a collective cv

under construction:

as I try to complete this list I keep remembering more and more people - and I am sure I am forgetting others whose presence and collaboration were and are a joy (last updated september 2010).

a brief synopsis of the collective cv is appended

Being asked to write a synopsis of my career I decided to include the names of all the people I can remember without whom these activities would not have happened.

I hope that everyone mentioned will feel that their parts in the activities described (in our attempted improvement of designing, and of industrial living) are being honoured also...

...and with apologies to anyone whom I should have included but didn't remember. Please let me know of omissions.

I am also starting an alphabetical list of names from which, eventually, I hope to make links to the websites of those of us who have them.

the collective cv (not yet completed)


I was born in Aberystwyth in 1927.

and was educated in several directions:

towards engineering at Cambridge University and as a college apprentice at the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company, Trafford Park, Manchester (AEI Ltd) (close to what is now the University of Salford),

towards sculpture by Robert Adams at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London and Sydney Spedding at the Regional College of Art (Now part of Manchester Metropolitan University),

towards industrial design by Jack Howe at his consulting office in 1956 and during his consultations with AEI Ltd. throughout the 1950s,

towards ergonomics by attending the early conferences of the Ergonomics Research Society and by the writings of Alan Welford, Donald Broadbent, Hywel Murrell, Otto Edholm, E F O'Doherty and others

towards literature by the lectures of Eric Mottram on American Poetry at King's College, London, and the writings of Gertrude Stein, John Cage, and others and by the presence of Edwin Schlossberg, Annetta Pedretti, Allen Fisher, David Miller and others.

and in design methods by my irritation at the continuing bad design of industrial life (the environment as teacher!).

From 1950 to 1975 I worked in industrial design and ergonomics:

with E K Muir and J K Page at the Council of Industrial Design, London, on the selection of exhibits for the Festival of Britain,

1951-1961 with Harry West, C H Fluerscheim, R M Kay, Ray Gray, Leslie Huggard and several college apprentices at Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company, Trafford Park, Manchester where I started courses in aesthetics and design methods for engineers and where began one of the first ergonomics labs in British industry,

the Regional College of Art (now part of Manchester Metropolitan University) where with Kenneth Brayshaw I taught industrial design and with John Holden, Ray Howarth and Leslie Saxon I proposed and helped institute advanced studies and research into user design with Alan Worsley, Nigel Gough, Fred Scott and others,

1961-1971 UMIST, Manchester University, with Denis Harper who gave me responsibility for the first graduate course in design technology with Ian Hughes, Nigel Cross, Reg Talbot, Chris Goodwin and others,

1971-1975 The Open University, UK, invited by Geoff Hollister and with Nigel Cross, Robin Roy, Simon Nicholson, Chris Crickmay and others where I was the first professor of design.

guest professorships:

1974-1975 visiting scholar at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg (invited by Tom Regan)

1975-1976 the Architectural Association, London, (invited by Paul Oliver)

1976-1999 Henry Van de Velde Institute, Antwerp, (invited by Vic Goyvaerts, Philippe Neerman, Paul Verhaert and Chris Baelus and made welcome by many others)

1978 awarded the title of Professor Honorario at the School of Advanced Studies at the Center for Art and Communication, Buenos Aires (conferred by Jorge Glusberg and invited to Argentina by Arturo Montagu, Jorge Vila Ortiz, Marina Waisman, Miguel Angel Roca, Alfonso Corona-Martinez and others)

1989 and 1995 Indiana University, Bloomington, invited by C Thomas Mitchell and Claire Mitchell, and in several universities in Canada to give lectures organised by Pierre Goumain

1994-1998 The Royal College of Art, London (invited by Daniel Weil and others)

I have lectured in many other universities and colleges in Europe, North and South America and Japan (invited by many people, far more than I can remember).

consulting, organising, and training:

1960-1980 design consultant in ergonomics and industrial design to manufacturers of car seats (invited by John Cox and working with F A Babbs and others ), and other products.

with Ray Gray taught design methods and ergonomics at a course organised by MITI in Tokyo (invited by Hiroshi Arai and others)

1970-1985 gave lectures and courses in design methods for the designers of computer software (invited by Gordon Carey of ICL and by Les Belady of Infotech, of IBM Research, and of MCC)

1962-1970 co-organiser of the 1962 Conference on Design Methods in 1962, with Peter Slann, Denis Thornley and others and co-founder with J K Page, and others of the Design Research Society

1968-1970? chaired the Industrial Section of the Ergonomics Research Society

member of the editorial boards of the journals Futures (invited by Robert Jungk) and Design Studies (invited by Nigel Cross).

