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Dr Iestyn Jowers

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer, Design and Engineering
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Engineering & Innovation
  • iestyn.jowers

Professional biography

Iestyn Jowers is a Lecturer in Technology and Innovation Management.

In previous roles he has worked as

- Research Fellow, at the Design Group, The Open University
- Research Fellow, at the Institute of Product Development, TU Munich
- Research Fellow, at the Institute of Engineering Systems & Design, University of Leeds
- Research Associate, at the Engineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge

He has a PhD in Computational Design from the Open University, an MSc in Applied Mathematics and Fluid Mechanics, and a BSc in Mathematics, both from the University of Manchester.

He also has a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics from Oxford Brookes University.

Research interests

Iestyn's research is concerned with digital and physical representations used in design processes. His interests include:

- the role of making in supporting design, and in supporting learning through design
- additive manufacturing
- shape computation and shape grammars
- generative design
- engineering design processes

Research Projects:

Reimagining Education for the Future of Redistributed Manufacturing (RE:FORM), funded by the Royal College of Arts’ Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing project

Cognitive Machine Shop project, funded by the Cognition for Technical Systems Cluster of Excellence (CoTeSys)

Designing with Vision, funded by the Leverhulme Trust

Visual Exploration of Cultural Style in Design (VECSiD), funded by KAIST

Design Synthesis and Shape Generation (DSSG), funded by AHRC/EPSRC Designing for 21st Century Initiative

Knowledge and Information Management Grand Challenge, funded by the EPSRC/ESRC

PhD Research, 'Computation with Curved Shapes', funded by an EPSRC doctoral training grant

Teaching interests

OU Module Presentation:
Iestyn is currently chair of 
T848 'Managing Technological Innovation'

and is on the presentation team for 
T276 ‘Engineering: professions, practice and skills 2’

Previously, he was on the presentation team for T317 'Innovation: designing for change'

He is also a tutor on the T176 and T276 engineering residential schools

OU Module Production:
Iestyn is currently on the production team for
T194 'Engineering: techniques, maths, application'

Previously, he was on the production teams for
- T317 ‘Innovation: designing for change’ (first presentation Oct 2014)
- T276 ‘Engineering: professions, practice and skills 2’ (first presentation Feb 2015)

He is the author of the OpenLearn unit 'Innovation through representation'

OU Other:
Iestyn has worked as an Associate Lecture on the modules
- T173 ‘Engineering the Future’
- MS325 ‘Computer algebra, chaos and simulations’
- MST322 ‘Mathematical methods and fluid mechanics’

Other Teaching:
At TU Munich, Iestyn was a member of the course team for ‘Computer-Aided Modeling of Products and Processes’ (2011-2012)
At University of Leeds, Iestyn led the ‘Research through Design’ project of PDES5180 'Design Research' (2008-2011)
At UCL, Iestyn was a guest lecturer on the MSc in Adaptive Architecture & Computation (2006-2010)

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

Makespaces and distributed design education: a feasibility study for the RCA Future Makespaces Level 1 Challenge call

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Jun/201530/Nov/2015EPSRC EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
RE:FORM (‘Reimagining Education for the Future of Redistributed Manufacturing’) has been awarded £25K by the Royal College of Art to carry out a feasibility study as part of the larger RCA EPSRC funded project on ‘Future Makespaces in Distributed Manufacturing’ ( ). The project is a collaboration between the Open University and MAKLab, a makerspace in Glasgow. The project aims to (1) Understand the key challenges faced by makespaces in providing effective and relevant education and training for redistributed manufacturing in the UK (2) to explore the potential of university- makespace collaborations to fulfil the education and training requirements for effective distributed manufacturing in the UK; and (3) Investigate the role of accreditation in supporting career trajectories in redistributed manufacturing. This will be achieved through (a) a series of workshops bringing together participants from education, makerspaces, and industry; (b) a ‘summer school’ pairing Open University design students with vocational learners at MAKlab to collaboratively design and fabricate furniture prototypes, communicating via the internet, and (c) a number of interviews with industry representatives.


