Director, Imaginaries Lab
Dan Lockton is a British designer and researcher, living in Pittsburgh, PA. He is Assistant Professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University (2016–), acting Chair of Design Studies (2017–), and a Faculty Affiliate of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. He holds a PhD in Design from Brunel University, London, an MPhil in Technology Policy from the University of Cambridge, a BSc in Industrial Design Engineering, also from Brunel, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2008–).
Dan’s research focuses on the links between design, understanding, imaginaries, and human action, particularly in relation to social and environmental benefit, drawing on influences from a range of fields including behavioral and decision sciences, human-computer interaction, pattern languages and cybernetics. He’s interested in questions of how we interpret, imagine and interact with the world—institutions, the environment, cities, infrastructures, technologies and complex systems around us—how they, in turn, model us, and what the consequences could be for design which seeks to enable human agency as part of a transition to more sustainable futures. Dan is currently writing Design with Intent, a practitioner-focused book on these topics, based on the Design with Intent toolkit.
From 2013–16, Dan worked at the Royal College of Art, London, first as a senior associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design’s Work & City and Age & Ability Labs, and then as a research tutor in Innovation Design Engineering and for other doctoral programs, supervising and advising PhD researchers. He remains a visiting tutor at the College. Previous academic appointments include research fellow in WMG’s Experiential Engineering group, at the University of Warwick, and research assistant in Environmentally Sensitive Design, Brunel University.
Previous research projects have brought together design with societal, community and environmental challenges, including: Legible Policy (2015–16), with Laboratorio para la Ciudad Mexico City, Superflux and the Future Cities Catapult; SusLabNWE (2013–15), a European Union ‘living lab’ collaboration led by TU Delft; Media, Community & the Creative Citizen (2013–15), a Research Councils UK Connected Communities project; Creating Sustainable Innovation through Design for Behaviour Change (2014), funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council; and Empower (2010–12), a collaboration between Brunel University, University of Warwick, startup CarbonCulture and the Department of Energy & Climate Change, funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board. In 2015 Dan was interim project manager for the RCA’s role in GATEway, a driverless vehicle research program. Dan led the editorial team for Creative Citizens’ Variety Pack: Inspiring Digital Ideas from Community Projects (RCA, 2014), was a co-editor of Living Labs: Design and Assessment of Sustainable Living (Springer, 2016) and a co-author of Drawing Energy: Exploring Perceptions of the Invisible (RCA, 2015).