Paul Atkinson

Prof. Paul Atkinson

Sheffield Hallam University

I am an industrial designer, design historian and design educator. I trained initially as a mechanical and production engineer before studying Industrial Design at The University of Teesside. I then worked as an in-house designer, a design manager and as a director of a design consultancy. When I became a design educator I studied the History of Design at Middlesex University. My work on the social history of computing technology eventually led to a PhD from the University of Huddersfield. I have spoken at a number of international conferences around the world about Design History, Design Theory and Design Practice, have written books and had articles published in a number of international design journals.
My academic research covers a wide variety of subjects, all concerned in one way or another with the relationship between society and technology. The relationship between people and technological artefacts is explored through my writings on the design history of computers. The impact of the society-technology relationship on the design profession is explored through my writings on professional vs amateur design, including work on the history of DIY and Open Design. The future impact of emerging technologies on the nature of design is explored through my practice-based research into Post Industrial Manufacturing.

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