PhD Showcase


‘Your thesis’, according to the Italian novelist and philosopher Umberto Eco, ‘is like your first love: it will be difficult to forget’. Is this a promise or a cautionary tale? For new PhD students, the first semester of their programme of study is the heady, exciting stage of infatuation – everything is new, possibilities are endless, they can’t stop thinking about it. It is towards the end of this first flush of love for their chosen projects (the point where doubt might set in or decisions are made) that we ask students to make a public declaration – to tell the world, shout it from the rooftops and tell us what’s next. In 2020–21 our annual PhD Research Methods Symposium takes the form of this Showcase which will be followed (in January) by an online seminar during which the presenters and guests will discuss the presentations, share research and invite questions (further details below).

The Showcase and seminar represent the culmination of the Research Degrees Training programme, a twelve-week interdisciplinary research methods course which runs between September and December each year. On the part of each student, the Showcase marks the beginning of a lasting commitment: to their projects, to their peers, to GSA’s research community and to the challenges demanded of PhD level research over a sustained period. More broadly, the Showcase is intended as an opportunity for academic staff, Masters and PhD students from across GSA and invited guests to find out more about current PhD research across our five schools. It aims to identify opportunities for all attendees to share research and offer critical reflection and feedback at this formative stage for the presenters and, we hope, encourages those considering future PhD study to make the leap.

This year’s PhD projects are impressively diverse and exciting in their breadth. The range of approaches and methodologies span ethnography, digital learning, interdisciplinary writing, participatory action research, New Materialist philosophy and practice-led research. Individual subjects include conceptions of time, sustainability, folklore and storytelling, style as resistance, childbirth, autonomous driving and anatomical education. For now, please enjoy these presentations and join us, if you can, at 10.30am on Tuesday 12 January 2021 for the follow-up seminar. If you would like to attend, please email Kevin Reynolds at

Professor Susannah Thompson, Head of Doctoral Studies

The PhD at GSA is a postgraduate research programme based across all five schools (Fine Art; Design; Architecture; Innovation; Simulation and Visualisation). The programme offers full or part-time study, with doctorate award gained after 3 years full-time or 5 years part-time of study. Information on how to apply can be found here

PhD study is central to the development and reputation of GSA’s research. As a PhD student you will be joining a close-knit, interdisciplinary research community within one of the world’s oldest and most renowned practice-led institutions.

Christopher Wild — Innovation School

Creative futures: re-imagining creative education and digital learning in Shetland through collaborative creative practice.

As a recent graduate from the GSA’s MSc in Product Design Engineering and MRes in Design Innovation, Christopher Wild’s practice explores the dynamic interplay of digital technologies, instrumental music, and traditional crafts. His research interests lie in island and peripheral communities. He explores how vernacular creative practices and cultural narratives link to place-based innovation.

Claire Eaglesham — School of Simulation and Visualisation

Experiencing the intangible: communicating cultural meaning and identity through storytelling and immersive technologies.

Claire Eaglesham is an interdisciplinary researcher and educator at GSA’s School of Simulation and Visualisation. Her work combines elements from her academic background in Social Anthropology and Heritage Visualisation, as well as her professional experience of developing and evaluating VR and AR applications. Working with digital technologies, she explores the possibilities offered by combining innovative visualisation techniques with user-focused interaction and storytelling.

Gamia Dewanggamanik — Innovation School

Designing situated-participation through an exploration of everyday creative practices within rural communities in Indonesia.

Gamia Dewanggamanik graduated from Textile Design at Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia (2011) and MA Material Futures at Central Saint Martins (2017). Her design research and practice lie within the intersection of material culture and design innovation, with a primary focus on community development projects in rural areas across Indonesia.

Maria Theresa Moerman Ib — School of Fine Art

Citizen of nowhere: mapping the nomadic self and the landscapes of loss through creative practice.

Maria Theresa Moerman Ib is a visual artist and writer who grew up between Belgium, Denmark, England and the Netherlands. A graduate of GSA’s Fine Art Photography programme, she also holds a BA in English from the University of Southern Denmark and an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling. Rooted in autobiography, her practice navigates the realms of grief, identity and memory.

Marly Muudeni Samuel — School of Simulation and Visualisation

Facilitating community co-design approaches for inter-relationships: supporting action and dialogue engagement between fishery sectors to promote community-led initiatives for sustainable ocean livelihoods in Namibia.

Marly Muudeni Samuel is passionate about innovation, technology and governance for inclusivity, youth and women empowerment, and sustainability. She graduated from the Namibia University of Science and Technology and has broad experience in participatory design and innovation-driven development projects. She previously worked as a Technology Innovations Coordinator for the IctechHub, an innovation driven technology hub in Windhoek.

Mhari McMullan — School of Design

Patterning Paisley: museum retail and strategies for commercialising a historic textile collection through contemporary textile practice.

Mhari McMullan is a textile designer, researcher and consultant whose work stems from a preoccupation with pattern. She works across exhibitions, retail and education in craft and design. Mhari graduated from Central St Martins in 2003 and relocated to Glasgow in 2007, where she opened Welcome Home in 2009. She is co-curator of Early Learning and she was also a founding director of Collect Scotland.

Noor Albaker — School of Simulation and Visualisation

Foetal beat: the development of interactive 3D digital models and animation of the heart as a comprehensive digital source for anatomical and medical education.

Noor Albaker is a lecturer in human anatomy, a medical visualisation specialist, and Head of Digital Medical Education Department at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Noor is passionate about biomedical sciences and technology, and she applies her MSc in Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy into real-world issues via interdisciplinary research.