About the lecture

The complex social and environmental problems facing the world need designers and creative thinking more than ever. Designers must develop new responsible, ethical and inclusive ways to design the places, spaces and systems that allow communities to thrive and flourish.

In her inaugural lecture, Professor Cain will probe the changing shape of the design discipline and its ability to tackle these challenges – now and in the future – by drawing on her experience in working between, across and beyond disciplines.

From her research into wellbeing within environments and systems – spanning urban soundscapes and cities for electric cars, healthcare services and facilities, and homes and homelessness – she will highlight defining moments in her journey as a transdisciplinary design researcher.

Her story culminates in her ultimate quest to tackle complex issues through meaningful collaborative research via her most important project to date – the HOME CDT.

By asking, “Can undisciplined designers create better futures?” she urges us to think about how design must change in the future, imagine the new spaces for transdisciplinary collaboration, and consider the implications of this for research and education.

About the lecturer

Professor Rebecca Cain advocates for the power of design to improve our human and planetary well-being. Driven by human-centred thinking, she has 20 years’ experience in building diverse inter-disciplinary teams – encompassing design, engineering, architecture, science, social science, psychology, business, philosophy and health – to tackle complex problems.

She founded and directs the HOME Centre for Doctoral Training – a transdisciplinary research centre that uses creative methods to rethink homelessness, and co-edited the book Design for Wellbeing, with a second edition forthcoming.

Having achieved her PhD in Participatory Design at Loughborough, she spent 12 years with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick). As an EPSRC Fellow and head of the Experiential Engineering Research Group, she developed her unique approach to embedding human-centred thinking within engineering culture, using a fusion of experimentation, creative methods, extensive collaboration with industry, and citizen and stakeholder participation.

Returning to Loughborough in 2017, she was Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and is now Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Vibrant and Inclusive Communities. She has 14 years of board roles within the Design Research Society, most recently as Chair. She sits on the Learning and Research Committee at the Design Museum, and is a Fellow of the RSA.

For further information on this lecture, please contact the Events team.

Upcoming Inaugural Lectures