Wendy Gunn

Adj Prof

Accepting PhD Students


Research activity per year

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Personal profile





Wendy Gunn MA, PhD, FSA Scot, FRAI is Adjunct Professor (Research) in Design, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Wendy’s Adjunct Professorship is connected to the Emerging Technologies Research Lab and will enable her to continue collaborating with Professor Sarah Pink and her research team. As Adjunct Professor (Research) in Design she will be working on a number research projects and publications that complement the Emerging Technologies Lab core themes: energy futures, future mobilities, public space, and design for wellbeing. As a researcher, she has cross-disciplinary expertise in design, architecture and anthropology and significant experience of conducting collaborative research as part of multidisciplinary design teams involving both private and public sectors. Central to her research is a close connection between theory and practice, research and teaching. Underpinning her research inquiry is a concern with the affects that design processes and future making practices have on people who engage with products, services, buildings and urban landscapes. This research inquiry is informed by a problematization of existing notions of sustainability and intervention within design processes and practices and has been underpinned by a longer-term aim to understand how people’s sensory experience and perceptual acuity can be involved during design processes and future making practices. Collaboration is central to Wendy’s research and has involved working as a researcher and research supervisor with company and industrial partners. Since 2005 she has defined frameworks for moving collaborative research inquiry into design processes and practices integrating anthropological methodologies and theoretical concepts with creative methods. Her publications explore such processes and practices through ethnographic documentation of design experimentation and analysis of emergent properties, involving learning, imagination, cooperation, etc., as well as methodological implications. In her research, she demonstrates an ability to adapt analytical insights to social processes of collective learning and skill development, and to apply those insights to design processes. As a leading scholar in Design Anthropology, she has played a crucial role in establishing a research agenda for the field of Design Anthropology at an international level. This includes developing conceptual and analytical frameworks whereby experimental design practice is the process of research inquiry, and co-editing two agenda setting key texts in the field, Design and Anthropology (Routledge, 2016, 2012) and Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013). As a result of her research contributions, the field of Design Anthropology has developed as an important area of interdisciplinary research. Wendy has published several articles and books with international publishers including: Routledge, Bloomsbury, Ashgate, Berghahn, Peter Lang, Sage. She also has many years experience of curatorial and knowledge transfer communicating scientific research in different forms to divergent audiences. Currently, she is working on an encyclopaedia article on Design Anthropology in Europe for the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Anthropology, to be published by Oxford University Press. As a research supervisor, Wendy has supervised BA, BSc, MA, MSc, PhD and industrial PhD students across the fields of design, architecture and anthropology. Thesis partners, among others: Dong Energy; Össur; Oticon; Focon Electronic Systems; DanChurchAid (Folkekirkens Nødhjælp). Supervised doctoral thesis topics include: The Patient as Skilled Practitioner: A Design Anthropology Approach to Enskilment in Health and Technology; Different Matters of Invention: Design Work as the Dissimilar Design Artefacts; Reconcepualising Understandings of Agency: Within the Demand Side Management in a Future Electricity SMART Grid Infrastructure. Integral to Wendy’s research activity was the development of the first international PhD course in Design Anthropology attracting over sixty students globally. Wendy has chaired PhD committees and examined PhD students at SDU (Denmark); NNTU (Norway); QUT (Australia); and Uni. of Glasgow (Scotland). She previously was an external examiner at Faculty of Engineering, DTU-Man.Eng/Innovation & Sustainability & Social-Technical design, Danish Technical Univ. of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2006-2010; and is currently an external examiner at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen; Design School in Kolding; and Aarhus School of Architecture.


Current and future interdisciplinary research

Gunn's current research focuses on Future Textiles for Healthcare Facilities. This research builds upon her research as Senior Research Fellow (2017-2018) at the Department of Architecture, KU Leuven University focusing on improving air quality in hospitals and her research as a Senior Researcher and Research Supervisor focusing on Indoor Climate and Quality of Life project at Sonderborg Participatory Innovation Research Center, University of Southern Denmark (2008-2011). Integral to this research, she will instigate collaborative interdisciplinary research through leveraging her extensive international network.


Education/Academic qualification

Social Anthropology, PhD, University of Manchester

1 Sep 19971 Sep 2002

Award Date: 19 Mar 2003

Social Anthropology, MA, University of Manchester

1 Sep 19951 Sep 1996

Award Date: 26 Nov 1996

External positions

Jiangsu University Jinshan Distinguished Professor, Jiangsu University

1 Sep 201931 Aug 2020

Research area keywords

  • design anthropology
  • emerging technologies
  • interdisciplinary research
  • architectural and engineering design
  • energy, health and environment
  • Futures
  • collaboration
  • transitions
  • sustainability
  • indoor environmental quality


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