Dr. Lynn-Sayers McHattie PhD MBA FRSA

Job Title:

Programme Director, Innovation School


Innovation School



Lynn-Sayers McHattie
Researcher at the Institute of Design Innovation

Lynn-Sayers McHattie


Dr. Lynn-Sayers McHattie

Lynn-Sayers McHattie is a designer and researcher with over 20 years experience in the Creative Industries. She is Programme Director for Design inquiry at the Innovation School and Programme Director for the practice-based PhD in the Highlands and Islands. As well as overseeing the doctoral programme in the Highlands & Islands she is Co-Investigator of the AHRC funded Knowledge Exchange Hub Design in Action (DiA) in the focal area of wellbeing.

Prior to her academic work she directed research assignments nationally and internationally with both public and private sector clients revealing deep insights that reflect the real needs of people from the lived experience as a practitioner. Her current academic research foregrounds questions around – research through practice – and explores the potential of emergent and experimental Design Innovation approaches including creative practice and critical reflection towards social change that can transform individual and collective wellbeing.

Her practice encompasses – photography, film, materiality and text – providing an interdisciplinary link between women's narratives, loved objects and sense of self. Through the creative coalition of the researcher, participants and personal artefacts her work explores ideologies of identity through text, objects and images that play off each other to craft a richer and deeper understanding of human relational practices and silent spaces in situated socio-cultural contexts. She is particularly interested in the role of creative practice, including storytelling, film and performance in influencing policy in areas such as equality, gender and inter-generational relations and works closely with the Scottish Government’s Equality Division. Her most recent project Seannachies investigated creative approaches to understanding social isolation and loneliness in communities of elders. She is currently involved in an interdisciplinary project Bag O’ Clews exploring the role of material practices – making and meaning – including innovating traditional craft and textile practices, which connect to gender discourses, the spirituality of place and the indigenous landscape and culture of the Highlands and Islands.

She supervises the following research degree students at The Institute of Design Innovation:

Michael P. Johnson: Mapping Design for Preferred Futures
Angela Fernandez Orvis: Communicating design-led innovation to public sector audiences
Marianne McAra: Marginally Defined; empowerment through engagement
Victoria Payton: Traces of Design and Occupation (PT)

She is interested in supervising practice-based research projects that blur the boundaries of the Design discipline and creative practice and seeks to engage doctoral students and participants in research contexts that explore what is meaningful to them in their lives, relationships and experiences.