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Professor Graham Pullin
Social Digital, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
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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.