Dr Nicky Ryan

Dean of Design

London College of Communication


Nicky is Programme Director in the School of Design responsible for the academic leadership and management of the Spatial Communication and Contextual & Theoretical Studies Programme which includes BA (Hons) Design Cultures, BA (Hons) Spatial Design, BA (Hons) Interior Design, FDA Interior Design, BA (Hons) Surface Design, FDA Surface Design, MDes Service Design Innovation and the cross-course provision of Contextual & Theoretical Studies units.

Before her career in education, Nicky worked in fashion as a self-taught designer/maker followed by jobs in fashion retailing in the areas of buying, marketing, visual merchandising and merchandise management. Her undergraduate and postgraduate studies were in the History of Art and Architecture and her doctoral thesis examined the relationship between museums and the market.

Nicky has delivered a range of book chapters, articles, refereed journals and conference proceedings on the above and is currently completing a book on contemporary patronage for Ashgate. Recent publications include ‘Art and urban renewal: Public and private developments in Las Vegas’, The Marketing Review, (Dec 2013), ‘Review of Serpentine Sackler Gallery’, Museums Journal, (Dec 2013), ‘Patronage’ in Fashion and Art (Berg, 2012), and ‘Lobby Living’ in Performance, Fashion and the Modern Interior (Berg, 2011). 

Research interests

Design histories, cultures and theories; museums, the market and curating; contemporary patronage and philanthropy; spatial agency and design; branded spaces; role of culture in regeneration.

Research statement

I am an art and design writer and researcher with a particular interest in contemporary spatial practices and cultural institutions.

My research, at doctoral and postdoctoral level, has broadly focused around museums and the market, the intersection between business and the arts in terms of collaborations between cultural institutions and private companies, the physical spaces in which these relationships are embodied and the role of culture as a tool of legitimation and marketing. This interdisciplinary research has resulted in a body of publications in relation to contemporary patronage; branded spaces; museums and curating and culture-led regeneration.

For the last decade I have been a reviewer for the Museums Journal, an industry publication which connects me to a network of museum professionals, and have worked on live projects and collaborations with cultural institutions involving curating exhibitions, events, catalogues and websites. My interest in spatial practices has included research with local residents from locations as diverse as Crystal Palace and Las Vegas exploring issues of community advocacy in the regeneration of place. From a pedagogic perspective I believe that education should play a role in raising students’ awareness of their wider social responsibilities and am an advocate of student community engagement.


Karel Doing, How can expanded cinema be used as a tool to envision a posthuman future?

Katie Hayes, Graphic Design and the gallery: What are the implications of the increased display of graphic design texts and process in museum and gallery spaces? What impact does exhibition design and curating practice have on the understanding of those texts and practices?

Demetra Kolakis, [un] Folding Fashion Spaces: An investigation of the mediatization of fashion from concept to consumption.

Wong Kwok Kei (Sandra) Cultural Translation: An Analysis of Chinese Tropes in Emerging Luxury Chinese Lifestyle-Fashion Brands

Selected research outputs