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Creative Fuse North East consists of several research-based work packages involving academics from across all five North East universities. Our work ranges from mapping the CDIT sector to delivering cutting-edge innovation interventions alongside business organisations.

Browse through our list of researchers and innovators, or, if you are looking for specific assistance, get in touch with our central team.

Paul Stewart

Research Associate

Paul is an artist and researcher based at Teesside University. He will be researching the role that digital tools can have on creative opportunities for collaboration ...

Simon McKeown

Researcher and Digital Specialist

Simon McKeown is a Reader in the School of Computing, Media and the Arts at Teesside University. He is an active researcher involved in digital practice and culture, h...

Alistair Brown

Postdoctoral Researcher

Alistair is a part-time postdoctoral researcher at Durham University. He supports innovation projects and collaborates with SMEs in the County Durham area. Through the...

Ladan Cockshut

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ladan is a postdoctoral researcher at Durham University. She supports innovation research projects and collaborates with SMEs in the County Durham area. Ladan’s ...

Paul Richter

Co-Investigator and Project Advisor, Creative Connections Business Innovation Programme

Paul is running the “Creative Connections” business development strand with Fiona Whitehurst, Mo O’Toole and Anna-Maria Steel.

Paul is a Lectu...

Jon Swords

Creative Fuse Mapping Team

Jon is part of the mapping team which has been examining the scale and scope of CDIT businesses in the North East.

He is interested in the special nature of the...

Nate Sterling

Research Assistant

Nate is a Research Assistant at Northumbria University. His role within the project is to explore what interventions can be tested and piloted to develop new models of...

Suzy O’Hara

Innovation Development Executive

Dr Suzy O’Hara is a digital art curator and researcher based at the University of Sunderland. Through her role in Creative Fuse North East, Suzy seeks to understand ...

Sam Murray

Creative Fuse Researcher

Sam’s research interests include creative policy-making and examining the impact of devolution on cultural policy. He is also interested in how the arts can be u...

Malgorzata Gosia Ciesielska

Creative Fuse Investigator

Gosia’s research interests focus on cross-section of organisational behaviour and innovation management, and particular areas of hybrid organisations, diversity...

Manos Chatzakis

Design Research Fellow

Manos is part of the Design-Led Innovation team at Northumbria, working on the design and delivery of the Get Ready to Innovate scheme.

Manos’s research f...

Neil Smith


Neil believes that design and design-thinking can bring light to complex and wicked problems, both within manufacture, industry, technology and societal issues.

Huseyin Seker


Big data is transforming almost every aspect of science and the humanities. Turning big data into actionable, personalized and profitable outcome depends on collaborat...

Mariann Hardey

Principal Investigator (Durham)

Mariann leads the Creative Fuse research team at Durham University. Her research focuses on e-heath, wearable technology and social apps for personal health monitoring...

Xiaoxian Zhu


Dr Xiaoxian Zhu is a senior lecturer in Human Resource Development at Teesside University.

She is a member of CIPD and a subject examiner of international exami...

Louise Kempton

Senior Research Associate

I’m particularly interested in the role of universities in supporting local growth and innovation and whether the drivers and barriers for businesses in the CDIT sec...

Mersha Aftab

Senior Lecturer in Innovation

Design means business!

My interest is in the role design plays in the strategic innovation process in multinational industries.

My ambition is to fit des...

Jonathan Sapsed

Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Jonathan was Academic Director of Brighton Fuse, which showed the power of Creative-Digital- IT fusion for business growth and innovation.

This research evidenc...

Georgios Theodoropoulos


I’m a stout believer in interdisciplinary research as a vehicle to shift mindsets and move from entrenched, siloed thinking to long-term contextual perspectives....

Barry Hodgson

Manager, Digital Institute,

I manage the Digital Institute at Newcastle University where our work spans research, teaching and innovation through engagement with external organisations.


Heather Robson

Strategic Lead

Working in partnership, collaborating and engaging in the Region is at the heart of my work and central to teaching learning and research making a real difference to p...

Fiona Whitehurst


Fiona was involved in the mapping exercise that led to the Creative Fuse Initial Report and is now running the Creative Connections business development strand with Pa...

