Victoria Payton MPhil - University of Glasgow (practice led MPhil funded by the AHRC under the Doctorial Preparation Scheme)

Job Title:

Research Student


School of Design



Unfolding Landscape
Work by Victoria Payton

Unfolding Landscape


Victoria Payton

Traces of design and occupation: towards participatory spaces and a taxonomy of participatory ¬enabling design processes

Prof. Irene McAra McWilliam, Dr Lynn-Sayers McHattie

My design practice focused on the participant experience, and my interest in supporting participants in choosing their own outcomes and interpretations in their environments. My undergraduate degree in (interior) design promoted socially engaged solutions; Interior Design is an interdisciplinary profession, which creates mutable final products, having the possibility of evolution.

These interests led to my MPhil on the rules and structures that prompt or guide participation, and how these may both enable or limit. This combination of my interests within my practice and research put me in an ideal position to undertake this PhD examining participation in the context of designed spaces.

My AHRC funded Doctoral research will develop and expand on the themes in my AHRC ¬funded MPhil (UoG ¬ 2012) which examined rules and structures that prompt/guide participation. My PhD will develop these themes in a design framework, discussing how spaces themselves could be designed and re¬configured to both invite and record participation. It will evolve methods for spaces and constructions to become an active physical frame for creative and participatory acts.

• How can spaces be designed to actively invite and encourage participation and agency through their physical configuration, designed components, and modification? How can they engage both transient and continuously present occupants, and also time¬ distanced communities, allowing them to enter into participative creative relationships?

• How can the visibility of participation both by the initial designer/commissioner and subsequent users, made visible in the structure of a space, facilitate and encourage subsequent creative and participative acts?

A key outcome will be the formulation of a toolkit to be used as part of the commissioning and designing of spaces for use by varied communities. The research findings will also be able to be overlaid and integrated into design teaching to form part of a new participation¬ centred design theory.