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Dr Anne Schiffer

Dr Anne Schiffer
Contact Details
Dr Anne Schiffer

Senior Lecturer

Leeds School Of Arts

0113 81 29156

About Dr Anne Schiffer

Dr Anne Schiffer explores how design thinking can help tackle local and global real world challenges, including in the areas of sustainable energy transitions, energy and water access. She is the author of Reframing Energy Access: Insights from The Gambia.

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 that critiques the role of designers in international development.

Prior to joining Leeds Beckett University, Dr Schiffer 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 serves as Senior Independent Director on the board of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Current Teaching

Dr Schiffer supervises a number of PhD students and 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 Arts 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 social change. She has facilitated workshops for community groups in Ireland, the UK and Thailand, supporting local people who want to turn ideas into action through a human-centred design approach.

Research Interests

Dr Schiffer’s research explores how human-centred design processes can help create socially just futures in the context of energy and water access challenges. Geographically her research is largely focused on The Gambia and Ghana.

Recent projects and collaborations include:

  • Initial fieldwork to explore the water and energy nexus in the rural Ashanti region of Ghana. The research received money from the Global Challenges Research Fund awarded through the 2018 Leeds Beckett Building International Collaborations Prize
  • Follow-up research to investigate the energy aspirations of women and young male adults in the Gambian community of Kartong. The project titled ‘Designing energy futures in The Gambia’ was funded through the 2018 BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants scheme;
  • Collaborative research with NUI Galway to investigate historic energy changes in The Gambian community of Kartong funded through the 2017 Shape Energy Research Design Challenge;
    Research into the lived experience of water consumption practices on urban river islands located in the Brazilian state of Pará. Fieldwork in 2017 was part of the EU funded AguaSociAL project aimed at fostering social innovation in the water treatment sector of the Amazon region.


Selected Publications

Journal articles (4)

Conference contributions (1)

  • Schiffer A (2017) Issues of power and positionality in participatory design Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales 08/06/2017.

Reports (2)

  • Greene M; Schiffer A (2018) Learning from past and current energy transitions to build sustainable and resilient energy futures: Lessons from Ireland and The Gambia.
    View Repository Record
  • Schiffer A (2017) Shared Ownership in Scotland: opening up citizen participation in renewable energy. Edinburgh: Friends of the Earth Scotland.
    View Repository Record
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