Shapes, structures and shape grammar implementation (2019-06-01)
Jowers, Iestyn; Earl, Chris and Stiny, George
Computer-Aided Design, 111 (pp. 80-92)
A case study in online formal/informal learning: was it collaborative or cooperative learning? (2017-05-24)
Jowers, Iestyn; Gaved, Mark; Dallison, Delphine; Elliott-Cirigottis, Gary; Rochead, Alan and Craig, Mark
Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, 22(1)
Exploration of multi-material surfaces as weighted shapes (2016-01-31)
MacLachlan, Lynne and Jowers, Iestyn
Graphical Models, 83 (pp. 28-36)
Extending the algebras of design (2015-12-31)
Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Christopher
Nexus Network Journal, 17(3) (pp. 947-962)
Pinwheel patterns: from 2D to 3D schemas (2015-12-01)
Earl, Christopher F. and Jowers, Iestyn
Nexus Network Journal, 17(3) (pp. 899-912)
Evaluating an eye tracking interface for a two-dimensional sketch editor (2013)
Jowers, Iestyn; Prats, Miquel; McKay, Alison and Garner, Steve
Computer-Aided Design, 45(5) (pp. 923-936)
Implementation of curved shape grammars (2011)
Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Christopher
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 38(4) (pp. 616-635)
Computer-aided design synthesis: an application of shape grammars (2011)
McKay, Alison; Jowers, Iestyn; Chau, Hau Hing; De Pennington, Alan and Hogg, David C.
International Journal of Product Development, 13(1) (pp. 4-15)
The construction of curved shapes (2010)
Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Christopher
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 37(1) (pp. 42-58)
Shape detection with vision: implementing shape grammars in conceptual design (2010)
Jowers, Iestyn; Hogg, David C.; McKay, Alison; Chau, Hau Hing and de Pennington, Alan
Research in Engineering Design, 21(4) (pp. 235-247)
Transforming shape in design: observations from studies of sketching (2009-09)
Prats, Miquel; Lim, Sungwoo; Jowers, Iestyn; Garner, Steve W. and Chase, Scott
Design Studies, 30(5) (pp. 503-520)
Shape exploration in design: formalising and supporting a transformational process (2008)
Lim, Sungwoo; Prats, Miquel; Jowers, Iestyn; Chase, Scott; Garner, Steven and McKay, Alison
International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC), 6(4) (pp. 415-433)
Shape exploration of designs in a style: toward generation of product designs (2006-06)
Prats, M.; Earl, C.; Garner, S. and Jowers, Iestyn
Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20(3) (pp. 201-215)
Visual Structures of Embedded Shapes (2018)
Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Chris
In: Lee, Ji-Hyun ed. Computational Studies on Cultural Variation and Heredity. KAIST Research Series (pp. 175-187)
ISBN : 978-981-10-8189-7 | Publisher : Springer
Shape computations without compositions (2017)
Jowers, Iestyn; Earl, Chris and Stiny, George
In: Çağdaş, G.; Özkar, M.; Gül, L. F. and Gürer, E. eds. Computer-Aided Architectural Design. Future Trajectories. 17th International Conference, CAAD Futures 2017, Istanbul, Turkey, July 12-14, 2017, Selected Papers (pp. 348-365)
ISBN : 978-981-10-5197-5 | Publisher : Springer
RE:FORM - Reimagining Education for the Future Of Redistributed Manufacturing (2016-09)
Gaved, Mark; Dallison, Delphine; Jowers, Iestyn; Elliott-Cirigottis, Gary; Craig, Mark and Rochead, Alan
In: Papadimitriou, Irini; Prescott, Andrew and Rogers, Jon eds. Engineering the Future: as part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend 2016 (pp. 49-53)
ISBN : 978-0-9576868-7-8 | Publisher : Uniform Communications Limited | Published : United Kingdom
Formal descriptions of material manipulations: an exploration with cuts and shadows (2015-06-16)
Gürsoy, Benay; Jowers, Iestyn and Özkar, Mine
In: Celani, Gabriela; Sperling, David Moreno and Franco, Juarez Moara Santos eds. Computer-Aided Architectural Design Futures. The Next City - New Technologies and the Future of the Built Environment. Communications in Computer and Information Science (527) (pp. 439-457)
ISBN : 978-3-662-47385-6 | Publisher : Springer
Development of cognitive products via interpretation of system boundaries (2013)
Metzler, Torsten; Jowers, Iestyn; Kain, Andreas and Lindemann, Udo
In: Chakrabarti, Amaresh and Prakash, Raghu V. eds. ICoRD'13: Global Product Development. Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering (pp. 163-174)
ISBN : 978-81-322-1049-8 | Publisher : Springer India | Published : New Delhi
Design synthesis and shape generation (2010-01)
McKay, Alison; Chase, Scott; Garner, Steven; Jowers, Iestyn; Prats, Miquel; Hogg, David; Chau, Hau Hing; de Pennington, Alan; Earl, Christopher and Lim, Sungwoo
In: Inns, Tom ed. Designing for the 21st Century (pp. 304-321)
ISBN : 978-1-4094-0240-4 | Publisher : Ashgate Publishing Ltd
A study of emergence in the generation of Islamic geometric patterns’ (2010)
Jowers, Iestyn; Prats, Miquel; Eissa, Hesham and Lee, Ji-Hyun
In: Dave, B.; Li, A. I.; Gu, N. and Park, H.-J. eds. New Frontiers: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia CAADRIA 2010 (pp. 39-48)
Publisher : CAADRIA | Published : Hong Kong
Computer aided design: an early shape synthesis system (2008)
McKay, Alison; Jowers, Iestyn; Chau, Hau Hing; De Pennington, Alan and Hogg, David C.
