Research Interests and Research Subject Specialisms

Leanne is currently engaged in action research exploring the methods of engaging practice-based design students with library and archival research. The overarching aim is to support contextual knowledge and ultimately aid better design. The paper ‘Towards a ‘Creative’ Curriculum – Making Research Relevant: Exploring methods of engaging practice-based design students with library and archival research, supporting contextual knowledge and aiding better design’ aims to challenge negative perceptions and expose the intrinsic value of traditional archival research towards improving the delivery of contextual studies. 

Furthermore, Leanne’s research towards her PhD,  ‘Society at Home: Observing Society and Recording Domestic Space. A Study of taste, identity and meaning within domestic environments, towards revealing how society feel about the places they inhabit and how design impacts on the level of purported happiness’, aims to explore relationships between society and design, challenging key design theories and importantly record society at home; extracting valuable data related to societal aspiration, aesthetic experience, value and identity representation in the home. Fundamentally this research will engage society as collaborators, forging a new and unique study of contemporary society and domestic space, inspired by Mass Observation studies related to the Home, Happiness and importantly Worktown. This research employs ethnographic and observational methodologies synonymous with Mass Observation projects of the 1930’s such as diaries and interviews, supported by photography as a tool to record.

This systematic research will cross academic boundaries, retrieve, observe and record key evidence related to societal identity and the related meaning of the home. It will inform and support academia and contribute to the historiography of interior design and architectural theory, social and cultural studies and art and design disciplines such as photography.

Teaching Responsibilities

Leanne teaches across Bolton School of the Arts as a Design Theory and Context Lecturer, delivering theoretical and contextual modules to all years and teaches practical modules on the BA (Hons) Interior Design degree.

Overview (background and how research informs teaching activities)

Research findings will contribute directly to teaching and learning across HE4 to HE6 and aims to meet University Teaching and Learning priorities, namely Digital Literacy and Student centred pedagogies.

Findings will directly inform teaching, from the utilisation of paper and digital archives, improving visual and pictorial literacy and will provide key data related to taste, comfort and perceptions of good design, all of which are fundamental dimensions of contextual and theoretical studies of design.

Publications and Research Outputs

Leanne is an Early Career Researcher and research outputs are expected from January 2016.