Mr Wyn Griffiths BA, MSc, FRSA, Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University, Department of Design Engineering and Mathematics, School of Science and Technology:
I am a Senior Lecturer in Design Engineering and Mathematics teaching primarily on our BA(Hons) Product Design and BEng(Hons) Product Design Engineering. I lead and partner on large collaborative social innovation research projects on which my students are empowered as co-creators and co-investigators and have experience of over 25 years in product design and engineering and design education.
Curerently, I am:
Project Lead on the British Science association and Royal Academy of Engineering funded ‘Climate Crisis – WILDFIRE!’ programme, partnering with young community creatives, community and community housing organisations, climate scientists, early career engineers, fire and resue experts and creative technologists; Principal Investigator on the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UKRI) Nucleus Award ‘Space Plague: An immersive, collaborative and scalable experience providing deep engagement with the physical sciences for young people and families’, a partnership between 10 organisations/universities, 3 Schools, 20 teachers 500 pupils;
Design Lead on the Heritage Lottery Green Recovery Challenge Fund ‘Connecting Schools to Nature’ partnering with the British Ecological Society, 3 universities, 50 early career ecologists, 50 schools, 350 teachers and 10000+ pupils in North East England.
I am Director of SMASH_UK CIC (SMASHfestUK) an organisation dedicated to widening participation and building diversity in science, technology, engineering and maths and the arts.
I am a ‘Wonder Leader’ for the STFC, focusing on co-designed public engagement with under-served communities in the most socioeconomically deprived areas of the UK, and a Board Member for the ‘Explore Your Universe’ programme with the national Association of Science Discovery Centres, who are visited annually by 20 million children and adults, which supports building science capital with families in the 40% most deprived regions of the UK.
My teaching interweaves with these projects. I designed my courses to be studio and project-based, with the large-scale social innovation collaborations at the heart of the project experiences. Students work in teams as part of the collaborations, alongside partnership experts and public participants. My students participate in the associated large external exhibitions, festivals and outreach programmes, designing and leading the events.
My work spans many sectors and a disparate range of public engagement arenas. I was Principal Investigator for the British Council funded 'Jua Kali – Informal Sector Manufacture Project' bringing together local artisans in informal settlements in Kenya, community groups, local and international researchers and academics, formal industry and governmental and non-governmental representatives to co-create plans for sustainable development in energy, waste management, employment and policy in the informal economy. From this, i founded madegood.org and the 'Fuel From Waste Network', which he continues to lead, exploring routes to sustainable transition energy in informal communities in Kenya and Sudan through participatory actions.
I have significant experience in event, installation, experience and exhibition design, build and management. Prior work includes conceiving, founding and running SMASHfestUK, with The Refinery; creating large scale mechanical installations such as the Globe of Dislocation, exhibited in the Royal Observatory Courtyard in 2014/15 as part of their Longitude Punk'd Exhibition and the Stained Glass "Car of the Future" – a physical thought experiment with designer Dominic Wilcox for BMW, Mini and Dezeen and designing and designing and running 'Robot Overlords', an immersive robotics experience, exploring the perception and reality of robotics technology and social penetration for London Design Festival 2015.
My pedagogical practice philosophy and methods began to emerge before I entered HE. I worked for ten years, from 1995 with a collaborative collective of ecologists, educators, artists and students, called ‘Art Alert’, as lead designer and engineer. We created immersive, interactive experiences that were designed to be co-created by the ‘audience’ in situ at public events aimed at informal education in ecology and sustainability. That core of interdisciplinary and cross sectoral collaboration for social innovation, co-creation, immersion for engagement and learning and connecting with communities has informed my teaching, research and curriculum development since.
I transferred these experiences into designing and building Product Design and Engieering provision at Middlesex Univeristy. To create and incorporate these approaches into an innovative Learning, Teaching and Assessment philosophy required me to design a conceptual model for the courses that embodied this philosophy. The designed course structure has a 60 credit spine, through all years, of Projects, Processes and Practice. Through this run multi-sectoral experiences, and external collaborations. This philosophy and practice has produced high visibility and high quality activities, with high impact both nationally and globally. It has led curriculum developments across our Faculty of Science and Technology and led Middlesex University’s mission for social inclusion through innovation, and has stimulated institutional strategic development and focus on Inclusive Innovation (discussed in Section 3). Student work and action is integral and their direct education and future prospects have been supported by their involvement in all projects.
I am a reflective practitioner; pedagogy, professional practice and the impact these have on students’ experiences are key to my approach. My teaching philosophy is influenced by the many social activists and community organisers I have worked with, as much as by formal education theorists. During my time as a programme leader. I have successfully led the review and revalidation of the BA (twice), BSc and validation of BEng/MEng; BA (twice) and BSc through IED Accreditation (10+ years) and Creative Skillset Accreditation (7 years). Collaborative practice is embedded in my pedagogical core of programme design with creative conversations being a central part of the learning, teaching and assessment design (Bardill, Griffiths, et al. 2010).
Some examples of this in action:
Open innovation - https://challenges.openideo.com/blog/interview-middlesex-university-professor-engages-students-with-openideo
Informal and formal educational experiences and environments. Product Design, Strategic Design. Creative Design Process, Ideas. Social/Responsible Design, Open Innovation. Service Design, Systems Design. Design Semiotics, Product Semantics. Design Management, Design for Manufacture/Assembly/Environment
Using design thinking and design doing for positive societal change, particularly in:
Connecting formal and informal learning experiences and environments.
Widening participation in STEM, the Arts and Design, in underserved and under-represented communities.
Breaking down barriers between disciplines and creating meaningful multi-disciplinary/multi-sector collaborations.
Building insightful and resilient mindsets in young people.
Patel, Ahmed and Griffiths, Wyn (2021) MDXPD Magazine 2021. Technical Report. Middlesex University, London, UK.
Keith, Lindsay and Griffiths, Wyn (2021) SCENE: A novel model for engaging underserved and under-represented audiences in informal science learning activities. Research For All , 5 (2). pp. 320-346. ISSN 2399-8121
Griffiths, Wyn and Keith, Lindsay (2021) Communities and narratives in neglected spaces: voices from SMASHfestUK. Journal of Science Communication , 20 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1824-2049
Keith, Lindsay and Griffiths, Wyn (2020) “Space Plague”: an investigation into immersive theatre and narrative transportation effects in informal pandemic science education. Journal of Science Communication , 19 (07). ISSN 1824-2049
Patel, Ahmed and Griffiths, Wyn (2020) #MDXPD Product Design 2020. Technical Report. Middlesex University, London, UK.
Co-Founder/Co-Director - SMASHfestUK
2016 Finalist in NCCPE Public Engagement in STEM 'Engage Award':
Press coverage of research and practice projects:
'The Government School of Design'
The Wellcome Collection - Raw Minds: Creative Merchandise
Fuel from Waste: Middlesex's design expertise helps Kenyans manufacture a cheaper, more sustainable alternative to charcoal
Design Council Spark - Lead Mentor (working with 2015 Winner - Ayca Dundar)
Product Design graduate wins Institute of Making’s cutlery competition with final year project
Meteoric science festival bound for London
Product Design student's bipolar technology exhibited at Design Museum
Middlesex team helps build stunning 'glass car'
Time-travelling airship lands at Royal Observatory
MDX alumni ask London Design Festival 'what is a product designer?'
IDEOMake: 'Knit Hero'
Bright future for students with stunning light designs
Designs for good health