1995- member of the Advisory Panel of the Department of Design and Creative Technology at the University of Salford (invited by Chris Rivlin - who first suggested this degree)


I was a frequent contributor to the journal Design (commissioned and edited by Michael Farr, Roger Coleman and John Blake in fifties and sixties and John Thackara later) and wrote about 200 papers and articles in academic and other periodicals

books include:

'Conference on Design Methods, 1962' (edited with D G Thornley)

'Design Methods', 1970/1980/1992 was commissioned by Michael Coombs) of John Wiley and Sons (after McGraw Hill and several British publishers had rejected it). It was based on two articles in Design commissioned by John Blake in response to a series of articles by Bruce Archer. Paul Reilly then suggested that it be expanded into a book. It was I think much improved when I abandoned a version based only on my own work and decided to review the work of others - including, among many, George Sturt, Christopher Alexander, Bruce Archer, Peter Booker, Peter Levin, Stafford Beer, Donald Cardwell, John K Page, Geoffrey Broadbent, Ted Matchett, Sydney Gregory, R D Watts, Henry Sanoff, William Gordon, Jack Howe, John Madge, Alain Wisner, Tom Singleton, Alphonse Chapanis, Donald Broadbent, Hywel Murrell, Otto Edholm, Ettienne Grandjean, Feichin O'Doherty, John Luckman, F Zwicky, Ken Norris and Tito Sasaki. Its transition from handscript to typescript was by Gladys Moss and its editing was much assisted by Nigel Cross, Dermott O'Connell, Jean Braidwood, Bernard Keay, Chris Goodwin, Reg Talbot, Ian Clements, John Jones, Charles Menk, Charles Orr, James Powell, Robin Roy and Judith Webster. The most integrative part (chapter 5) was added at the suggestion of Stafford Beer to whom the publisher sent the finished text for final review. I'd written the book 'from the bottom up' and Stafford obliged me to add a bird's-eye-view. It was nearly too much for me but I notice now that it is the part to which people most often refer. Me too.

The book was translated into Polish by Jacek Zielonka, with an introduction by Wojciech Gasparski, in 1972, into Japanese in 1973, into Romanian by Margareta Dan and Virgil Salvanu in 1975, into a Russian pirate edition in 1976 and in an authorised Russian edition in 1986, into Spanish by Maria Luisa Lopez Sarda in 1976 and in a revised version with the help of Esteve Riambau i Sauri and Joaquim Romaguera i Ramio in 1982, and in a Chinese pirate edition which I have not seen. My apologies for being unable to discern the names of the translators of the Japanese, Russian and Chinese editions) and my particular thanks and good wishes to all the translators, none of whom have I met or communicted with.

'Essays in Design' 1984 commissioned by Celia Bird which was republished as 'designing designing' 1991, commissioned by Tom Neville and Jonathan Moberly, also in Spanish, and including an introductory essay called 'the future of breathing' which was comissioned by, and written to, Erwin van Handenhoven, and includes a tape transcript by Edwin Schlossberg.

'writings remembered', 1978, addressed to Edwin Schlossbergand to my family

'technology changes', 1984, initially addressed to Annetta Pedretti, who printed and published it, and later also to Adriana Grass

'notes and plays', 1998 - commissioned by Paul Green and computer typeset by Kay Moon and Jonathan Moberly.

'after Giraldus', 2000 - computer typeset by Kay Moon.

'the internet and everyone', 2000 - commissioned by Tom Neville and Jonathan Moberly and computer typeset by Jonathan Moberly (without whose encouragement and extensive help this book would never have been written), and partly rescued by Helen DeWitt and Tracey Moberly. while writing the book i was much helped by a timely email from Richard Oliver about 'purposive drift'... the index, which is almost a book in itself, was edited by Rosa Ainley and Rachel Baker... and other difficult editings were accomplished by Kass Schmitt, Judith Garner, Samantha Chaitkin, and Shereen Rahwangi...

plays and performances:

Utopia and Numeroso
commissioned in 1981 by Ralph Jones and Neil Stamper, performed live at the Royal College of Art, London in 1982 by Erna Ragnarsdottir as Utopia, James Powell as Numeroso, Phil Roberts as Unesco, and on video by Hans Haenlein, Marie Haenlein, Patrick Harrison and Michael Harrison, video camera by Richard Layzell and Simon Clifford.

an online design play the wheelchair of my aunt which was published by David Durling in DRS News - to which others responded (i hope to give their names later)

