Research Fellow Creative Lenses
University of the Arts London
University of the Arts London
Dr Sarah Rhodes is a design researcher, maker and educator, currently working on the Creative Lenses project, a four-year European action research project which aims to strengthen and develop the business capacity and sustainability of European cultural and arts organisations.
She previously worked on the AHRC-funded Public Collaboration Lab, a design led collaborative project exploring the potential and value of strategic collaboration between design education and local government to innovating public services and policymaking - co-creating place based solutions to local challenges.
Her AHRC-funded, practice-based PhD was completed at Central Saint Martins (CSM) in 2014. It culminated in the research exhibition The Craft of Ubuntu: an exploration of collaboration through making, shown at both the Izkio South Africa National Gallery and CSM. She developed this further with the research symposium Bridging the Divide: developing and applying design methodologies for cross-cultural collaboration.
Sarah has contributed chapters on international design to two books: Cultural Threads: transnational textiles today (Hemmings, 2014) and Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective (Skinner, 2013). Her jewellery has been exhibited internationally including at the London Design Festival and she was commissioned to design the SS09 collection for fair trade jewellery company Made, sold in Topshop, Whistles and House of Fraser.
A background in art and design teaching led to working for many years in Sub-Saharan Africa at grassroots level, facilitating community development and social innovation for a variety of marginalised communities including San|Bushmen, people living with HIV/AIDS, disadvantaged women, street children and vulnerable youth.
Co-design, collaboration, making, design anthropology, participatory design, community, culture, the agency of the craftsperson, craft and ubuntu.
Rhodes' AHRC-funded, practice based PhD research reframed collaboration between designers and African craft producers through the lens of design process, using a participatory design perspective rather than the usual paradigm of product design development. It looked to determine how craft and design practices can act as tools for communication and exchange, how to foster meaningful collaboration when the relationship of those involved is inequitable, and subsequently developed a co-creation methodology for practice, capitalising on the differing skills, experiences and cultures of those involved. It illustrated how co-creational agency, through equitable, creative exchange can engender successful outcomes.
Rhodes has published work and exhibited internationally. She is an experienced external examiner and her research has been supported with funding from the AHRC and the Design Research Society.
Rhodes has a continuing research interest in participatory design process, particularly in its use to bridge the divide between marginalised groups, and its utilisation for social innovation and sustainable practices.
2013 Design Research Society Travel Bursary
2010-2013 AHRC Doctoral Award
Thorpe, A., Prendiville, A., Rhodes, S. & Salinas, L. (2016) Public Collaboration Lab. In: Proceedings of the 14th Participatory Design Conference: Short Papers, Interactive Exhibitions, Workshops. ACM Digital Library, New York, USA.
Rhodes, Sarah (2016) DEEP DESIGN: an exhibition about pace, place and personhood. [Show/Exhibition]
Rhodes, Sarah (2015) Reframing Collaboration through the Craft of Ubuntu: Design Students Collaborating with Artisans. Making Futures: craft and the (re)turn of the maker in a post-global sustainably aware society, 4. ISSN 2042-1664
Rhodes, Sarah (2014) Contemporary Textile Imagery in Southern Africa: a question of ownership. In: Cultural Threads: transnational textiles today. Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 206-223. ISBN 9781472524997
Rhodes, Sarah (2014) Bridging the Divide: developing and applying design methodologies for cross-cultural collaboration. 15 March 2014, Central Saint Martins, Granary Building
Rhodes, Sarah (2014) The Craft of Ubuntu: an exploration of collaboration through making. [Show/Exhibition]
Rhodes, Sarah (2013) Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective: Southern Africa. In: Contemporary Jewelry In Perspective. Lark, USA, pp. 172-186. ISBN 145470277X
Rhodes, Sarah (2011) Beyond 'Nourishing the Soul of a Nation': Craft in the Context of South Africa. Making Futures: The Crafts as Change Maker in Sustainably Aware Cultures, 2. ISSN 2042-1664