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Dr Michael Stead

Lecturer in Workplace Futures

Michael Stead

Research overview

Michael's research explores the socio-technical practices, processes and values that surround the adoption of emerging technologies including Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, datafication and smartness, and the critical role design can play in helping societies to understand the implications of such technologies in facilitating environmentally sustainable futures. He is a researcher at Imagination, Lancaster University's open and exploratory design research lab - http://imagination.lancaster.ac.uk/person/michael-stead/

Research Interests

Sustainable Design, Sustainable HCI, Design Futures, Design Fiction, Speculative Design, Research through Design, Industrial Product Design, Ubiquitous Computing and Data-Driven Design.

Current Teaching

PG Supervisor, Masters in Design Management, ImaginationLancaster (2020)

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Creative Technologies programme, School of Computing & Communications (2015-2017).

Thesis Outline

By negating means for repair, recycling and upgrades, most Internet-connected physical devices - commonly termed the Internet of Things (IoT) - are unsustainable. As such, the IoT actively contributes to global e-waste streams and material scarcity issues. Michael's PhD research demonstrates the growing need to recharacterise future IoT devices as spimes. Through practice-led design research, Michael developed the spimes concept into a multidimensional lens which other designer-researchers can readily harness in order to radically reframe their IoT praxis to have sustainability baked-in from the outset. Michael's research and its outputs are summarised in form of a design manifesto entitled Spimes Not Things -https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/134921/1/Spimes_Not_Things_Design_Manifesto.pdf

Career Details

Prior to completing his Masters of Research and PhD at Lancaster University's HighWire Centre for Digital Innovation, Michael gained a diverse range of practical, commercial design expertise working as an industrial product designer. Alongside his doctoral research, Michael was design visualiser for two EPSRC funded research projects – Liveable Cities and PETRAS Internet of Things hub – and then for the AHRC funded research projects Living Design and Design Ecologies.


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