Ewan Mackenzie

Presently I am a Research Associate on phase of the project which aims to understand the nature of the creative, digital, and IT sectors in the North East of England.<...

Paul Vallance

Research Associate

I’m interested in the use of design and other creative practices across a broad range of economic activities, both inside and outside the CDIT sector.


Nick Holliman

Visualization Lead

Nick Holliman is Professor of Visualization at Newcastle University, he researches the science and engineering of interactive media including the fundamental challenge...

Alan McKinlay

Professor of Human Resource Management, NUBS

I’ve done a lot of research into changes in the television industry; and advertising.

Fusion is a great opportunity to work with the creative sector to produc...

Gretchen Larsen

Creative Fuse Co-Investigator

Gretchen’s expertise is in consumer research, at the intersection of consumption, markets and the arts. In particular she is interested in how people’s eng...

Nick Spencer

Senior Lecturer in Design Innovation

When we suspend traditional boundaries of discipline or company or community and the agendas they serve, how might we work together and what could we do?

How ca...

Cathrine Degnen

Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Interdisciplinarity and innovation are powerful sociocultural concepts.

As an ethnographer I am keen to understand better how people in their everyday lives mob...

Audrey Verma

Postdoc Researcher

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist fascinated by how new technologies alter the sociocultural landscape, mediating the ways in which we understand the world ar...

Sharon McDonald

Sharon is a reader at the University of Sunderland and a psychologist who specialises in Human-Computer Interaction. My research focuses on understanding and improvin...

Lynne Hall

Reader, Computing, Engineering and Technology

Lynne Hall is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sunderland, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and of the British Computer Society. She ha...

Andrew Richardson

Senior lecturer in Interactive Media and Motion Graphics

Andrew works as a senior lecturer in Interactive Media and Motion Graphics and his background combines both academic and practical work. His research has included exam...

Gerald Moore

Lecturer School of Modern Languages and Culture

My area of research expertise is human-technology interaction, with a particular emphasis on how our ways of thinking and experiencing the world are transformed by the...

Richard Clay

Professor of Digital Humanities

I firmly believe that collaborations between universities and other sectors mutually benefit all involved, collectively identifying problems that are best addressed to...

Mark Bailey

Institutional Lead, Northumbria

Meaningful innovation happens at the intersection of different disciplines where the knowledge, know-how and expertise of multiple actors comes together around a commo...

Arabella Plouviez

Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries

Prof. Arabella Plouviez is Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries and Professor of Photography at the University of Sunderland and is Sunderland’s aca...

Hamid Seddighi

Senior Lecturer Business & Management

Hamid is a Senior Lecturer in Business and Law at the University of Sunderland and leader of the University’s Enterprise Research Cluster.

As a Senior lecture...

Savvas Papagiannidis

Chair of Innovation & Enterprise

I am looking forward to testing our innovative clustering methodology in order to map the the Fusion related business clusters.

The findings should provide inte...

Rebecca Strachan

Faculty Executive Lead, Engineering and Environment, Northumbria Team

Rebecca’s research focuses on improving the lives of people by providing enhanced technological solutions and opening up new opportunities for their academic and...

Eric Cross

Principal Investigator

Eric has a central role in Creative Fuse, providing strategic direction and leadership along with the core team. He sees bringing the project’s wide range of par...

Paul Watson

We collaborate with companies regionally, nationally and internationally to allow the skills and methods we develop in our research projects to be applied to real-worl...

Carl Gregg

Electrical and Design Technician, Sunderland FabLab.

Carl has an interest in a broad range of design areas and has worked for a number of years teaching on various Animation and Design programmes at the University of Sun...

Lee Hall

Academic Lead

Lee’s background is as an experienced multi-platform journalist. He started his career by launching the Liverpool Student newspaper then began a long and continuing ...

Beryl Graham

Academic Lead

Beryl Graham is Professor of New Media Art at the University of Sunderland, and is co-founder of the CRUMB platform for curators of new media art. She has curated the ...

Anthony Eddison

Academic Lead

He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Television Society and the Design Research So...

Erin Dickson

Manufacturing and Design Technician, Fablab Sunderland

Erin trained as an architect before moving to glass, and then on to digital technology. She has experience in digital drawing, modelling and production, and enjoys wor...