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Dr Roderick Adams

Associate Professor

Department: Northumbria School of Design

Rod Adams - Interior Design BA Northumbria University, Newcastle

Senior academic, researcher and practicing interior designer at the Design School, Northumbria University.


Rod joined Northumbria in 2009 and is currently the Associate Head of School of Design. He has an integrated academic practice which combines research, teaching and practice. After working in Interior design practice (Leisure, Workplace, Retail, Exhibition and Theatre design), he has actively researched and taught on spatial design programmes for over 25 years. His academic practice also includes working in many overseas locations, recruiting and developing academic work with international practices and educational institutions.

He completed his PhD in 2017, which explored the new tensions between people, spatial productivity and workplace design. This research helped to strengthens a humanist approach to the academic activity within the school and places the individual at the centre of the design practice. Central to Rod’s academic practice is a continual enrichment of a designed society powered by original creative knowledge. This work is influenced by commercial practice experience and a research-rich academic environment.

Programme Input

Rod actively researches the spatial environment and ensures this work contributes to the currency of modules on the Interior Design programme in year one, two and final year. His work specialises in the development of design thinking and the enhancement of professional practice. Having a strong belief that students need to develop integrated and transferable skills, he encourages students drawing and communication skills as an anchor for more complex interior design visualisations and a dedication to the professional practices of design. By focusing on the human user, students develop projects that demonstrate the organisation of space, materials, colour and light. This enriches portfolio presentations and prepares students for the challenges of employment. 


Rod has conducted many international design masterclass workshops which create fresh interrogation of the design process and develop new research knowledge into professional design practice. This is emphasised by the invited studio workshop on the ‘Proximities of Learning’ at the renowned Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. Recent research includes a published chapter in the 'Interior Futures' book with the Royal College of Art and Rod is currently working on an international publication with Routledge - 'Interior Design – A global profession' which is due to be published in the Spring of 2020.

Campus Address

School of Design
Northumbria University, City Campus East 2
Newcastle upon Tyne


  • Design Studies PhD February 28 2017
  • Design Studies MA September 01 1990
  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2014

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

  • Spatial design anthropology
  • Workplace research
  • Design Theory
  • Agile Interior and spatial design
  • Spatial ethnographic narratives
  • Trans-national design education

Key Publications

PGR Supervision

  • Emma Kench-Porter Start: 01/10/2018
  • Sean Kelleher Start: 01/10/2018

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