In: Yan, Xiu-Tian; Eynard, Benoit and Ion, William J. eds. Global Design to Gain a Competitive Edge: An Holistic and Collaborative Design Approach based on Computational Tools (pp. 3-12)
ISBN : 978-1-84800-238-8 | Publisher : Springer | Published : London
Defining Rules for Kinematic Shapes with Variable Spatial Relations (2019-05-21)
Harrison, Laura; Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Christopher
In : 18th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Futures 2019 (26-28 Jun 2019, Daejeon, Republic of Korea) (pp. 444-458)
Structures in shapes: a perspective from rules and embedding (2017)
Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Christopher
In : Cultural DNA Workshop 2017 (13 Jan 2017, KAIST Graduate School of Culture Technology)
Incommensurable design descriptions (2017)
Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Christopher
In : Creative Design and Advanced Manufacturing: An emerging application area for Signals and Systems (2 Sep 2017, 2017 25th European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO), Kos, Greece)
Communication is not collaboration: observations from a case study in collaborative learning (2016-06-27)
Jowers, Iestyn; Gaved, Mark; Elliott-Cirigottis, Gary; Dallison, Delphine; Rochead, Alan and Craig, Mark
In : Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference (27-30 Jun 2016, Brighton, UK) (pp. 609-624)
Online distributed prototyping through a university-makerspace collaboration (2016-06-19)
Gaved, Mark; Jowers, Iestyn; Dallison, Delphine; Elliott-Cirigottis, Gary; Rochead, Alan and Craig, Mark
In : FabLearn Europe 2016 (19-20 Jun 2016, Preston, Lancashire, UK)
Towards product platform introduction: optimising commonality of components (2015-07-27)
Zapico, Miguel; Eckert, Claudia; Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Christopher
In : 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 2015) (27-30 Jul 2015, Milan)
Formalising flexible multi-material surfaces as weighted shapes (2014-12)
Maclachlan, Lynne and Jowers, Iestyn
In : SA '14 SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Creative Shape Modeling and Design (3 Dec 2014, Shenzhen, China)
Design and emotional expressiveness of Gertie (an open hardware robotic desk lamp) (2012)
Gerlinghaus, Fabian; Pierce, Brennand; Metzler, Torsten; Jowers, Iestyn; Shea, Kristina and Cheng, Gordon
In : 2012 IEEE RO-MAN: The 21st IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (9-13 Sep 2012, Paris, France) (pp. 1129-1134)
Shape interpretation with design computing (2012)
Jowers, Iestyn and Earl, Chris
In : Fifth International Conference on Design Computing and Cognition (DDC'12): Bringing Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science and Computational Theories to Design Research (7-9 Jun 2012, Bryan, TX, USA)
Design exploration with useless rules and eye tracking (2011-08)
Jowers, Iestyn; Prats, Miquel; McKay, Alison and Garner, Steven
In : 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED11) (15-18 Aug 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Supporting shape reinterpretation with eye tracking (2011)
Jowers, Iestyn; Prats, Miquel; Pedreira, Nieves; McKay, Alison and Garner, Steven
In : 'Circuit bending, breaking and mending', the 16th conference of Computer Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA) (27-30 Apr 2011, Newcastle, Australia)
Interpretation of geometric shapes – an eye movement study (2010)
Prats, Miquel; Garner, Steve; Jowers, Iestyn; McKay, Alison and Pedreira, Nieves
In : Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications (22-24 Mar 2010, Austin, Texas) (pp. 243-250)
Supporting reinterpretation in computer-aided conceptual design (2008-06-11)
Jowers, I.; Prats, M.; Lim, S.; Mckay, A.; Garner, S. and Chase, S.
In : Fifth Eurographics Workshop on Sketch-Based Interfaces and Modeling (11-13 Jun 2008, Annecy, France) (pp. 151-158)
Describing shape transformations in design sketches (2008)
Prats, Miquel; Lim, Sungwoo and Jowers, Iestyn
In : Design Computing and Cognition DCC’08 workshop on Informing computational support for conceptual design: lessons learned from sketching studies (21 Jun 2008, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA) (pp. 5-8)
Knowledge requirements over long product lifecycles (2007)
Eckert, C. M.; Jowers, I. and Clarkson, P. J.
In : Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED'07) (28-31 Aug 2007, Paris, France)
On curves and computation with shapes (2004)
Jowers, Iestyn; Prats, Miquel; Earl, Christopher and Garner, Steven
In : Generative CAD Systems Symposium: G-CADS 2004 (12-14 Jul 2004, Pittsburgh, PA) (pp. 439-457)
Computation with Curved Shapes: Towards Freeform Shape Generation in Design (2007-01-10)
Jowers, Iestyn
PhD thesis The Open University
Innovating Pedagogy 2019: Open University Innovation Report 7 (2019-01-02)
Ferguson, Rebecca; Coughlan, Tim; Egelandsdal, Kjetil; Gaved, Mark; Herodotou, Christothea; Hillaire, Garron; Jones, Derek; Jowers, Iestyn; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; McAndrew, Patrick; Misiejuk, Kamila; Ness, Ingun Johanna; Rienties, Bart; Scanlon, Eileen; Sharples, Mike; Wasson, Barbara; Weller, Martin and Whitelock, Denise
The Open University, Milton Keynes.

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