Team

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CARA
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LUKA
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FARNAZ
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ANDREW
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ISOBEL

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Farnaz’s Expertise:

Inclusive design; Human centred design; Design thinking; Inclusive mobility; Healthcare Design; Human factors & ergonomics; Design education; Design in palliative and end-of-life care.

Farnaz’s Work:

Dr Farnaz Nickpour.

Director

Dr Farnaz Nickpour is an inclusive and human-centred design researcher and educator. She is a Reader in Inclusive Design and Human-Centred Innovation and director of The Inclusionaries Lab at The University of Liverpool. Farnaz has a track record of excellence in design research, teaching and pedagogy, with 40+ peer-reviewed publications and awards.

Farnaz is the External Examiner for the joint MA/MSc Global Innovation Design (GID) programme at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. She is a reviewer for the Journal of Engineering Design, Journal of Design Research, Strategic Design Research Journal, and Building and Environment Journal; Scientific committee of Design for Inclusion (AHFE) Conference; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA); Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA); Member of Institute of Engineering Designers (MIED); and Professional member of British Industrial Design Association (ProBIDA).

Farnaz’s research explores critical and contemporary dimensions of design for inclusion and human-centred innovation across healthcare and mobility sectors, with a core focus on advancing four strategic research themes:

1. Inclusive Mobility

Within the Mobility sector, Farnaz’s research focuses on personal and public dimensions of inclusive mobility, in particular, psychosocial constructs of an inclusive mobility experience, going beyond the physical accessibility of a journey. Funded by key mobility providers in the UK, including TFL (inclusive public transport) and Motability (inclusive personal mobility), Farnaz’s research has led to the development of frameworks and guidelines for the inclusive mobility industry. She currently leads a major strategic knowledge partnership between The University of Liverpool and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Project MOVE. Farnaz has pioneered UG and PGR research and education projects on smart and inclusive paediatric mobility design in collaboration with local, national, and international partners including MERU, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and SafariSeat. Her latest research project funded by Hugh Greenwood Legacy for Children’s Health Research as a PhD studentship, targets strategic knowledge gaps within inclusive paediatric mobility design.

2. Psychosocial Inclusion

Within inclusive design, Farnaz’s research focuses on shifting three strategic agendas:
1. From physicality of an accessible experience, towards overall quality of a psychosocially inclusive experience.
2. From age (ageing population) and physical ability (people with physical disabilities) to neurocognitive (neurodiversity and mental health) and socio-economic/technical/political (lifestyle exclusion, intersectionality, and design justice) inclusion.
3. From categorisation by condition to recognition by spectrum of experiences.

This has led Farnaz to establish a research area called Psychosocial Inclusion. Her past research has resulted in developing definitions and constructs of Psychosocial Inclusion in Design. Funded by Motability and Sainsbury’s, Farnaz’s work has further detailed psychosocial inclusion constructs within two key contexts of personal mobility and supermarket shopping. Farnaz is currently working on creating a Taxonomy of Design Exclusion, as well as further investigation of concept of True Inclusion in design. Within this, she questions whether we are becoming truly more inclusive, or simply moving towards a version of inclusion which is ‘realistic’, ‘achievable’, and ‘measurable’. Interrogating whether there is a common ground between the ideal and the real. And which vision, if any, can and should inclusive design care about.

3. Healthcare innovation

Within Healthcare sector, Farnaz has pioneered application of human-centred design principles, practices, and processes to help develop effective and desirable products, services, and systems; improve health outcomes; and prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Examples range from design of effective hospital commodes for the NHS (DBO commode for hospital wards, Department of Health and Design Council) to application of inclusive design to interrogate and reimagine future oral health pathways. Farnaz is interested in interdisciplinary education and transdisciplinary application of healthcare design and innovation and currently leads a cutting-edge initiative on teaching Human-centred Design at Medical School. The aim is to embed design within healthcare education, at the right time, and the right level, in order to better prepare the clinical workforce of the future. Kicked off in 2019-20, this first-time initiative saw Design becoming part of core curriculum in MBChB Medicine and Surgery course at the School of Medicine at The University of Liverpool.

4. Design for End of life

Farnaz’s newest area of research is coined ‘Design Meets Death‘; aiming to initiate a theoretically and empirically informed discourse between the two fields of design and end-of-life in order to identify critical questions, strategic opportunities, and significant contributions. And subsequently, to interrogate and reimagine the high-level narratives as well as the nuanced experiences in end-of-life, through inclusive and human-centred design and innovation. Farnaz’s research focuses on the currently disjointed contributions of design to end-of-life, and challenges the lack of foundational design research and strategic vision. Some recent projects include revisiting ‘legacy’ in the context of paediatric palliative care; improving Advance Care Planning (ACP) practice and experience through use of visual touchpoints; and reimagining the Hospice of The Future through the lens of human-centred design and advanced robotics.

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can, without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the centre.”

– Kurt Vonnegut.


