Professor Lorraine Gamman
BiographyDr. Lorraine Gamman is Professor of Design at Central Saint Martins and Director of UAL’s award-winning Design Against Crime Research Lab (DACRL), which she founded in 1999, to explore how art, design and creative engagement processes can reduce crime. An authority in applied social design practice, she is co-creator of a range of award-winning anti-crime product interventions and online resources that interpret and address offender techniques, and utilises creative interventions to attempt to reduce crime. Lorraine teaches in the UK and overseas as Visiting Scholar to international design schools and is currently advisor to the UK’s National Criminal Justice Arts Allowance (NCJAA). She has co-developed significant research funded projects and design outputs and presents extensively on her research and design approaches. She works with policy-makers, crime prevention practitioners, students and communities; and draws on creative teaching and learning methods to involve professionals, local groups and prisoners in designing against crime.
Lorraine Gamman gained a BA (Hons) Degree in Cultural Studies from Middlesex University (1984), followed by an MA in Women’s Studies (1987) from the University of Kent. Her studies led to the co-edited book The Female Gaze: Women as Viewers of Popular Culture, The Women’s Press, (1988, 1991, 1992), and later the co-authored work Female Fetishism: A New Look, Lawrence & Wishart (1994).
Gamman’s PhD at Middlesex University in 1999 explored the role of gender mythologies in perceptions of shoplifting and marked the start of her research focus on crime. Gone Shopping: the Story of Shirley Pitts Queen of Thieves was published by Penguin Books (1996) - a spinoff from the oral history gathered for her PhD. It was reprinted in 2012 by Bloomsbury, with an extensive new afterword about the links between shoplifting and design.
Originally a freelance sub-editor with The Women’s Press, Gamman joined Central Saint Martins, UAL as Contextual Design Studies tutor in 1991 and has taught design in the UK at Goldsmiths, Middlesex University and UAL. As Visiting Scholar, she has taught internationally at University of Technology Sydney; National Institute of Design, India (NID) and at numerous European design schools connected to the international DESIS network (Design for Innovation and Sustainability).
Gamman is a leading authority in applied social design practice through her pioneering work at UAL Design Against Crime Research Centre and leadership in responsive design methods (Gamman & Thorpe 2006, 2011, 2016, 2018).
Award-winning anti-crime innovations include Stop Thief chairs, Karrysafe bags, caMden bike stands, ATM mats and Makeright anti-theft bags. Effectively interpreting and addressing offender techniques, the products are regarded as social design benchmarks – some purchased by Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) New York for their permanent collection. Accompanying these physical interventions, she is co-creator of online get smart quick resources such as bikeoof.org., inthebag,org and makeright.org.
She currently advises the UK’s National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) and powerfully argues that creative learning accommodates neurodiverse learning styles, and builds agile and entrepreneurial skills that enable people to adapt better to change - skills needed by employers. The creative projects she runs in prison also aim to build empathy and resilience in prisoners, encouraging them to put something back in order to rehabilitate and to use restorative understandings to move towards non-criminal identities (Gamman & Thorpe, 2018a; 2019).
Outside of the UK, Gamman advised on the setting up of Sydney’s Designing Out Crime Research Centre and has briefed criminal justice practitioners about designing against crime at Seoul’s Design Academy. More recently (2016, 2018) she has co designed against crime with prisoners; alongside research collaborator Praveen Narhar and students from NID also subsequently working on prison research led by co-researchers from South Denmark University.
Collaboration and co-research
From 2007 to 2011 Gamman was a member of the Home Office/Design Council’s ‘Design Technology Alliance’. She advised on a national strategy for Royal Society of Arts and Audi Foundation and created briefs encouraging designers to address real world design justice issues. Between 2002-2015 she was Vice-Chair of the UK Designing Out Crime Association, sharing her knowledge with crime prevention practitioners and police officers.
She has been involved with Ceramic, Industrial and Product Design at Central Saint Martins for over 2 decades; building user and participatory design methods into student projects with local communities and externally funded Design Against Crime research outputs.
Working with practitioners from the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science at University College London, Gamman has also co-developed significant research funded projects and design outputs.
Since 2001, she has co-led and co-curated at least 20 national and international exhibitions. She has presented academic papers and outputs that feature ‘social safer” design approaches (Thorpe and Gamman 2013), and design justice projects involving prisoners, that draw on creative teaching and learning methods to involve inmates in designing against crime (Gamman & Thorpe 2018a). She has also written over 50 academic design papers and a number of books including Tricky Design: The Ethics of Things, Bloomsbury 2019.