(there are more plays and performances - I am searching memories and documents)

computer art/poetry:

the world seen as poetry and colours (my experiments in public poetic writing and digital diary) are in progress at the softopia website - with the technical help of Kass Schmitt, Jonathan Moberly and Robert Blake. ... the new homepage for the softopia website (version 4.0, september 2010) was realised by Kay Moon to whom it is dedicated, as is the digital diary.

november 2001
visual poems were exhibited as one of 42 artists in the art train on the Piccadilly Line, London (commissioned by Robert Gordon McHarg and in collaboration with Jonathan Moberly).

may 2006
invited by Ida Egholm (Center for Design Research), in collaboration with Jacob Lillemose (House of Literature) and Lisbeth Klastrup (IT University) to lecture on design research, literature and web design in Copenhagen. Also invited by Ida Egholm to respond to the question 'What is an Artifact?' in the new academic journal Artifact (see 'from a garden').

february 2007
invited by Heike Roms to discuss performance art in Wales at an event in Cardiff with Timothy Emlyn Jones


An archive of my works, collected and described by Tom and Claire Mitchell, is at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

The archive includes a bibliography, an overview, and a two volume interview by Tom Mitchell, written in the 1980s.

There is another interview book, by Chris Crickmay (the three-day book) written in 1975 but as yet unpublished.

I was encouraged greatly by reviews and publishings of my writings by Sergio Los and Natasha Pullitzer, Hans Haenlein Ursula Huws, Ken Baynes, Jay Baldwin, Chris Crickmay, Fionan de Barra, Tudor Rickards, C Thomas Mitchell, Timothy Emlyn Jones, Rhodes Hileman, Hans de Graaff, Olof Ribbing, Simon Biggs, Andrew J King, Dennis O'Brien, Wolfgang Jonas, Nick Routledge, Robbin Murphy, Ted Warnell, Alan Sondheim, Martin Schulke, Loris Essary, Allen Fisher, Lawrence Upton, Ken Edwards, Peter Finch, Gareth King, GK VanPatter, John Wood, Matthew Fuller and others :

after completing this account of collective actions i would like to mention some of the many medical advisors and health therapists without whom i might not be here now... and particularly Dr Jane Bailey, Joyce Vetterlein, Carol Smith, Andrew Chevallier, Sylvie Lormand, the late Walter Carrington and Ruth Murray...

...and I've barely mentioned my family and close friends and the ever-presence of everything all of whom and which, through real joys and seeming difficulties, make living possible for all of us... beyond words

honourary awards:

1979 Honorary Professorship of the Centre for Art and Communication, Buenos Aires, pesented by Jorge Glusberg

2002: Honorary Degree of D.Litt. at the University of Salford, United Kingdom. invited Chris Rivlin and James Powell

2003: an Honorary Professorship at the Higher Institute of Integrated Product Development, University College, Antwerp, presented by Richard Foque

2004: Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Design Research Society, United Kingdom, pesented by Nigel Cross

2004: Korean Design Achievement Award and honorary membership of the Korean Society of Design Science, presented by Soon-Jong Lee

2007: Honorary Fellowship of the Design Research Society, invited by Nigel Cross.

a brief synopsis of the collective cv

Summary: I began by wanting to design aeroplanes - and then to make industrial products more human. That led to new design processes and a wish to change the culture. From that came design plays and other fictions, the internet, and a new vision of the future.

1927 to 1950

My education began with childhood projects: an improvised hut, a canoe, primitive electrical machines, model aeroplanes, and a prize-winning car of the future. These taught me something of technology and led me to study engineering. But a wish to make industrial products more human led me to learn sculpture and industrial design and then to study ergonomics - which I learnt at the early conferences of the Ergonomics Research Society.

1951 to 1975

In 1951 I joined Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company, Manchester, to work as an industrial designer, and later as an ergonomist. I was also beginning user design research at the Regional College of Art. In 1962 Peter Slann and I initiated the first conference in design methods. I was then invited to teach design technology at UMIST, to write the text book Design Methods, and to teach at the Open University.

1976 to 2000

By this I had learnt that an ever-widening vision of design cannot be fully realised in an organisation - so I resigned, to work independently. I attended lectures in American poetry and studied the works of John Cage and other innovators - which led me to write design plays, poetic fictions, visual poems, and a long book (the internet and everyone) in which I tried to bring all these things together.

the world seen as poetry and colours

That is the name of the 'public writing place' at which I write my thoughts about everyday life and the future, as it happens. It includes a collective cv in which I name many of the people who encouraged and helped me in these attempts. and a digital diary, one of the early 'blogs' which still continues.

digital diary dates


© 2002 john chris jones

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