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I joined Kingston University in 2023 as Head of the 3D Design Department within the School of Design in the faculty of KSA. I lead the high performing Product, Furniture, Interior and Sustainable Design courses. I am Associate Professor and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I graduated from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in 1999 with an MA in Architecture and Interiors and formerly attended Kingston University, where I achieved a BA (Hons) in Interior Design with First Class Honours.
I practiced as an interior designer with various design companies, including industry giants Imagination Ltd, on projects ranging from the redevelopment and construction of Fenwick on Bond Street to designing and implementing global motor show stands for Ford, Land Rover, and Mazda. I have been responsible for leading design teams for major clients in the UK and internationally, including Hong Kong and India, this experience opened opportunities for industry links at all levels.
Connections with Makers, Designers, Creative/Artistic Directors, global design agencies and their communities continues to influence my academic practice, which takes great pride in focusing my teaching philosophy on the theories of ‘Situated Learning' and ‘Communities of Practice'. The industry facing nature of the courses I lead presents live contexts settings and situations through client set briefs and competitions, which provides students with an authentic design learning experience.
Whilst at school, I was signed by Newcastle United Football Club and spent a year with the club before being released. This love of the game and design later led to a commendation for my dissertation at RCA titled ‘Football's Hidden Architecture', which has formed my current research exploring how interior architecture and design perspectives can improve the performance and the spatial awareness of football players.
School Head of Department
My years of interior design professional practice and academic experience in learning, teaching course development, and design from becoming a Course Leader, Associate Professor, and Head of the 3D Design Department have allowed me to develop clear teaching and leadership philosophies. In practice I collaborated within multi-disciplinary agencies, exposed to other ways of working. I have brought these learnings to teaching by creating an environment where students and staff look outside their own core curriculum and work alongside colleagues from other disciplines. Using my extensive links with industry I continue to focus my academic practice and teaching on developing partnerships with design industry, businesses, and communities.
My teaching philosophy is based on the theories of ‘Situated Learning' and ‘Communities of Practice'. The industry facing nature of the courses I design presents live contexts settings and situations through client set briefs and competitions, which provides students with an authentic design learning experience. Students work directly with the local community, industry, and businesses, providing them with the opportunity to develop their skills through live projects and design partnerships, woven into the structure of the curriculum. My industry links permeate the curriculum design and delivery in a genuine collaboration between academic tutors, external partners, stakeholders, and students.
My current research nexus my subject expertise in interior architecture and extensive knowledge and understanding of football, as a 16-year-old I signed and played for Newcastle United Football Club. My research explores how interior architecture and design perspectives can contribute to the improvement of footballers' performance in both home and away fixtures. Football's interior architecture is more than just an arena to watch a football match but contains relationships between significant architectural signposts and footballers on the field of play. I am investigating the relationships between these signposts and the players in improving performance and results. Current football architecture ignores the impact the arena can have in aiding player's actions, speed of thinking, spatial awareness, and performance.
Another cluster of research activities/output, which aligns with Kingston School of Art philosophy of ‘Thinking Through Making', is the underpinning theme of the role of physical ‘making' has on the design processes. While the relationship between making, and designing has been a focus of my thinking and pedagogy, I have coalesced this practice-based expertise into outputs for dissemination and impact in the field.
Gower, Mark (2019) A football player's sense of space and the advantage of playing at home. In: Millar, Lesley and Olding, Simon, (eds.) Encompassing research : essays from the School of Crafts and Design, University for the Creative Arts. Farnham, U.K. : University for the Creative Arts. pp. 84-96. ISBN 9781999596194
I have developed design consultancy partnerships with leading British design agencies. Students work closely with the designers and directors in their studios. The role of these partnerships is to expose our students to the best in creative agency thinking to support appropriate academic stretch and challenge for them whilst also modelling the role of design in a commercial and creative context from a range agency lens. At the end of the year all my final year students can have interviews with the agencies in the context of their studios.
I am currently Head of the 3D Design Department leading the high performing Product, Furniture, Interior and Sustainable Design courses. Between June 2017 and March 2023, I was Programme Director Product, Furniture, and Interiors at University for the Creative Arts (UCA), Farnham. Prior to working at UCA I was Head of Programmes for Fashion and Design at Regent's University London where I provided academic leadership within the subject areas of Fashion and Design, that included BA Fashion Design, BA Fashion Design with Marketing, BA Fashion Marketing, BA Graphic & Digital Design, BA Interior Design, MA International Fashion Marketing, PGDip Fashion: Buying and Merchandising, and PGDip Fashion: Journalism.