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Gail Ramster


  • Gail Ramster
  • Area

    The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design


    Senior Research Associate

  • Gail is Senior Research Associate in the Social & Global Research Space. Her work focuses on people-centred design and co-design approaches, whether in the context of employee wellbeing, community engagement or public attitudes to new technology. She is interested how digital tools and open data can be used to support public services and civic participation. 

    Since joining the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in 2009 Gail has worked on a number of industry and academic research projects. Most recently she managed a team of researchers on GATEway, funded by InnovateUK, exploring how attitudes to autonomous vehicles might shape our cities. She also led Workplace & Wellbeing, which involved employees in the workplace design process. Creative Citizens looked at how new media can engage more people in community-led projects; and TACT3, Tackling Ageing Continence through Theory, Tools and Technology, which led to the launch of The Great British Public Toilet Map

  • Biography

  • Gail has an MEng in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College (1999–2003), and spent her final year at Ecole Centrale de Lyon, France. She has worked internationally, with engineering placements at Coca Cola (Atlanta, USA) and Plastic Omnium (Lyon, France) before working in the UK and Spain as part of Sony’s European Graduate Scheme.

    Gail gained an MA in Industrial Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art (2005–7). After graduating she worked in wayfinding design before joining the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design as a Research Associate on the three-year TACT3 project. This built on her MA dissertation, The Public Toilet: A Woman’s Place and the RATs research project, presenting alternative community approaches to public toilet provision. Research into publicly accessible toilets resulted in an inclusive design guide, her blog ‘Public Toilets and..’, and the ongoing open data project, The Great British Public Toilet Map.

    Gail expanded her research profile with Creative Citizens. This two and a half year AHRC-funded project built on her knowledge of digital technology and community involvement, as well as her growing interest in local government and the design of public services. 

    Gail worked closely with community-led projects, co-designing digital interventions to engage more people in their projects. She hopes to expand this work within the themes of civic participation, collaborative digital tools and the citizen-led design of neighbourhood spaces and services.

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  • External collaborations

    • Open Data Summit, November 2014, London - Invited Speaker
    • Geomob, November 2014, London - Invited Speaker
    • Proceedings of ICE - Municipal Engineer, Sept 2014 - Reviewer
    • Open Data Institute Lunchtime Lectures, Sept 2014, London - Invited Speaker
    • Royal Geographical Society International Conference, August 2003, London – Facilitator
    • Nordic Design Research Conference, June 2013, Malmo – Workshop Organiser
    • AcrossRCA interdisciplinary student project, Nov 2012, London – Organiser
    • Design Council ‘Keeping Connected’ Challenge, March to June 2011 - Design Ambassador
    • Department of Communities and Local Government ‘Really Useful Day’ March 2011 - Project Mentor
    • RCA Include Conferences 2011 and 2013 – Reviewer
  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Harrow, D., Gheerawo, R., Phillips, D., Ramster, G. (2018) (forthcoming). Understanding how attitudes towards autonomous vehicles can shape the design of our cities, Proceedings of ICE - Municipal Engineer 171(1) 

    Myerson, J., Ramster, G. (2016). Workplace health and wellbeing: can greater design participation provide a cure? In Design for Healthcare (Design for Social Responsability series) ed. Cooper R & Tsekleves E, Gower UK.

    Alexiou, K., Agusita, E., Alevizou, G., Chapain, C., Greene, C., Harte, D., Ramster, G., Zamenopoulos, T. (2015) Asset mapping and civic creativity in Hargreaves, I & Hartley, J (Eds) The Creative Citizen Unbound. Policy Press.

    Harrow, D., Gheerawo, R., Ramster, G., Saunders, M. (2016) Using public views on autonomous vehicles to shape to design of our future cities. Submitted to The 6th International Conference for Universal Design. Nagoya December 2016

    Ramster, G. (2015) Building a National Toilet Map for the Public’s Convenience, The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, London, 25 March 2015

    Ramster, G (2011-). Toilets and... blog. [Accessed 7 Jan 2014]

    Ramster, G (2012, 2014). Co-designing with Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum; Finding Community-led Design Projects; Community asset-mapping and a Jubilee Street Party, in Creative Citizens blog. Available at  [Accessed 7 Jan 2014]

    Lockton, D., Greene, C., Ramster, G., Outten, A. & Raby, E. (2014) The Story Machine at The Mill’ in Lockton, D., Greene, C., Casey, A., Raby, E., & Vickress, A. (eds) Creative Citizens Variety Pack: Inspiring digital ideas from community projects, Royal College of Art, London

    Bichard, J., Greene, C., Ramster, G. & Staples, T. (2013) Designing Ethnographic Encounters for Enriched HCI, Interaction Models and Techniques for Ageing and Impairment
: Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction Proceedings of HCI, Springer

    McNair, S,. Flynn, M,. Myerson, J., Gheerawo, R. & Ramster, G. (2012) What are the supply (workforce) and demand (product) implications of an ageing workforce? Foresight, Government Office for Science, London

    Bichard, J. & Knight. G. (2012) Improving Public Services through open Data: The Great British Public Toilet Map, Proceedings of ICE - Municipal Engineer 165(3) pp. 157-165

    Knight, G., Bichard, J. (2011) Publicly Accessible Toilets: An Inclusive Design Guide, Royal College of Art, London

    Knight, G. (2011) Why Mapping Toilets is a Great use of Government Data. Guardian Technology Data [online] 2011 [Accessed 7 April 2014]

    Knight, G. (2010) From Traffic Lights to Toilets, Texting is Working for Local Government, Guardian Local Government Professional Network blog [online] 22/12/2010 [Accessed 7 April 2014]

    Bichard, J., Knight, G. & Greene, C., (2010) TACT3: Researching Toilets for All, Access By Design, Centre for Accessible Environments, Spring 2010 Issue 122

    Keynote and Invited Presentations

    Ramster, G. (2015) ‘Excuse me, where is the toilet (data)?’ Open Data Institute Lunchtime Lectures, September 2014, London 

    Bichard, J & Ramster, G. (2015) `Designing Sustainability into Cities; The Great British Public Toilet Map', at London Environmental Challenge. Future Cities Catapult. London, 16 April 2015

    Ramster, G. (2015) ‘Digital Toilets: For your convenience’ OpenTech, London, 13 June 2015

    Bichard, J. & Ramster, G. (2015) Designing Sustainability into Cities; The Great British Public Toilet Map. London Environmental Challenge. Future Cities Catapult. London 16 April 2015

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