Brian is Belfast School of Art’s Research Director for Art and Design (UoA32), as well as Course Director for MA UX and Service Design, a programme he established in 2021. Alongside this, he is also Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded Design Innovation and Land Assets project, which forms part of the UKRI’s Landscape Decisions Programme. In 2020, he was awarded Ulster University's ECR Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Research Fellowship.
Prior to joining the Belfast School of Art, he held academic positions elsewhere, including the Glasgow School of Art. At GSA, he led studio teaching across a portfolio of three masters programmes in the areas of Service Design, Environmental Design and Citizenship. During the same period, he delivered a series of design research projects across the Highland and Islands region, focusing on SME-support, public sector innovation and digital health.
He has published widely, with his work appearing in major journals such as Design Studies, Design Issues and CoDesign. He has also acted as Guest Editor for Special Issues in the two latter publications (Design for Reimagined Communities in CoDesign; and Pragmatism and Design Inquiry in Design Issues).
His first book, Dewey and Design, explores the relationship between John Dewey’s philosophy and design research. He is currently working on a second book for Routledge's Design Research for Change Series, entitled Design, Philosophy and Making Things Happen (due for publication 2023).
He is a Senior Fellow of the HEA. He acts a peer reviewer for the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, Routledge, Design Issues and CoDesign. He has acted as a visiting lecturer for Tokyo Metropolitan University and is currently an external examiner at TU Dublin.
He received his PhD from Central Saint Martins, investigating how digital maps could be designed to support urban tourists’ and walkers’ situation awareness. His research interests now span a number of domains, including: design philosophy; contemporary design research methodologies; and the potential role of design in policy-making and community-based decision-making.