Dr Iain Macdonald

Design Innovation

Associate Professor

(01) 708 6704


Dr Iain Macdonald is Associate Professor and previous Head of Department of Design Innovation. Previously at Edinburgh Napier University as Associate Professor he held the post of Subject Group Leader Design • Photography • Advertising, Programme Leader MSc Creative Advertising and taught on the multi-award winning BDes (Hons) Graphic Design programme. He has also held the posts of Associate Dean Design and Screen at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

His current research activity is focused on HPV vaccine awareness using STEAM workshops in post-primary settings, and a book on the BBC Motion Graphics Archive. He has over 25 years of creative industry experience as an award winning television graphic designer at BBC Television, and as a film and commercials director at The Moving Picture Company.

Since 2010 he has worked as a research academic using film and photography to document and examine design pedagogy, art practice and community co-design in the UK and internationally in Mozambique.

He is on the Editorial Committee for the International Journal of Art and Design Education.

Research Interests

Iain is currently working as a co-PI on an intersectoral, international and interdisciplinary project using STEAM workshops to raise HPV vaccine awareness in schools. Recent research collaborations have taken him to Mozambique to develop co-designed health education communication with UNICEF partners and research students.

He is published in the research fields of motion graphic design, immersive storytelling, intercultural competency, co-design and design pedagogy.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
HPV Education powered by STEAM: Exploring the impact of peer-to-peer creative, critical engagements between post-primary and primary students. PI This study explores the impact of peer-to-peer creative, critical engagements between post-primary and primary students in Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) education. Led from Maynooth we include academics from Biology, Design, Education and Behavioural Psychology, and the Irish Cancer Society (ICS), in an interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international collaboration. Our aim is to contribute data and insights to the European Cancer Organisation’s HPV Action Network in light of their report on improving HPV vaccine uptake (ECO 2022). We will use a mixed methods approach to gather data before, during and after our learning Science through Design Thinking and Drama (STEAM) workshops. Following our previous IRC funded workshops, participant Transition Year (TY) students (±16 yr olds) learn from Scientists about immunology, how vaccines work and benefit society, and explore concerns around vaccination. Designers and Educationalist will assist them to co-create peer-to-peer narratives expressed in short videos, or other creative outputs on the theme of HPV vaccine awareness. In phase 2, participants will show their creative outputs to Y6 primary school classes, co-operating with their science teachers to facilitate discussions on immunisation and the HPV vaccine, supported by printed and online resources from ICS and the Team. The evaluation of our success and impact will be led by our Behavioural Psychologist. Post workshops, over a period of 8 months, a programme of focus groups with the primary school pupils will examine their attitudes leading to and following their HPV vaccination; and study the impact of the workshops amongst the TY participants and their peers. 01/01/2023 31/12/2023 23630.75
NF/2019/15905524-HPV IMMUNITY COMMUNITY – raising HPV awareness PI Earlier in 2019, when the PI was working at Edinburgh Napier University, we successfully funded a pilot whose aim was to develop ways of visualising and communicating complex immunology concepts that would aid learning and teaching through co-design workshops. One of the co-PI’s is a Maynooth alumni, Dr Eva Malone, Lecturer in Immunology, programme leader for the undergraduate suite of biology programmes in School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University. Recent student feedback from Biology students at home and abroad in Hong Kong indicated a demand for more visual aids and videos to assist in Learning and Teaching of complex concepts. The subject discipline presents challenges for staff in the development and delivery of learning materials and experiences to facilitate the learning of these complex processes. The students from BSc Biology and BDes Product Design participated in a voluntary basis and were very rewarded by the opportunity to learn how to co-create and collaborate with other disciplines. It introduced an essential element of creativity into the Science curricula which is highly valued by the accrediting authority, Royal Society of Biology. A further grant would allow opportunities for widening participation at local schools and in the community to test the outcomes of the pilot in Ireland and Scotland. Raised awareness of our immune system has the potential to modify behaviour and improve public health, and also potentially with HPV vaccination and meningitis. It would also facilitate building an interdisciplinary network of academics in Maynooth and our strategic partners in Carlow IT where there is expertise in Virtual Reality and 3D computer animation. 01/05/2020 01/11/2021 14800


Year Publication
2016 Macdonald I. (2016) Hybrid practices in moving image design: Methods of heritage and digital production in motion graphics. [DOI]

