Thinking and doing: collected thoughts

PhD part 16: Stamping it out: are portrayals of scientists getting less sexist?

September 2020

On trying to work out what science is and finding out I'm far from having this licked……

On George Porter Towers: a building we will regret losing

May 2020

A lament at the imminent passing of a sadly neglected building……

Getting your head around choosing and using type

May 2020

A lowdown of things type, for my Spatial Type class: a rough guide to the terminology of type, of choosing typefaces, and the use and detailing of doing things with type……

PhD part 15: Shaking out A load off my mind

10 December 2019

A little spin through A load off your mind laundromat……

PhD part 14: A Load Off Your Mind: a laundromat for 'airing the dirty laundry'!

November 2019

A little background on the A Load Off Your Mind laundromat……

PhD part 13: A load off your mind science culture laundromat: an installation for NZAS

October 2019

This post has information, including ethics information about the NZAS A load off your mind science culture laundromat…

PhD part 12: Thought for the day: can you be a practitioner and a critic of design?

8 August 2019

This week, the wonderful Stephanie Pride told me to write 250 words a day. Turns out I default to largely self-indulgent twaddle, but this is my musing about being a critic of and a practitioner in one discipline……

PhD part 11(ish): Disciplinary recipes: a visual guide!

PhD part 11: 31 July 2019

A food analogy always goes a long way, and this one has the added bonus of helping me recall what intradisciplinary, crossdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary are!…

PhD Part 10: brain scans and 'looking inside'

PhD part 10: 19 March 2019

Huh. So it appears I've been more tied up in my health than I realised. And hopefully this getting it off my chest (or out of my brain), will have helped me move forward…

Engagement by Design: Engagement Through Design — A Proposal

PhD part 09: 1 December 2018

Very soon, I am giving my confirmation presentation. This is the moment I get feedback on what I say I am going to do. Frankly, it is the kick up the arse I need and I am mostly enjoying the process (interspersed with the normal crises of confidence, but that's for another post)… So, while I still have a week or so to evolve, here is the work in progress status report on what I think I'll be doing for the next two years. Please @ me any feedback on Twitter!…

So what's science communication then?

PhD part 08: 30 November 2018

A ramble about what certain terms in the field of scicomm mean……

So what's design then?

PhD Part 07: November 30 2018

A ramble about what design is, and how I am applying it to my PhD……

Work in progress July 2018

July 2018

I've had a few design irons in the fire……

#JoDoesPhD Part Six: Reflexive Abstracting: a new hybrid process?

PhD part 06: 17 May 2018

It's been a busy month, but I feel like I might be making some progress, and I have an idea……

#JoDoesPhD Part Five: The personal behind procrastination

PhD part 05: 17 February – 21 March 2018

Ugh. I am stuck. But perhaps this will explain why and shift me out of it……

#JoDoesPhD Part Four: What is reflexivity?

PhD part 04: 18 January 2018

It’s time to tackle the elephant in the room. Despite signing up for a PhD with ‘reflexive’ in the title, my sense of what that means in practice is pretty tenuous (though obviously I’m hoping that evolves as I write this post!). It is probably on-par with my grasp of the rules of cricket: I have a general sense of the broad points, but the details are sketchy…

#JoDoesPhD Part Three

PhD part 03: 10 December 2017

I’ve been PhDing for just over a month. I have more books out from the libraries of Massey, Vic and elsewhere than is reasonable for a single human. I was feeling a bit smug in a ‘look at me being busy’ way about the piles on my desk(s) but the unopened ones have begun to make me feel guilty. Looming ominously, they may be multiplying on their own… I really need to learn to speed read…

#JoDoesPhD part two

PhD part 02: 13 November 2017

So I’m underway. I got off to a flying start with a two day hui with Te Pūnaha Matatini, the Centre of Research Excellence who are funding my scholarship. I met a whole heap of amazing people, some of whom will likely become my research subjects, and many more great sounding boards (HT David Hall for the great references!)…

#JoDoesPhD part one

PhD part 01: 11 November 2017

Earlier this year, I applied for a PhD. It was a spur of the moment thing. A SCANZ email came through my inbox and there was a notice about a scholarship to work on a science communication focused PhD at Victoria University, a brisk 20 minutes from my current home at Massey’s School of Design…

Those moments when you know it's worth it

June 2017

I'm just back from a trip to the States, the highlight of which was seeing our students accept a Global Design Award at the SEGD conference in Miami. The project that was recognised was Pipe Dreaming, our installation for FESTA, the Festival of Transitional Architecture in Christchurch – one of my favorite ever projects…

Works in Progress

April 2017

I've got a lot going on. I should get better at recording it… I say yes to too many things. Today something monumental happened. I said no to something. Well rather, I said 'I'm sorry I said yes, I shouldn't have, I'm too busy'. It feels good! Part of the reason is, I hate not doing a good job of things I've said yes to, and I'm definitely teetering on that edge at the moment. So I've decided to focus, and start actually recording my process, and documenting what I've been up to. Recently, I've been working on a few things…

Lean Means at FESTA: The Festival of Transitional Architecture 2016

February 2017

This is an article written by Nick Kapica and I about FESTA; the Festival of Transitional Architecture in Christchurch: In the aftermath of the devastating Christchurch earthquake of 2011, FESTA was born. FESTA is Christchurch’s Festival of Transitional Architecture, initiated in 2012 as a way to reimagine a city in flux, finding its feet and redefining its spaces. The first FESTA was a nighttime light show and street party; a moment of joy and wonder that helped reconnect people, through a shared moment, with the city centre; socialising and social bonding. It was so successful it became an annual event…

Designing Extraordinary


This is a diary essay I kept while working on Extraordinary Anywhere, a book I designed with Anna Brown, a colleague and mentor at Massey. A heavily edited version of this (with some of the angst redacted!) was published as the design colophon in the book…

Some thoughts on thoughts on design school

April 2015

Last week, a current student at the school where I teach wrote a thoughtful blog post about her perspective on the design school experience entitled 'A glimpse into what it’s like in a classroom at design school'. It was thought-provoking, well reasoned and reflective. Though Femke is clear her post focuses on the parts of her design school experience that could be improved upon, I'll admit to a knee-jerk 'that's not how I see it' reaction. In the few seconds it took me to get over that, I thought it might be helpful to offer a different perspective…

The überlist of 'words I googled'


An ongoing collection of words I have googled…

A session on conference posters for Te Pūnaha Matatini

November 2020

Polish my poster!…

This section has a selection of articles and posts I've written, and some work-in-progress things that haven't quite made it to 'finished work' stage. I believe in sharing my process not just the finished article, and (unless the copyright is owned elsewhere or jointly) in Creative Commons access.



Work > A load off your mind


Thoughts > PhD part 16: Stamping it out: are portrayals of scientists getting less sexist?