ideas.

David has a PhD, MA and BA Hons from Birmingham City University (BCU) where he both studied and taught for ten years. After leaving BCU, David spent seven years at Staffordshire University as a Senior Lecturer in Historical and Theoretical studies for Design.

David is Chairman of the (School of Design) Design Research Ethics Sub Committee.

David is in his first year as the External Examiner of Historical and Contextual Studies (Interior/Product Design ) for Kingston University.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Art and Design

Research interests/expertise

Information and Knowledge for Design

Silent Design in Manufacturing Firms

Tacit Understanding of Design Processes and Practices

UK Furniture Manufacturing

Activity Theory

Managing/Auditing Design in Companies

Member of the Creative and Cultural Industries Group (DMU)

Furniture Design
Although my teaching and research take up most of my time, I am still an enthusiastic furniture designer and have a few, long term design projects active. My furniture design expertise is within the contract sector; as such I am currently developing a range of furniture products which respond to the ever increasing lack of (and desire for) privacy within public spaces. My furniture has been designed to give users privacy whilst allowing for public interactions if so wished.

Areas of teaching

Design Cultures for Interior

Design Design Cultures for Textile Design

MA Research Methods

MA Design Management


PGCert in Higher and Professional Education – Teacher Training

PGCert in Higher and Professional Education – PhD Supervision

PhD - Design Capacity and Capability: Mapping Design in Motion in the UK’s Furniture Manufacturing Sector

MA (Distinction) - Design Management

BA (First Class Hons) - Furniture Design

Courses taught

Design Cultures -(Critican and Contextual Studies in Design)


Design Information Maturity Evaluation (DIME) Audit

Within the United Kingdom’s varied and vibrant manufacturing sector small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are, in many cases, developing new products with only limited design information. There is compelling empirical evidence that suggests many SMEs are missing product development opportunities because they lack critical design information.

The Design Information Maturity Evaluation (DIME) Audit, which is derived from extensive research within the UK’s manufacturing sectors, is being developed for SME manufacturers and fabricators who wish to better understand their company’s capacity or ‘maturity level’ to recognise, gather and maintain essential design information.

Completion of the audit by companies’ results in a DIME grade, which over time, through the better understanding, acquisition and maintenance of design information, a firm can work towards developing and improving. The research is driven by the belief that an improved awareness of critical design information could increase a company’s diversity and competitiveness.

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