Dr Cathy Gale


Dr.Cathy Gale (MA: RCA / SFHEA) Course Leader MA Communication Design: Graphic Design is a research-led educator and graphic artist specializing in critical and performative approaches to design as a social praxis defined by speculative play and the politics of public life. In a research-led approach through design pedagogy she subverts conventional design tools to operate as counter-cultural political devices in unconventional contexts. The recent focus of her research has been on collective systems, dialogic design and non-tribal community identities.  She leads the Open Art School Collective (OASC) and the Alternative Art School (AAS) in a shift towards social agency rather than isolated precarity in contemporary culture. The Disco Dissent collective forms a transformative extension of the AAS in which creative dissent and enterprise meet as innovative modes of practice in the third places of social life.  Dr.Gale is a PhD supervisor, external examiner (Chelsea College of Art & Design, UAL; Arts University Bournemouth), and Professor of Ludic Heterotopias at The Free University of Seething Wells. 

Academic responsibilities

Course Leader


  • PhD (Brighton University)
  • MA Graphic Design and Art Direction (Royal College of Art, London)
  • BA (Hons) Graphic Design (Newcastle Polytechnic)

Teaching and learning

Qualifications and expertise

  • Senior Fellowship of the HEA (2016)

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


Qualifications and expertise

  • PhD University of Brighton (2015)
  • External Examiner (PhD)
  • PhD supervisor

Areas of specialism

  • Critical design / thinking
  • Collective design strategies and practice in a social context
  • Ludic heterotopias (nightclubs)
  • Design activism


Number of items: 13.


Gale, Cathy (2020) Art school as a transformative locus for risk in an age of uncertainty. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 19(1), pp. 107-118. ISSN (print) 1474-273X

Gale, Cathy (2019) Free!* Reclaiming 'freedom' from the neoliberal lexicon. Message, 4, (In Press)

Gale, Cathy (2017) #AlternativeArtschool // an interstitial space for creative dissent. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 16(1), pp. 99-115. ISSN (print) 1474-273X

Gale, Cathy (2016) Critical design practice : mapping a new territory for the discipline (or 'Are we nearly there yet?)'. Message : Communication Arts Research, 3(6/6), pp. 85-106.

Gale, Cathy (2015) Problem-finding as a research strategy connecting undergraduate learning with staff research in contemporary education institutions. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 14(2), pp. 145-159. ISSN (print) 1474-273X

Renton, Lucy and Gale, Cathy (2014) Blog post describing HEA funded one day Seminar at Knights Park campus entitled "Collecting as a form of material knowledge across design disciplines: a narrative research method from FE to HE to lifelong learning.". Higher Education Academy blog,

Book Section

Gale, C. (2020) Immediate reaction to David Parkes' provocation. In: Campbell, L., (ed.) Leap into Action. Peter Lang AG. pp. 206-209. ISBN 9781433166419

Gale, Cathy (2019) Wall of words : dialogic activism in collective design. In: Bieling, Tom, (ed.) Design (&) activism : perspectives on design as activism and activism as design. Mimesis International. pp. 139-153. ISBN 9788869772412

Conference or Workshop Item

Renton, Lucy [Research team member], Postle, Paul [Research team member], Gale, Cathy [Research team member] and Blair, Bernadette [Research team head] (2012) Presentation on Open Educational Resources in FADA. In: Practising Open Education: developing the potential of open educational resources in art, design & media; 15 Sep 2012, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Still/Graphic Work

Gale, Cathy and Gregory, Jason (1999) Illustrations for the BT Intranet site. (Illustrations).

Gale, Cathy (1997) Foxtrot. (Illustration). 600 mm x 450 mm.

Gale, Cathy (1997) 'Tattie boggle'. (Illustrations).

Gale, Cathy (1997) The Viking saga of Harri Bristlebeard. (Book illustration). London, U.K. : Walker. ISBN 0744560888

This list was generated on Sat May 15 06:52:42 2021 BST.