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Dr Anne Schiffer


About Dr Anne Schiffer

Dr Anne Schiffer explores how design thinking can help tackle local and global real world challenges, particularly in the areas of delivering energy access and sustainable energy transitions.

The interdisciplinary nature of her research brings together participatory/ co-design practice, urbanism, feminist development theory and design anthropology. She holds a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast titled ‘Designers in International Development: a reflection on designing Gambian energy futures’, critiquing the role of designers in international development.

Prior to joining Leeds Beckett University, Anne led the Scottish part of Community Power, a European funded project that aimed to improve policy and legislation to speed up the development of community-owned renewable energy. She also sits on the board of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a leading environmental campaigning organisation and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

Current Teaching

Anne is a year and module leader on the BA Product Design course where she teaches across all levels. She is also Global Engagement Champion for the School of Art, Architecture and Design supporting staff and students to participate in international field trips, exchanges, volunteering and research.

She has a passion for design thinking as a tool for activism and social change. As such she has facilitated workshops for community groups in Leeds, The Gambia and Ireland and regularly collaborates with the Eden Project to support local people wanting to turn ideas into action through a human-centred design approach.

Research Interests

Currently Anne continues to work on human-centred design processes to help create socially just energy futures. She continues to work in The Gambia and is currently working on a Routledge book publication titled ‘A human-centred approach for sustainable energy transitions: lessons learned from a Gambian community’ She recently collaborated with NUI Galway exploring the lived experience of past energy transitions as part of the Shape Energy Research Design Challenge.

Anne is also developing a human-centred approach to water systems, with recent field work on river islands in Brazil as part of Agua Social, European funded project looking at social innovation in the water treatment sector of the Amazon region.

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