Dr Robert Harland, Reader in Graphic Heritage, Loughborough University
Robert’s expertise covers the macro, meso, and micro dimensions at which people interact with urban places and spaces through graphic images in the context of urban heritage. His research is guided by the question: How do graphic objects facilitate the function of cities and urban places? As design research, this has framed research themes connecting graphic heritage and graphic memory to fascist iconography (Latina), riverside heritage (Shanghai), Islamic design (Granada), colonial settlements (Adelaide), waste co-operatives (São Paulo), urban colour identity (Leicester), UNESCO creative cities (Bradford), and places named after Nelson Mandela (Johannesburg). He has led several funded international research projects with NGOs such as the Shanghai UNESCO City of Design, the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Robert holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Nottingham. His research monograph Graphic Design in Urban Environments was published by Bloomsbury in 2016, and he is currently writing a book on Urban Graphic Heritage: Design and Heritage Interpretation (Bloomsbury, 2026).
Dr Alison Barnes, International Research Fellow, Loughborough University
Alison’s expertise is in the nuanced understanding of ways communities and places reflect their differing histories and heritages and in doing so, create everyday heritage spaces. Her research explores graphic heritage in relation to ideas of food and migration; critical toponymy and placemaking; sports stadia and supporter rituals and identity; architecture and heritage listing; and, gentrification and design literacy, particularly in diverse urban contexts. Her design research interests span the differing roles graphic design can play in the mediation, construction, and communication of everyday life, belonging and identity. Alison is a Senior Lecturer in Design at Western Sydney University, Australia, holds a PhD from the University of Arts London, and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. Her research monograph Creative Representations of Place was published by Routledge in 2019.
Dr Yolandi Burger, International Research Fellow, Loughborough University
Yolandi’s expertise is in co-design methodologies, responsible citizenship, social change, and research impact, applied in the context of collaboration between local communities, creative industries practitioners, and NGOs. Her design research interests combine the emerging importance of graphic heritage for social impact through design pedagogy and educational technologies in real world scenarios. She has pioneered the development of graphic heritage in South Africa through her work with Nelson Mandela Foundation, bringing together heritage practitioners, archive specialists, intellectual property and copyright professionals, creative industries practitioners, and urban planners, showcasing digital design prototypes for new approaches to conveying Mandela’s graphic heritage connected to places named after him. Yolandi holds a PhD in Higher Education Studies from the University of the Free State in South Africa together with a Master’s degree in Design.