Susan EVANS PHD Design for Transformation

0 Projects


PhD Researcher

Ms Susan Evans 



PhD Title 

A Design-Led approach for transformation towards sustainability in the context of a circular-economy


Transformation; Sustainability; Circular-economy; Socio-Technical; Design

Research Abstract

This research journey starts with the argument that our social model driven by our economic and industrial models, accompanied by our citizen behaviours, leads to significant degradation of our environment which has led to crisis conditions. 

That radical change is required to our economic, political and ways of being and doing. 

New design methods and methodologies are needed, to support this change and transition towards new ways of living for thriving societies. 

As the circular economy industrial model (CE) is receiving increasing attention globally among policy makers and businesses as a way to adapt to global pressures, this research explores its potential as a way to transition for societal wellbeing. 

This research aims to conceptualize a new design process tool to guide for radical change, with design outcomes for new ways of living and sustainability. 

To address these challenges the study sets the following objectives

  • To conceptualize a model for transition from a hybrid of change theories 
  • To conceptualize an architecture to capture progress and analyse potential
  • To evaluate the model in context in first person: agricultural eco-system for resilience; restoration and regeneration 
  • To contribute to transition dialogues

 Research Methodology

The research uses an amalgam of methods including a critical literature review to identify gaps for further research and to support model conceptualization. Uses combinations of inductive and deductive content analysis to abstract themes which are used to conceptualize models . 

The model is further informed, reflected on and evolved,  by an intervention conducted with a collaborative team of experts and locals situated on a farm within a dynamic eco-system. Process data is collected using social media for analysis. Accompanied by practitioner input and student utilization. 

Ongoing Development 

  1. Conceptual model application 
  2. Architecture in research 
  3. Agriculture intervention assessment in progress.

Key Publications

Evans. S., (2019) “Design for a Circular Economy: A Paradigm Shift”  International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019 DESIGN REVOLUTIONS Manchester School of Art Manchester Metropolitan University 02-05 September 2019 Proceedings

Evans. S., (2019)  “Transitioning Business for a Circular Economy” ADIM 2019  Academy for Design Innovation Management 18 - 21 June 2019 Research Perspectives in the ERA of Transformations

Evans. S., & Peirson-Smith. A.,(2018) “The sustainability word challenge: Exploring consumer interpretations of frequently used words to promote sustainable fashion brand behaviors and imagery”, journal of Fashion Marketing and Management ISSN: 1361-2026

Anne Peirson-Smith & Susan Evans (2017) Fashioning Green Words and Eco Language: An Examination of the User Perception Gap for Fashion Brands Promoting Sustainable Practices,Fashion Practice, 9:3, 373-397, DOI: 10.1080/17569370.2017.1366688

Evans. S., & Peirson-Smith. A.,(2017) Conference: Open Design for E-very-thing Cumulus conference proceedings:  Designing transdisciplinary dialogue to innovate towards sustainability


Bachelor of Science: Computing, Operational Research and Statistics, (2.1) University of Kent, UK

Master of Science in Statistics by Research and Thesis: University of Kent, UK. 


Prof. Laurent Gutierrez (Chief Supervisor) 

Dr. Xihui Liu (Co-supervisor)

Specialization / Interests 

Circular Economy; Socio-technical; Innovation; Systems; Sustainability, Transformation; Start-ups; Communications

Date of Completion.

September 2021

 Study: Ph.D

Study mode: Full Time