Institute of Art and Design research groups

Design and New Product Development

Design and New Product Development is a multidisciplinary research group. Working across all the schools of design within the Faculty, it embraces Product, Furniture and Interior Design; Fashion, Contour Fashion and Footwear; Design Crafts, and Social Dimensions of Design.

The group was formed to perform pioneering research – empirical, theoretical, collaborative and practical – in both established and emerging domains. Special research interests include:

  • Additive manufacturing in design
  • Design for industry
  • Medical products and devices
  • Innovations in packaging
  • User informed design
  • Retail, consumers and technologies
  • Resource-efficient design
  • Historical, cultural and future issues in design

The Design Unit

The Design Unit is a highly innovative, design-based research group with a strong track record of research-informed New Product Development (NPD), design implementation strategies and knowledge Transfer (KT) enterprise activities.

Areas of expertise:

  • Product/Industrial Design
  • Design implementation strategies
  • Design for Manufacturing (DfM)
  • Advanced Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Design for 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
  • User Centred  Design
  • Sustainable Design
  • UX design

The Design Unit has a 25-year history of research-informed NPD, collaborating with a variety of industrial partners – both large and small. We have generated a portfolio of over 160 successful projects and have developed over 120 effective design solutions.

Design Unit Staff

  • Prof. Guy Bingham – Director
  • Chris Whittaker – Senior Lecturer
  • Krishan Parmar – Senior Research Fellow
  • Lee Paxman-Clarke – Research Fellow
  • Emily Hancock – Research Associate

Contact the Design Unit:

Prof. Guy Bingham
Director of the Design Unit / Professor of Design
VJP 3.13
T: 0116 257 7862

Fine Art Practice

Researchers in the Fine Art Practices Research Cluster engage with a broad spectrum of contemporary Fine Art practices and debates. We have particular strength in photography, painting, sculpture, moving image and printmaking. Researchers have recently worked with the Tate in St Ives and London, exhibited in Chicago, and shown in Athens and Kassel as part of documenta 14. We currently supervise students in:

  • Fine Art research by practice
  • The arts and wellbeing

We are interested in hearing from prospective PhD students in the following areas, which align with our areas of research expertise:

  • Fine Art research by practice
  • Art and the working class avant-garde
  • Art and feminism
  • The making of meaning in material practice
  • The arts, social value and wellbeing

Fashion and Textile Research Group

Professor Jinsong Shen, Professor of Textile Chemistry and Biotechnology
Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH
T: +44 (0)116 257 7558

Photographic History Research Centre 

Since 2012, the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) has been committed to international and interdisciplinary research on photography and its theories and practices from the nineteenth century to the present day. Research staff at the Centre explore the multiple strands of photography’s history as an interconnected set of social and cultural processes, and as a visual economy which embraces: 

  • The photographic industry
  • Networks of photographic knowledge
  • Science and technology
  • Art and heritage
  • Evidential and informational values
  • Institutional practices

 The centre is especially focused on extending both the theoretical and historiographical base of photographic history and access to its primary sources. It forms a centre for international scholarship, drawing in scholars with interests in a wide range of different but interrelated fields, including history of science, geography, anthropology, art history, cultural studies, science and technology studies, museology, material culture studies, digital media and three-dimensional imaging. It also provides an important base for the development of digital technologies for resource preservation, publication, discovery and access.

PHRC supervises doctoral studies in the social, cultural and technological histories of photography. Supervision is available from PHRC’s internationally recognised team of research staff.

We are currently interested in supervising doctoral students working on: 

  • Photography in cultural/digital heritage
  • Family photography
  • Photography in Jewish cultures
  • Socio-political photographic cultures of Eastern Europe and the Middle East
  • Photography and the emotions
  • Scientific, commercial and technological practices of photography
  • Social, cultural and institutional practices of/in photographic archives
  • Contemporary Chinese visual culture and photographic practices
  • Conflict photography 

Contact PHRC 

Dr Kelley Wilder, Director, Photographic History Research Centre 

De Montfort University 
Clephan 1.01b
The Gateway
LE1 9BH 

T: 0116 207 8865
Social Media: 


Dr Gil Pasternak
Reader in Social and Political Photographic Cultures
Clephan 1.01c
T: 3951

Dr Jenifer Chao
VC2020 lecturer in Journalism
T: 7322

Dr Beatriz Pichel
VC2020 Lecturer in Photographic History
Clephan 1.01d
T: 6427

Emeritus Professors:

Prof. Emeritus Stephen Brown
Prof. Emeritus Elizabeth Edwards FBA
Prof. Emeritus Roger Taylor


The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot Project
Roger Fenton's Letters from the Crimea
Roger Fenton’s Crimean letterbooks
Photographic Exhibitions in Britain, 1839-1865
Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society, 1870-1915
Members of the Royal Photographic Society, 1853–1901
The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier

Textile, Engineering and Materials Research Group (TEAM)

TEAM was established in the early 1990s to undertake research in textiles.

Textile research is, by its very nature, multi-disciplinary and this is reflected in the wide range of projects undertaken. The group seeks to improve materials' performance and processing through applied research in four inter-related areas:

Textile Products and Processing

High performance technical, medical and military textiles|
Nanotechnology for enhanced performance
Industrial textiles, protective clothing and composites

Enzymes and Sustainable Technologies

Environmental and social assessment
Application of biotechnology
Re-use, re-manufacture and recycling of textiles

Agriculture and Natural Fibres

Plant fibres from non-food crops
Process engineering for plant fibre extraction
Processing of protein fibres and textiles

Material Performance and Design

Predicting the performance of fibres, yarns and fabrics
Bespoke software packages for yarn and fabric design
3D textile design

Contact TEAM:

Professor Jinsong Shen
Professor of Textile Chemistry and Biotechnology
Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH
+44 (0)116 257 7558

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