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Patricia Austin

Course Leader MACPfNE
Central Saint Martins
Email address
Researcher Research
Patricia  Austin


Tricia is an academic, PhD supervisor, author, curator and design researcher. She is Course Leader of MA Narrative Environments and Research Leader for the Spatial Practices Programme at Central Saint Martins (CSM), University of the Arts London.

Tricia has taught art and design in Higher Education for over 20 years. She has lectured in Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai on spatial narrative and placemaking. She has devised and run collaborative projects with Universities in China, the United States, South Korea, Germany and Turkey. Tricia was the CSM lead on EU-PA, a €400,000 EU funded project to develop culture-led city regeneration methodologies, involving multiple stakeholders and producing exemplar case studies.

Tricia has convened international conferences and curated numerous exhibitions. She co-devised and co-curated the inaugural Re-envisioning Exhibition Design summit ‘Chaos at the Museum: Designing for Audience Participation’ in London, 2014, which examined what’s working and what’s not in the realm of designing for audience interaction and participation. She co-curated the international conference ‘The Future of Museum and Gallery Design’ in Hong Kong, 2015, an international conference exploring creative research and practice in museum making. Tricia’s paper discussed the expanding role of museums as agents of change in the social fabric of their cities.

Patricia is investigating how stories can be folded onto physical space in order to create memorable human experiences and produce places that have distinct identities.

How can theories of space and theories of narrative inform each other? How can physical and virtual worlds be combined, to produce multi-sensory environments? Where is the agency and who or what are the actants? What is the role of user participation? How can narrative environments address social, economic and environmental sustainability?

Areas of research: cultural theory and design practice

The use of narrative theory to unite different disciplines, designers, curators, writers and architects, in the development of spatial environments that integrate objects, text, sound, images, media and light for example, cultural venues, visitor centres, exhibitions, museums, historic sites, entertainment venues, sports events, shopping experience, branded environments, corporate events, product launches, urban and community environments.

The systematic inclusion of socio-cultural issues in the development and application of new digital technologies in the design of spatial environments which support direct and emotional user engagement, participatory and co-design.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

  • European Culture Programme, EuroPA, £65,870.00, (2011-2013)

Research Outputs

Art/Design item

Conference, Symposium or Workshop item



Current research students

  • Carlotta Allum, Grasping the soul; how, and in what ways, does facilitating digital storytelling through participatory design processes, aid personal transformation of criminal justice participants? (Joint supervisor)
  • Symeon Banos, Is the curator still present? An “instagrammable” revitalisation of curatorial practices. (Lead supervisor)
  • Clare Brown, Exhibition Design as Experience Design: Rethinking the Exhibition Development and Design Process at History and Culture Museums
  • Silvia Grimaldi, Designing Narrative Product Interactions (Lead supervisor)
  • Matthew Haycocks, Where were we now? Geo-located narratives of quotidian archives. (Lead supervisor)
  • Valerie Mace, Cultivating atmospheres in public foyers: the interplay between space, governance and participation (Lead supervisor)
  • Valerie Mace, Dimensions of intimacy: a framework for design to nurture individuals’ ability to develop a deep emotional connection with the public interior (Lead supervisor)
  • Julia Pitts, Story Design and the Museum: Re-evaluating the Role fo Narrative in the Exhibition Experience (Lead supervisor)
  • Giles Rollestone, Lost in transcription: Enhancing the Typographic Description of Prosody in written Discourse through Dynamic Typography. (Lead supervisor)
  • Olga Maria Surawska, Discovery in Flux: Adventure and Safety Factors in Exploratory Walking in Changing Urban Landscapes. (Lead supervisor)
  • Ryo Terui, Visual Storyboarding tools for Public Engagement and social justice (updated 06/10/17) (Lead supervisor)
  • Ryo Terui, Graphic Tools for Public Engagement.