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Cara’s Expertise:

Inclusive Design Research; Design Thinking; Design Framing; Interdisciplinary Design; Human Factors; User Testing; Inclusive Mobility; Child-centred Design; Children’s Rights.

Cara’s Work:

Cara Shaw.

PhD Researcher

Cara Shaw is an Inclusive Mobility Designer and PhD researcher. Cara’s PhD research focuses on designerly investigations in the field of inclusive paediatric mobility design, in collaboration with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and funded by Hugh Greenwood Legacy for Children’s Health Research.

Cara’s work as an inclusive mobility designer has involved the development of mobility products in a range of contexts around the world; from low-cost evolvable walking aids in Peru, and all-terrain wheelchairs in Kenya, to paediatric power chairs and mobility rehabilitation devices in the UK. Within the mobility sector, Cara has also led ethnographic and design research for organisations such as MERU, SafariSeat, Motability and Project MOVE.

Cara magnetises to extreme contexts and has consequently been immersed in a sea of cultures, customs, and mindsets. This has fuelled Cara’s passion for human-centred design and forged the importance of understanding people’s perspectives, narratives and ways of life, to identify the real root of their requirements and desires when designing with or for them.

“The details are not the details. They make the design.”

 – Charles Eames

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Luka’s Expertise:

Design research; human-centred design and research; inclusive design; participatory design and workshops; social science/ cultural studies; experience design; spatial design; multi-sensory immersive installations; graphic design; empirical research; lived-experience insights; consulting in both inclusive design and inclusive performance arts; design activism.

Luka’s Work:

Luka Kille-Speckter.

PhD Researcher

Luka Kille is a lived-experience designer, consultant, and PhD researcher who is using her first hand experience of psychosocial exclusion to not only outline opportunities for much needed improvement, but to also show designers how impactful conscientious research and design can be in an individual’s life. It is therefore, Luka’s legacy to use her expertise in human-centred academic research and design to contribute to a more inclusive society.

Luka’s unique perspective as a lived-experience researcher and designer as well as her multidisciplinary background of Social Science and Experience Design, are providing her with the tools for implementing empirical and impactful research, design outputs and narratives around design for inclusion, diversity and innovation to the public and practitioners. 

Having recently finished an 18 month project as a Research Associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to raise awareness around the spectrum of low vision, Luka Kille is continuing to pursue her research through her PhD in Inclusive Design at the University of Liverpool in order to explore, build upon, and develop a robust scholarly argument around Inclusive Design and how we can move towards ‘true inclusion’.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein

(The same applies to living with disability and the way people should think about inclusion)


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Andrew’s Expertise:

Inclusive Design; Design for End of Life; Speculative Design; Small-Scale Digital Manufacturing; Participatory Design Workshop; Rapid Prototyping;

Andrew’s Work:

Andrew Tibbles.

PhD Researcher

Andrew Tibbles is a speculative designer and a PhD researcher with a fascination for the consequences of new and emerging technologies on individuals, collectives and societies. His background is in product design and he made a career in makerspaces, creating, experimenting and teaching emerging modern manufacturing techniques and machines across the UK.

What began as a pragmatic honours year project towards death, dying and beyond, became a source of constant curiosity and is now part of his PhD research in collaboration with Marie Curie Hospice Liverpool; exploring how, why and should technology and artificial Intelligence play a role in the future of hospice care. And what many forms those technologies could take to strive towards a ‘good death’ in the modern age. Andrew’s PhD is funded by Doctoral Network in AI for Future Digital Health.

“If you can’t make what you need with the tools you have, create the tools that make it possible.”

– Prof Jon Rogers


A light-skinned woman with long dark straight hair smiles with her teeth showing and eyes wide open. She has defined eyebrows and dark eyes. Her hair is tucked behind her right ear revealing a large silver hoop earring, whilst her hair hangs against her face on the other side.

Isobel’s Expertise:

Design thinking; Research; Interdisciplinary design; Product development; Design for manufacture.

Isobel’s Work:

Isobel Leason.

PhD Researcher

Isobel Leason is a Product Design Engineer and a PhD researcher at The Inclusionaries Lab. She has a background in Product Design Engineering with an M.Eng from the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow, where she gained a passion for understanding and improving human experiences.

Isobel has also worked in the orthodontic technology sector and looks to bring these experiences in oral care and design together in a holistic approach to problem solving. During her masters project, Isobel worked closely with maxillofacial treatment providers to design a recovery device which improves patient experience following orthognathic surgery.

Her current PhD research, funded by Doctoral Training Network in Technologies for Healthy Ageing, focuses on inclusive design for future oral health scenarios by adopting a lifespan and psychosocial design approach, investigating extreme and mainstream oral health pathways. She is interested in looking at oral healthcare with a human-centred focus; specifically understanding the factors (physical and psychosocial) which influence patient experience, access to, and quality of dental care.

“The greatest tragedy for any human being is going through their entire lives believing the only perspective that matters is their own.”

– Doug Baldwin