Posted by on 01/03/2017

I grew up by the sea in the 80’s in Loughshinny, County Dublin. I am one of a family of 7.

I have always loved the outdoors. My siblings, friends and I spent our spare time swimming, climbing trees and cliffs, exploring ruins and playing with boy’s toys.

I have early memories of questioning why boys get to do all the fun, adventurous stuff while girls were expected to play with dolls.

Captain Planet was my favourite programme. I can still scream the theme song.

We travelled a lot as a family as my dad worked for Aer Lingus. This opened my eyes to different cultures and helped cultivate a deep interest in inequality.

Moving away

I initially chose an industrial design career but became disillusioned during my degree with the focus on materialism and consumption. Reading Victor Papanek’s ‘Design for the real world’ made me look beyond design for design’s sake.

There are professions more harmful than industrial design but only a few of them

Victor Papanek, Design for the real world, 1972

Over time I began to recognize that designers could take another path and focus on satisfying real societal needs in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Since then, my passion for responsible business practice and sustainable design has escalated throughout my career but has always influenced my work in product development, services and operations.

This has included working in large and small companies in a diverse range of sectors including furniture, logistics, consumer electronics, renewable energy and bioplastics.

I have also worked in academia and research centres, including spending 3 years working as operations lead at the award winning applied research organisation, the Ecodesign Centre (EDC).

I was awarded a Masters in Integrated Environmental Management in 2014, which I undertook part-time.

I spent 2015 developing my expertise in the then emerging sharing economy. I was particularly interested in how access to infrequently used household products could be provided through a new service-based retail experience.

In 2016 I created Bristol’s first MakerWalk to increase understanding around redistributed manufacturing in localised and small-scale operations. The MakerWalk involved walking the streets and uncovering manufacturers stories whilst working in partnership with artists, academics, curators and other actors. I also piloted the approach in Glasgow and Manchester.

I get particularly excited working on the detail of what responsible practices are and how they can be nurtured and expanded. The challenge of bringing anois to life with Frank is perfect timing.

For further details on my career to-date check out my linkedin profile.


Acknowledgement: The image is taken from Captain Planet which is owned by Turner and Time Warner.

Posted in: Reflections
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