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2016 Macdonald, I., MacLeod, M. (2016) 'Developing intercultural competencies and new perspectives on graphic design pedagogy through international volunteering' In: Innovations in Learning and Teaching. Edinburgh : Merchiston Publishing. [Link] [Full-Text]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2022 Macdonald, I., Malone, E., Firth, R. (2022) 'How can scientists and designers find ways of working together? A case study of playful learning to co-design visual interpretations of immunology concepts'. Studies in Higher Education, . [Link] https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2021.2020745 [Full-Text]
2021 Macdonald, I (2021) 'Window on the weather: a case study in multi-platform visual communication design, with a relationship to Design Thinking'. Visual Communication, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Macdonald I.; MacLeod M. (2018) 'Design Education without Borders: How Students Can Engage with a Socially Conscious Pedagogy as Global Citizens'. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 37 (2):312-324. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Macdonald, I., MacLeod, M. (2018) 'Learning from the Locals: how can co-design support malaria education in a post-colonial environment?'. 2 (1). [DOI]
2015 Macdonald, I (2015) 'Designing to Engage a Television Audience: how are different media used in tv ident creation?'. 5 (2). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2014 Macdonald I. (2014) 'Cultural change in the creative industries: A case study of BBC graphic design from 1990-2011'. Visual Communication, 13 (1):31-49. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2012 Macdonald I. (2012) 'Why Throw the Negs Out with the Bathwater? A Study of Students' Attitudes to Digital and Film Photographic Media'. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 31 (2):191-211. [DOI] [Full-Text]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2022 Macdonald, I; Healy, C; Firth, R; Malone, E; McDermott, A. (2022) CUMULUS Design for Climate Adaptation Using STEAM to Power Equality and Democracy in Vaccination Decision Making in the Face of Climate Apartheid
2017 Macdonald, I., MacLeod, M. (2017) Design 4 Health Developing intercultural competencies and new perspectives on graphic design pedagogy through international volunteering [Full-Text]
2015 Macdonald, I., MacLeod, M. (2015) DRS CUMULUS International Design Educators How can design education develop intercultural competencies for professional practice and global citizenship? Milan, Italy,
2013 Macdonald, I. (2013) DRS CUMULUS International Design Educators Digital gardens with real toads in them: the place of heritage media in a digital art and design education

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2022 Iain Macdonald, Céline Healy, Eva Malone, Richard Firth, Alexandra McDermott (2022) EUROGIN International Multidisciplinary HPV Conference Raising HPV Vaccine Awareness Through STEAM Workshops Dusseldorf, Germany, 10/04/2022-12/04/2022.
2022 Céline Healy, Iain Macdonald, Eva Malone, Richard Firth, Alexandra McDermott (2022) Educational Studies Association of Ireland Conference Using STEAM to Power HPV Vaccine Awareness and Advocacy Among Irish Post-Primary Students Dublin, 07/04/2022-09/04/2022.
2021 Dr. Linzi Ryan; Lisa O'Regan; Iain Macdonald (2021) Irish Conference on engaging pedagogy User insights for behavioural and organisational change: Development of a Public Sector Hybrid Workplace Policy Online, 14/12/2021-14/12/2021.
2021 Macdonald, I., Malone, E., Firth, R. (2021) Group for Learning in Art & Design Crossing national and disciplinary boundaries to learn through co-creation Nottingham Trent University, 23/04/2021-.
2019 Macdonald I., Malone E., Firth R. (2019) Enhancing Student Learning Through Innovative Scholarship How Can Science and Design use Playful Learning to Co-Design Visual Interpretations of Immunology Concepts? Edinburgh Napier University, .
2015 Macdonald, I. (2015) CUMULUS International Design Educators Five go to Mozambique: a film of how design students develop intercultural competencies for professional practice and global citizenship Hong Kong, .
2015 Macdonald, I. (2015) Society of Research in Higher Education Conference Five go to Mozambique: a film of how design students develop intercultural competencies for professional practice and global citizenship Newport, Wales, .
2014 Macdonald, I., Foster, M., Firth, R., Zhou, V. (2014) UK HEA Annual Conference Re-constructing “Culture of Learning” – International Student Experiences in China and the UK’ Aston University, Birmingham, UK, .
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
UK Higher Education Academy Senior Fellow 01/08/2011 -
Chartered Society of Designers Member 01/08/2011 -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/1999 British Academy Awards Nomination BAFTA
01/01/1995 Best Title Sequence - Silver International Broadcast Designers Association
01/01/1997 Best Title Sequence -Bronze International Broadcast Designers Association

Teaching Interests

My greatest achievements have been my students, many have won international awards, including a D&AD Black Pencil, and a large majority are employed in the creative industries achieving their dreams from Leith to London, New York to New Delhi. I have taught across both the award winning MSc Creative Advertising and BDes (Hons) and MA Graphic Design programmes at Edinburgh Napier University drawing on my professional expertise in motion graphic design and directing commercials.

My particular interests in design pedagogy are focussed on interdisciplinary working, industry engagement, and enhancing learning through virtual spaces, networks and multimedia.