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Ian Roberts M.Des RCA

Faculty Principal Lecturer

Ian Roberts

Ian studied Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art and has worked as an educator and design consultant for over thirty years, is a collector of used and found objects and is a published songwriter.
There has been an emphasis with his design work on not only mass produced domestic consumer products but with those areas that fall between design, art and craft. Clients have included Conran Associates, Greater Manchester Transport, The Prestige Group, Survival International, Amstrad PLC, Boots PLC, Cadbury/Schweppes, United Distillers and Traidcraft.
His work has received awards and recognition including Jeremy Myersons 'Top Product of the Decade' in Design Week. More recent work includes sculptural design and installation for the NHS, research for Arts Council England, the development of batch produced domestic products with attributes derived from the collection and continues consultancy work with industry. Academic interest lies within the relationship between craft and design and the artifact as signifier.
Ian joined MMU as a Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader in 1993 to run the BA (Hons) Industrial Design and MA Industrial Design programmes. He instigated the early collaboration between Industrial Design and Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Glass which led to the development of the current undergraduate and post-graduate Three Dimensional Design programmes. As a cross faculty, senior staff member he has responsibilities for Employability and Staff Enterprise and continues to teach Post graduate students from across the subject areas.



An exhibit for 'PRICELESS' - Manchester.. Details…


Selected designs for a range of mass-produced fireplaces for Richmond Cabinets.. Details…


The development of a range of domestic artefacts designed for batch production which play with aspects of branding and ephemeral manufacturing. The objects pay homage to items in the collection - a video and selection of which can be viewed in the gallery. Details…


A practical research study to test the performance of a domestic kettle - carried out as part of the legal proceedings of a product liability case.. Details…


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The design, refit specification and business establishment of 'TOAST' located in Marple - Cheshire - a deli. coffee shop and wine bar specialising in Fair-Trade, organic, free-range and local produce. Details…


Ian Roberts is a member of the Design Research Group.

A selection of recent research outputs.


Roberts, I., 2006. Featured collector, Manchester Art Gallery.

Roberts, I., Cowland, T., 2003. 'The Tree House', Stepping Hill Hospital - Children's division - reception atrium, 2003 Permanent.

Roberts, I., Cowland, T., Parsons, T., 2003. Intersculpt, Museum of science and industry - Manchester, 2003.

'Priceless' exhibit entitled - 'That which lies beneath our feet'

Roberts, I., 2003. Priceless, Manchester, 2003.


McCullagh, J., Roberts, I., 2013. 'A Manifesto for Growth', Visualising pedagogy. A series of artefacts that explore academic pedagogy in art and design, Tatton Park, Cheshire, 2013, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 2013, Ordsall Hall, Salford 2014, 2013/2014.

Roberts, I., 2006. 'Collection of found and discarded objects', A video record of a selection from the authors collection of found and discarded objects with supporting commentary., Manchester Art Gallery, Permanent.

Roberts, I., 2006. 'Fireplace designs', Designs for a range of fireplace surrounds for the mid-range home improvement market sector., Feb 2004.

Roberts, I., 2005. 'Marmalade Suitcase', An interior installation - using found and modified objects, 'Marmalade' Restaurant - Manchester.

Roberts, I., Cowland, T., Parsons, T., 2003. 'A Computer on Every Desk and in Every Home', Six predictions of the future use of Rapid Prototyping and remote manufacturing in the domestic environment., Museum of Science and Industry - Manchester, 2003.

Roberts, I., Cowland, T., 2003. 'Public Art Installation', Interior Sculptural Installation - Design, Manufacture and Installation, 'The Tree House' - Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, Cheshire, 2003 Permanent.

Roberts, I., 2003. 'That which lies beneath our feet', The found object displayed as crafted gallery artifact - exploring notions of art and value., Priceless - Manchester, 2003.

Roberts, I., 2001. 'Tool Box Design', Project carried out with MMU's external office to design a captive toolbox for use in the construction industry for Cadding Fabrications Ltd, 2001.

Roberts, I., 1998. 'Domestic Kitchen Sinks and Accessories - Astrocast PLC', Designs for domestic kitchen sinks using recycled acrylic waste., various retail venues..

Roberts, I., 1995. 'Various consumer, domestic products for domestic and international markets.', Domestic products, furniture, tools, housewares., Various retail venues including - Homebase, Boots, B+Q, Woolworths., From 1985 on.


Roberts, I., 2005. 'Why art is essential to the building of God's kingdom', New Wine, Harrowgate, 2005.

Other Outputs

Roberts, I., 2006. 'Product analysis.', Domestic product performance analysis and reporting for legal representation..

Roberts, I., Buchler, P, 2002. 'Widening Participation and Access in Art education', A report for the Arts Council - England into issues of access to Art education in the UK..

Roberts, I., 1999. ''The Motor Show' - Granada Television - guest reviewer.', A review of the Ford 'Ka' - filmed in the Hacienda - Manchester.