Ian Lambert (biography)



Ian Lambert (biography)


Ian Lambert


Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Professor


PhD University of Edinburgh;
MA Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, London;
BA Birmingham Polytechnic

Biographical Text

A maker-researcher and designer, Ian has worked in both practice and academia for more than 30 years. His research interests lie in sustainability and climate action, material practice, and making-as-thinking. His award-winning collaborative work with ocean plastic on the west coast of Scotland has been widely published, and, bringing this work upstream, he is currently a member of the Detroit River Coalition. Since 2020 he has collaborated with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on the d.Tree Studio, an atelier exploring urban lumber and climate justice.

Ian was co-chair and submissions chair for Design for Adaptation: Cumulus Detroit 2022, an international design education conference focusing on the role of design in the climate crisis. He was co-chair for the Research Through Design (RTD) conference in 2017, in Edinburgh, and part of the organizing committee in 2019, in Delft.

He has undertaken numerous commissions and exhibited work across the UK (including at London Design Week and the Lighthouse in Glasgow), China, and the US. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh where his thesis explored making-as-knowledge.

Having lived and worked in Edinburgh, Scotland for almost 20 years, he relocated to Detroit in 2019.


(2023) OCEAN PLASTIC: Towards New Experimental Making and Material Outcomes, in M. Miaskowska, J. Aston, M. Varzim (Eds.), COLLECTIVE FOR DESIGN. An active teaching and learning methodology for collaborative art and design disciplines within the framework of sustainable development;
(2022, Nov 2-4) Two Institutions, Three Trees, Twelve Makers: Curriculum Co-Design for Sustainability, Climate Justice and African American Material Culture (with L. Tom), Cumulus Conference, Detroit, MI;
(2019, Dec 9) Material Reality to Materiality: Ocean Plastic and Design Research (with K. Vones), AHRC Design for Change Symposium, London, England;
(2019, Sept 22) Improvisation: Autonomy, Heteronomy and Wilful Naïveté, EKSIG (DRS) Conference, Estonia;
(2019, July) Designing New Ways to Make Use of Ocean Plastic, The Conversation;
(2018) 3D-printing 'Ocean Plastic' – fostering children's engagement with sustainability (with S. Vettese, K. Vones, D. Allan), Materials Today (winner $10K Elsevier Innovation prize);
(2017, Sept 21-22) The Isle of Harris Fish Slice: Industrial Crafting with Ocean Plastic, Making Futures Conference, Plymouth, England;
(2017, Summer) Making as Growth: Narratives in Materials and Process (with C. Speed), Design Issues, Volume 33, Number 3;
(2015, Sept 24-25) Design Practice into Design Research, Making Futures Conference, Plymouth, England;
(2015, Sept 24-25) Diverting Textile Waste from Landfill with Design-Craft Objects (with T. Iliopoulou), Making Futures Conference, Plymouth, England;
(2015, Sept 10-12) Critical Making with Aluminium Sandcasting, Creative Practice Conference (Making Research, Researching Making), Aarhus, Denmark;
(2015, Sept 10-12) Convergence in Industrial and Craft Processes in UK Undergraduate Product Design Courses, Cumulus Conference, Milan, Italy

Presentations & Research Workshops
(2020, Sept 3) Resources on the Shore (with K. Vones), presentation (remote) at 30th International Orkney Science Festival;
(2019, March 19) Narratives of Waste: An exploration of material transformation through 3D printing (with K. Vones), Research workshop at RTD 2019, Delft, the Netherlands;
(2019, Feb 5) Transforming Plastic Pollution into a Lesson on Sustainability (with K. Vones), presentation (remote) at Global Citizens Week, Vancouver Island University;
(2017, Dec 8) Anthropometry Revisited: A Homage to Yves Klein (with F. Galama), poster presentation at Drawing Conversations 2: Body, Space, Object, Coventry, England;
(2017, March 21) Aluminium Sandcasting: Waste Moulds from Waste, Research workshop at RTD 2017, Edinburgh, Scotland

Exhibition Curator
(2023, July 20-Dec 10) d.Tree Studio #2 (project co-lead & curator), Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI;
(2023, June 9-18) World Ocean Day Exhibition (co-curator), Belle Isle Aquarium, Detroit, MI;
(2022, Mar 18-Apr 1) d.Tree Studio at Center Galleries (project co-lead & co-curator, with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History), College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI



“Ian Lambert (biography),” CCS Research Repository, accessed May 18, 2024, https://omeka.collegeforcreativestudies.edu/items/show/1.

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