Michelle Douglas
  • 90 Lower Bowen Tce, Fortitude Valley



Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am interested to work with MPhil and PhD students from a wide spectrum of social sciences, creative practice and design studies. I have completed supervisions in the fields of experience design/technology and photography and have current supervisions in the area of interaction design; creative technology/edtech, creative maker spaces and architectural/museum curation. I have an ongoing interest design culture, creative economies, experience design (UX and Service), design education, organisational culture and experimental creative practice.


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Profile

Michelle is an experienced multi-disciplined senior design innovation academic, leader and strategist with 20+ years experience nationally and internationally at leading universities (UK, USA, Aus). She is an expert in human centred design and its associated pathways into other disciplines. Previous senior roles have included Head of Postgraduate Design Studies (Griffith University, Aus), Director of Digital Design Directorate (University of Salford, UK), Head of Product and Interaction Design (Ravensbourne University, UK). Michelle has been contracted as an External Examiner and Reviewer at multiple universities including the Royal College of Art (London), Kingston University (London), Queen Mary/Goldsmiths (London), Norwich University of the Arts and SAE in Australia. 

Michelle's research is focused on the areas of human centred design, design culture, policy and regional cultural nuances in relation to innovation and design economies. Her PhD research focused on Observing Designers - An investigation into the ecosystem/operational contexts of micro design practices in Belfast, Northern Ireland using local, national and international comparisons. The results of this study identified five core themes and eight sub themes that are used to inform a cultural and operational framework for design in Northern Ireland. Following an empirical research phase, a set of recommendations, ecosystem model, and ranking system were developed and validated as a means of highlighting the current design culture ecosystem in NI and a strategy to improve the national design identity. Research practice involves qualitative and ethnographic studies with a focus on design culture, design methods, design thinking and design policy. Michelle was Co-Chair of the International Conference of Experience Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Gold Coast, Australia in 2019 and was Chair of the Creative Economies Seminar in Ireland in 2015.

She continues to be a peer reviewer for submissions to leading international conferences and has previously reviewed for the Design Research Society (DRS) conference in Limerick 2018, DRS Brisbane 2020 and International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) in 2019.  She is one of the original co-founders of the Special Interest Group for Policy and Governance in Design at the Design Research Society. In 2010 Michelle was invited to be a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.



I have been involved in the inception and creation of multiple undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs in creative education. In 2006, I was tasked with restructuring a traditional Product and Furniture Bachelors degree into a contemporary Product and Interaction Design focus, introducing a range of additive manufacturing technologies (3D printing and scanning) and programming equipment into a contemporary workshop setting. I oversaw the development of new curriculum in this space and my programs were notably recognised as one of three top design programs in the UK by Domus Magazine in 2013. I have developed R&D projects at Ravensbourne University alongside Samgsung Design Europe, Barclays and M&S Head office in London. At University of Salford, I developed a new Bachelors degree in Digital Media and introduced a Maker Space as a central core to the creative media campus. Since relocating to Australia, I have incepted and led the development of a new Masters in Design at Griffith University in 2018. This program was built and launched as a brand new offering, and was the fastest growing program in the school of visual arts and design during my tenure. 

I have been the recipient of numerous Learning & Teaching grants including: 

  • 2021: Griffith Grants for Learning and Teaching: $3000 AUD – WIL Pathways to employability in Design.
  • 2021: Griffith University: $2000 – COVID Impact grant
  • 2020: Griffith Grants for Learning and Teaching: $4000 AUD – Development of a WIL framework for postgraduate students
  • 2020: QCA Small Research Grants: $3000 AUD – Regional design ecosystem mapping project for Brisbane
  • 2019: Griffith Grants for Learning and Teaching: $10,000 AUD - Online Micro Credentials – Project Team


Research interests

Design Culture and Value; Human Centred Design; Design Economies; Design Methods and Practice; Experience Design (UX Research and Service Design); Design Innovation

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Education/Academic qualification

Design Culture and Value, PhD, Observing Designers: An investigation into the ecosystem/operational contexts of micro design practices in Belfast, Northern Ireland using local, national and international comparisons, Ulster University

Award Date: 6 Sept 2019

Industrial Design, Master, Central St Martins, University of the Arts (UAL), London

Sept 1997Jun 1999

Award Date: 30 Jun 1999

Design (Hons), Bachelor, Ulster University

Sept 1993Jun 1995

Award Date: 30 Jun 1995

External positions

Head of Hons and Postgraduate Design, Griffith University Queensland


External Examiner: MA Design Products, Royal College of Art


Director of Digital Design Directorate, University of Salford


Head of Product and Interaction Design, Ravensbourne University


Lecturer (Exchange), San Francisco State University


Lecturer, Brunel University London



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