Graham Pullin is a designer, researcher, teacher and author of the manifesto Design Meets Disability (The MIT Press, 2009). He is senior lecturer in interaction design and product design at the University of Dundee, where he co-founded the Social Digital group and founded the Museum of Lost Interactions. Here his research is pioneering more expressive communication for people who cannot speak and currently find themselves limited by text-to-speech synthesis, through projects such as Six Speaking Chairs and a mid-career PhD entitled 17 ways to say yes. He is also exploring radical new materials for prosthetic hands: materials that do not imitate human skin, but are instead chosen for their aesthetic qualities, cultural resonances or personal significance.
Previously, Graham was a studio head at the design consultancy IDEO, leading multidisciplinary teams on projects as diverse as commercial Vodafone Simply phones for people in their 40s and 50s, concept hearing–enabling furniture for the HearWear exhibition at the V&A Museum, London, and the critical design project Social Mobiles that was exhibited in Tokyo, Ars Electronica and MoMA. Twenty years ago, he was designing bespoke prosthetic hands for his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art, following a post at the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering. Experiencing such different cultures within these different design fields inspired Design Meets Disability, a monograph that argues for more art school–trained designers to be invited into disability-related design, in order to contribute not only their skills but also their sensibilities. This would be a healthily disruptive influence within assistive technology, but could influence design in return.
‘Hands of X’
Funded under EPSRC ‘Design the Future’ (project name ‘Socio-technical materials for prosthetic hands’) EP/N01006X/1. February 2016–July 2017. £289k. Pullin: PI; Co–I Professor Mark Miodownik, Mechanical Engineering, UCL. Collaboration with Institute of Making, UCL and MAKLab, Glasgow. Exhibited as part of Dundee Design Festival 2016, produced by Sîon Parkinson, West Ward Works, Dundee, 25–28 May 2016.
‘Creative Temporal Costings (cTC)’
Funded under AHRC ‘ProtoPublics’, AH/N003799/1. June–August 2015. £15k. Pullin: Co-I; PI: Jo Briggs, Northumbria University, other Co–Is: Prof. Celia Lury, University of Warwick, Sarah Teasley, Royal College of Art & Sue Ball, Media and Arts Partnership, Leeds.
Collaboration with Shannon Hennig and Cereproc.
Collaboration with Ryan McLeod.
‘Six Speaking Chairs’
Collaboration with EPSRC-funded PhD Andrew Cook.
Exhibited as part of ‘HearWear - the future of hearing’, curated by Henrietta Thompson, Blueprint and Neil Thomas, RNID, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 26 July 2005–5 March 2006.
Exhibited as part of ‘Design and the Elastic Mind’, curated by Paola Antonelli, MoMA, New York, 24 February–12 May 2008
Pullin, Graham. “Participatory design and the open source voice.” The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age, edited by Darin Barney, Gabriella Coleman, Christine Ross, Jonathan Sterne, and Tamar Tembeck, University of Minnesota Press, 2016, pp. 101–122.
Pullin, Graham. “Mapping interdisciplinary design research as flow around a medidisciplinary sea.” Routledge Companion to Design Research, edited by Paul Rodgers, and Joyce Yee. Routledge, 2015, pp. 60–71.
Pullin, Graham, and Shannon Hennig. June 2015. “17 ways to say yes: Toward nuanced tone of voice in AAC and speech technology.” Augmentative and Alternative Communication, vol. 31, no. 5, 2015, pp. 170–180.
Pullin, Graham. November 2014. “Someone else’s shoes.” Icon, Nov. 2014, pp. 76–81.
Pullin, Graham. “17 ways to say yes, exploring nuanced tone of voice in augmentative communication and designing new interactions with speech synthesis.” Doctoral dissertation, University of Dundee, 2013.
Pullin, Graham, and Andrew Cook. “Six Speaking Chairs (not directly) for people who cannot speak.” Interactions, vol. 17, no. 5, 2010, pp. 38–42.
Pullin, Graham. “Creating and curating design collections, from Social Mobiles to the Museum of Lost Interactions and Six Speaking Chairs.” Design and Culture, vol. 2, no. 3, 2010, pp. 309–328.
Pullin, Graham. Design meets disability. The MIT Press, 2009.