Richard Firth

Richard Firth

Associate Professor Richard Firth BDes (Hons) SFHEA

Programme Leader BDes(Hons) Product Design


Richard has 25 years of professional practice experience delivering multidisciplinary design contracts to national and international bodies including, British Airports Authority, Historic Scotland, Edinburgh International Science Festival, United Distillers, Levi, Babcok International, Historic Monuments Northern Ireland, The National Trust for Scotland. His scope of expertise covers, product design, exhibition design and heritage interpretation, model and set making, plus art direction and concept art for the gaming industry. Richard established his own heritage and interpretation practice (1997 -2010) delivering projects on both a national and international scale.

Richard joined Edinburgh Napier University in 2003 and has programme lead the product programme design since 2008. He has continued to develop new and existing staff mobility and students exchange agreements with educational institutions globally including, Australia, China, Europe, and Scandinavia. He has been a visiting design lecture to design institutions in China since 2008, Norway since 2009, and the Netherlands since 2012.

Richard leads an international design academic staff research workshop called 'work on the move' (established 2012), its aim is to explore and develop new design innovation methodologies. The collective has generated significant impact through its research which is disseminated through conferences and published works. Richard continues to raise the universities international profile through his work with 'Carousel' which is a 'short term' international mobility programme for student and staff exchange facilitated by six international design institutes.

Richard in an external examinier to UK based ad overseas HE product design programmes,
He is interested in using design thinking to further his research in to Dyslexia, Synaesthesia and Autism syndrome. An advocate of craft, making and drawing, Richard has published and exhibited works (through traditional publishing routes and through public engagement and widening participation workshops) on integrating traditional and digital design skills, internationalisation and improvisatory working methodologies.

Richard was very proud to have been awarded the Edinburgh Napier University NSA most inspiring tutor award in May 2015 and is currently preparing an application for PhD through published works.

Research Areas



Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Carousel: Short term international student mobility programme
  • Quality streets: South Yorkshire town centre urban renewal team.
  • Work on the Move: International pedagogic design research group
  • Play on: Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • Mini Maker Fair: Edinburgh International Science Festival


Public Engagement Activity

  • The Phantom Entomologist: Edinburgh International Science Festival.
  • Matter Mutts: Immersive virtual reality, The National Museum of Scotland
  • Making it: Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC) Edinburgh International Science Festival.
  • Do Not Press Undo: Edinburgh International Science Festival.
  • Zoo for Robots: Edinburgh City Arts Centre.
  • Wrapping The City: Edinburgh City Centre
  • Space Station: Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC)
  • Exploration 15: European Researchers Night RZSS


External Examining/Validations

  • External Examiner at the University of Derby for BA/BSc (Hons) Product design Engineering
  • Invited Jury panel member for the assessment of Masters Degree in Design certified by the French minister of Higher Education, Ecole de Design Nantes, France


Invited Speaker

  • Cumulus International Conference for Design Education Researchers Oslo
  • Department of Industrial Product Design Windesheim University of Applied Sciences. Zwolle The Netherlands.
  • International design week: Ecole de Design, Nantes, France
  • 2nd International design week workshop, Ecole de Design Nantes, France
  • University Of Oslo and Akershus University College Of Applied Science


Current Post Grad projects