Professor Dale Russell

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  • ‘Dale Russell is a troubadour, a wandering minstrel and an electric current in human form to successive generations of design students at the Royal College of Art.’  
    –Professor Sir Christopher Frayling 

    Dale Russell is Professorial Mentor and Specialist Advisor to Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art.

    She is internationally acknowledged as an interdisciplinary futurist, design practitioner and academic. Her creative direction and strategic guidance inspires narrative insight synthesis, addressing culture and society to inspire human-focused technology as we shape our future.

    She has formed long-term consultancy relationships as creative director and futurologist across a diverse blue-chip portfolio including Samsung Design Europe and Philips Lighting. 

    Dale is also Emeritus Visiting Professor of Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, as well as being an Honorary Fellow of the RCA.

  • Biography

  • In the 1960s, while still studying at St Martins College of Art and Design, Dale designed clothes for musicians, including Jimi Hendrix. She went onto the BBC Costume Department, working on programmes including Doctor Who and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Changes in technology during this period led to long-term consultancy with BT Futures and Innovation including WEB. 

    Since the early 1980s, Dale has forged long-term consultancy relationships with innovation teams at companies including BT, Psion, Nokia, Samsung and Philips, where she has contributed to the development of the widest range of technologies – from telephone to PDA (personal digital assistant) to mobile to smartphone to light and the Internet of Things. Championing user experience and experiential design within mass production, her technology practice was always balanced with craft factory-based design futures. Reflecting this, she has also provided creative direction for Wedgwood, Dunhill and, with Robin Levien, Ideal Standard, amongst others. Further interdisciplinary consultancy followed in the USA, where she worked with Herman Miller (alongside Ray Bradbury) and Ford Motors on design projects that engaged with engineering, futures and materials.

    Dale created and directed ‘Ecology: a change of palette’ at the RCA in 1990, an interdisciplinary sustainability event across all departments encompassing a poster competition (judged by Sir Peter Blake), a recycle design exhibition and industry symposium including contributions from Saatchi & Saatchi, Addis and Jaguar Motors. In 1991 she taught with Professor Roger Coleman on the first Design Age /Innovation Design Engineering project, ‘Safeway Shopping Trolley'. Dale has co-supervised five RCA PhD completions. She has since led and delivered commercial RCA student projects including Ford, Blackberry RIM and LG. 

    As Visiting Professor in Innovation Design Engineering at the RCA, Dale presented the keynote and workshop lecture at the Global Interaction Design Symposium at Keio University, Tokyo, in 2012. In addition, she was the industry link and workshop leader for the RCA Knowledge Transfer Network workshop, Citizen-Centred Design for Future Transport and RCA Design Research Symposium panel member in 2013.

    Professor Dale Russell recently celebrated over 25 years association with IDE and the RCA, where she has combined her commercial practice and academia. She believes in the role of transdisciplinary learning, with focus on the human, as we develop new technologies and disruptive design to foster a socially responsible future.

    She is the author of six books published internationally and a regular contributor to print and digital media.

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  • Practice

  • Professor Dale Russell is founding partner of Russell Studio, where she works with in-house design teams, technologists, scientists and researchers as interdisciplinary futurist and design practitioner. She has formed long-term consultancy relationships as creative director and futurologist across a diverse blue-chip portfolio including Unilever, Samsung Electronics, Arup and Philips Lighting. Dale also mentors individual designers and corporate teams. 

  • External collaborations

  • Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design

    Emeritus Visiting Professor, Design (ongoing)

    Visiting Professor (2009–13)

    MA Industrial Design, Advisor (1989–ongoing)

    MA Narrative Environment, Advisor (2005–ongoing)

    Communication Graphics, Advisor (2013–ongoing)

    Design Against Crime Research Centre, Advisor (2005–ongoing) 

    Spatial Practice Research, Advisor (2011–ongoing)

    Design Against Crime Research Centre, Research PhD Co-Supervisor (2013–15)


    Other Collaborations

    Aid and Abet, artist-led contemporary art space, Advisory Committee member (2014)

    Brunel University, School of Design and Engineering, Industry Advisory Board Panel (2006–ongoing)

    Internet of Things, KTN TSB, RIBA, Specialist Contributor (2012)

    The Catapult for the Connected Digital Economy and User Driven Innovation, KTN TSB, London, Advisor (2012)

    Internet of Things, KTN TSB, Loughborough University, Specialist Contributor (2012)

    Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, Guest Reader (2010)

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Selected Publications

    Russell, D. (2012) ‘Human Focused Design-Emotional Intelligence’, in: R. Tyszczuk, J. Smith, N. Clark, M. Butcher (eds) ATLAS Geography, Architecture and Change In An Interdependent World, London: Black Dog

    Russell, D. (2012) Transmission: Object Abuse, ADRC, Sheffield Hallam University / HARC / Royal Holloway University of London

    Russell, D. (2012) [Online Workshop Output], The Catapult for the Connected Digital Economy and User Driven Innovation

    Russell, D. (2012) Internet of Things Roundtable, London: RIBA

    Russell, D. (2010) ‘Once Upon A Time’, in: Miles Pennington (ed.) 2010/30 Innovation Design Engineering. IDE Royal College of Art/Beacon Press

    Russell, D. (2008) ‘Emotion in Design’, Design Council Knowledge Cell


    Selected Conferences, Workshops and Symposia

    Keynote, Women and Innovation in the Digital Economy: Triumphs and Challenges, ESRC Seminar Series, University of Brighton (2014)

    Keynote, Design in Innovation: Design For The Future Seminar, KTN, London (2014)

    Keynote & Workshop, LHE, Philips, London (2013)

    Keynote & Workshop, Illuminesca, Philips, Eindhoven (2013)

    Provocation, ‘Transmission: Object Abuse’, symposium, ADRC / Sheffield Hallam (2013)

    Provocation, Battle of Ideas, Barbican (2013)

    Chair, Emotion and Design Conference, London (2012)

    Provocation, Humanities and Arts Research Centre, Royal Holloway, University of London (2012

    [Contributor], ATLAS: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London (2012)

    Keynote and workshop, KPN Inspiration Leadership Workshop, Holland (2011)

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Selected work

Research

Research interests

Abstract 3D model to Reveal Ethos of Solo Project [1992, 2011-14]; outcome predicted 2014/15

This pedagogical research project has been designed to interrogate and enhance IDE2 second-year solo projects at concept stage to promote understanding and enable discussion and research, while providing a focus for critical perception.