Rob is Programme Leader for BA Graphic Communication & Illustration and BA Graphic Design. An experienced academic, Rob is a Senior Fellow of the HEA, Editor for Visual Communication: SAGE journals and a lead member of the Graphic Design Research Unit. His work focuses on how real-world graphic systems—such as user interfaces, maps and data visualisations—utilise digital technologies in novel ways. See, for example, the Open Flight Deck project (Innovate UK, £13,658,778) and the prestigious Machine Vision in Everyday Life (ERC €1,999,547). He also investigates graphic memory and is working on memorial and bereavement projects such as the British Academy funded Covid-19 and Grassroots Memorials.
Rob is a lead member of the Graphic Design Research Unit and investigates digital innovations in graphic systems and applications of graphic memory. Currently, he is working on the research project, ‘We will remember them’: Covid-19 and Grassroots Memorials (British Academy). His recent publications include:
- Tovey, R., & Turner, S. (2020). Stillbirth Memento Photography. Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, 43(1), 2-16
- McCulloch, L. & Tovey, R. (2019) Shot at Dawn: Late photography and the anti-war memorial. Visual Studies 34(2), 93-106
- Tovey, R. (2018) Photomaps: A Visual Taxonomy. Visual Communication 17(2), 209-220.
He has a number of research projects and publications under review, and his monograph, Dance and the Static Image (Bloomsbury) is forthcoming in 2022.
Rob is co-module leader for ACC807 Synergizing Directions in Graphic Communication and Illustration Practice and ACC809 Focusing Directions in Graphic Communication and Illustration Practice (the final year practice modules in semester one). He is also Programme Leader for the BA Graphic Communication & Illustration and BA Graphic Design, acts as External Examiner for BA Graphic Design at Kingston University and is a Senior Fellow of the HEA.
Rob has worked on projects related to new-born health, stillbirth prevention and bereavement care across a breadth of funded projects, including: work promoting skin-on-skin contact after birth at the UHCW NHS Trust; an app supporting parents after a child receives a positive blood spot test result for a metabolic disease; a co-creation workshop investigating stillbirth bereavement care (Health Patterns) and is advising on NHS policy, due to be published in the updated National Guidelines for Bereavement Photography (Neonates, stillbirth and children) .later this year. This will directly guide practices across NHS Trusts nationwide, changing how bereavement midwives and clinical photographers support families after the loss of a baby.
Rob is interested in supervising PhDs that engage with graphic systems and/or graphic memory, particularly following a research-as-practice methodology. His current research students include:
- Nor Hazlen Kamaruddin, ‘Sustaining Preschool Children’s Attention through the Manipulation of Colours in Picturebook Design’
- Omeiza Haruna, ‘An Animated Investigation into Performativity and Interiority in Black British Male Identity’.
- Sara Khomais, ‘Translating Picturebook Type: A practice-led enquiry into the typographic design of picturebooks that are translated from English to Arabic’.
- Alex Christiansen, ‘Visual Constituent Analysis: Foundation, reliability, and utilisation’.
- Jessica Rutherford, ‘An animation-based learning programme to address the educational needs of those with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders’.