Staff profile

Dr Rhiannon Jones

Associate Professor (Civic)

Rhiannon wearing a silver blazer, looking upwards.


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


School of Arts




Markeaton Street, Derby Campus



I am a thought leader in Social and Design innovation and Associate Professor (Civic) for University of Derby where I lead the Civic Lab Research Group. I am a resident artist at Primary Studios, Nottingham and chair of Cumulus: International Contemporary Working Art Group. I am a member of National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for New Art Exchange. I am a DerbyCAN steering group member, Stakeholder for Bolton Arts CIC. I am a regular participant of the All Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group and provided a case study on Place for the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange.  I am also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

In 2012, I co-founded InDialogue, a collaborative international research project that interrogates how artists and researchers use dialogue in their practice. InDialogue has curated four International Conferences, hosted three International residencies and supported over 600 artists since 2012 – 2020 from over 15 countries. 

I am the founding director and CEO / Creative Director of Designing Dialogue (S.H.E.D) a Community Interest Company that currently runs S.H.E.DA mobile flat-pack, popup arts venue and public space dedicated to artistic research through public engagement. To date, it has delivered a wide range of projects in different cities in the UK engaging over 4000 people and a finalist for the Universities Alliance Award 2022, it was recently shortlisted for Shed of the year in 2020, and was a finalist in the UK Green Gown Awards for ‘benefiting community’ in 2021. It is also the first-ever Spinout company for the University of Derby. To date, it has delivered a wide range of projects in different cities working with National Museums, F.A Charitable Trusts, Local Authorities, Councils and Foundations, Festivals, National Forrest, Schools, Creative and Cultural Industry Partners across the UK. It has had over 10,000 people attend with 24k plus engagements. It is also the first-ever Spinout company for the University of Derby. Installed at V&A Dundee (2021) for Design for Planet, Commissioned by Design Council, UK for their Summit for COP26 and recently a solo exhibition at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham.  

I have a long-standing international collaborative practice with Dr Traci Kelly (Ger/UK). Together, their research engages with digital, sculptural and performative documentation to provide a forensic exploration into writing as an ecology. 

I have contributed articles to the Performance Research Journal and International Journal of Creative Practice. Most recently, my work has been published in Applied Pedagogies in HE: Real-World Learning and Innovation, as a case study by Palgrave Macmillan and a chapter for the Intellect Play-text Series Acts of Dramaturgy: The Shakespeare Trilogy chapter entitled 'Endings are not always completed with a full stop'. I have publications in Journal Research for All and Un/writing the landscape, re/figuring the body supported by PABlish – Bergen Performing Arts and the National Library for Norway. I have presented research papers and workshops internationally, such as, What is Design after Design? University Rome, 2021 and an exhibiting artist in Format21.

I have an MA in Performance & Live Art from Nottingham Trent University and received a Ph.D. from Nottingham Trent University in 2016: ‘The Artistry of Conversation’. I am a member of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and DESIS, UK researcher for Design for Emergency (2020). I am a member of Co-Creating Change Midlands Network: Arts & Culture. Guest Speaker for Design for Planet (2021) PolicyConnect an All Party Parliamentary Group (2021-22), and a delivery partner of CHEAD for their Annual Conference (2021). 

Find out more about my work

Teaching responsibilities

Professional interests

Research interests

I have a PhD by practice from Nottingham Trent University (2016). In which the thesis The Artistry of Conversation looked at the performative and tactile nature of Conversation. 

My research continues to focus on the artistic design of dialogue.

To do this, it explores the use of artistic practice as a methodology to create opportunities for discourse with the public on urgent social, political and economic matters.

I employ innovative research processes, in order to create civic dialogues through creative place-making. This in turn supports the development of new models for increasing social mobility, through widening access to arts, culture and education. To this end, the research acts as an instigator for positive change, addressing the impact of socially/ civic engaged discourse.

To do this, I work closely with the cultural, sporting, creative sectors and the public. I have international partnerships, with Cumulus and DESIS and work with colleagues from across H.E Sector. By doing this, it generates spaces for conversation between H.E and Creative Cultural Organisations. The research process is always collaborative and typically the work makes manifest in the form of exhibitions, published texts, and symposia operating both nationally and internationally.

Membership of professional bodies

Until Recently


Recent conferences

Recent exhibitions and shows













Experience in industry

I am the founder and CEO of Designing Dialogues CIC, which runs S.H.E.D, the first spin out company from University of Derby.

I am the co-founder and director of InDialogue, established in 2012.

I have been Marketing Director for Backlit Gallery, Nottingham.An Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation.  

I was the General Manger of Third Angel Theatre Company, International touring Company and Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation.  

I have produced, curated and toured works Nationally and Internationally, most recently in Gent, Belgium, Athens, Georgia, Sweden, Denmark, France, Italy and USA. I have regular conversations with arts industry and professionals and is active within the arts industry. I produce International residencies for artists as part of InDialogue in partnership with Dance4 in 2014 and 2016 and InGoodCompany for 2019. I am co-founder of InDialogue Symposiums, for industry and artists and researcher to come together biannually to discuss dialogic modes of artistic practice and research.

I have made work that has exhibited at venues such as Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange, Sheffield Theatres, Backlit Gallery, Bromley House, Nottingham City Council, Derby Theatre, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, National Justice Museum, New Perspectives, Little Theatre Leicester, Surface Gallery. I have successfully fundraised for major arts projects from ACE and Trusts and Foundations.

International experience

I am the research lead for DESIS Design for Emergency Research Project with 11 other global partners.

I am Chair of the Contemporary working Art Group for Cumulus Association, the international network for Art and Design Education. 

I continue to partner with organisations such as University of Ohio, Chicago Institute Performing Arts, Bergen Academy, National Library of Norway, ELIA, European Cultural Academy. 

In the media

Various regional and national print, radio and television interviews, examples including:

Recent publications

group of adults at the SHED sat in a circle talking

Dr Rhiannon Jones, Researcher at the University of Derby, will speak at the Design for Planet event, which will champion design as a powerful agent of change. Here, she explains more.