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Research Projects

Engineering And Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) £415,108 (Value to University of Dundee: £296,000) 01.2008 – 10.2009
Prof Mike Press, Principal Investigator

Safer Spaces
Safer Spaces
Safer Spaces
Safer Spaces

Communication Design for Counter Terror

Main project collaborators

Prof Mike Press, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Principal Investigator)
Dr Louise Amoore, Durham University (Co-Investigator)
Dr Brooke Rogers, King’s College London (Co-Investigator)
Prof Richard Luxton, University of the West of England (Co-Investigator)
Prof Teal Triggs, University of the Arts London (Co-Investigator)
Prof Sarah Oates, University of Glasgow (Co-Investigator)
Andrew Wootton, University of Salford (Co-Investigator)
Dr Claire McAndrew, University of the Arts London (Co-Investigator)
Lisa Creswell, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Co-Investigator)


Prof Mike Press (Principal Investigator)
Lisa Creswell (Co-Investigator)
Safer Spaces

Context and background

Safer Spaces The transformation of the UK Government’s policy practice through collaboration with the design community has been integral in changing the nature of communication strategies. The growing recognition that communication design is a useful tool in both the development and dissemination of public sector policy has come to the attention of Government agencies.

This eighteen month scoping study examines the design of the process of interactive counter terror communication with a view to reducing fear and re-engaging awareness in communities in public spaces. To achieve this, Safer Spaces explores qualitatively ways in which counter terror information has been employed in the past and how it might be effectively employed in the future.

Safer Spaces builds upon existing research and practice in this field, and also identifies gaps in current knowledge of public perceptions and counter terror. With an interdisciplinary team of researchers, Safer Spaces provides new perspectives and approaches to communication design relating to counter terror. The project team includes design specialists as well as a social geographer, a sensor engineer and a risk psychologist.

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the Safer Spaces project was to explore the potential for different and more creative understandings and applications of counter-terror communication. Safer Spaces significantly advanced theory and practice, through an innovative and interdisciplinary approach, to the transfer of novel emerging communications techniques in the sphere of counter-terror. Safer Spaces used an integrated range of research approaches, from social sciences and design, to produce new insights into the embedding of counter-terror communication into public spaces.


Safer Spaces used a ‘bottom-up’ approach to security communications and technologies inviting active interaction. There is an emergence of an increasingly interactive communications culture, enabled by new technologies within which ‘top down’ approaches are perceived to be less acceptable, less appropriate and potentially run counter to an increasing need for effective public engagement. A prime concern is for safety, transparency and a stronger sense of foresight – of ‘what’s happening next’.


Safer Spaces The practical outcome of the Safer Spaces research project is InSITE: Interactive Security in Transport Environments. This design proposition is a culmination of the project and is informed by analysis of public responses to counter terror communications and security technologies. InSITE aims to bridge the gap between technology, security and the public; the design of InSITE embodies the projects central findings that security, comfort and safety are mutually reinforcing when pursued in an open and transparent way.

The development of a novel technological approach has been evaluated, and suggests considerable potential for the further development and application of both InSITE and the research and creative methods that underpin it.

Safer Spaces - click here to download PDF description

Engineering And Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
£415,108 (Value to University of Dundee: £296,000)
01.2008 – 10.2009