The Royal College of Art has announced that Rama Gheerawo will succeed Professor Jeremy Myerson as Director of The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design. As a world leader in the field of Inclusive Design, Rama Gheerawo takes on this role after almost two decades of leadership in the design industry. Gheerawo has been Deputy Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for the past five years, where he has been instrumental in building the Centre’s current reputation globally.
A graduate of Imperial College London and the RCA, Gheerawo is a designer, researcher, curator and writer who has an international presence and is known for his work within academia, industry, government and the public sector. He has delivered keynote speeches across the world, published papers, and edited and contributed to books for Routledge and Springer.
He also leads the Centre’s External Education programme, which has trained over 200 civil servants, over 400 designers and over 100 executives from businesses such as Samsung, Hong Kong Government’s Civil Service Bureau, BlackBerry and Stannah. During his role as Deputy Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre, Gheerawo has led the Centre’s Age and Ability research lab, where he has created new processes that look at how inclusive design can become more business-ready and engaged with critical social issues such as population aging.
He leads the Research Associates programme, where over 180 projects have been successfully completed with over 120 organisations including Samsung, Toyota, Panasonic, B&Q, the NHS and GlaxoSmithKline. He has worked on major industry projects, including a re-design of the emergency ambulance and currently co-leads a new London taxi project with RCA Vehicle Design.
As one of the world’s few Readers in Inclusive Design, Gheerawo is in demand as a keynote speaker, most recently presenting on the Olympics to HRH Princess Yohko of Japan and Tokyo’s Mayor. He works globally with organisations from California to China, and collaborated with the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture to create a landmark publication Innovating with People: the Business of Inclusive Design, which has now sold to 42 countries. He reviews and guest-edits journals and sits on international conference and award committees, including his membership of the EPSRC Review College. He works on initiatives and awards with a number of other design institutions including the UK Design Council, the Hong Kong Design Centre, the UK Design Museum and Spain’s Design for All Foundation.
Rama Gheerawo said, “I am incredibly excited to take on leadership of the Centre, building on the excellent reputation established by Jeremy Myerson. My vision is called Inclusive Design 3.0, signalling the next phase of socially inclusive practice and positioning the Centre as a lighthouse organisation in its field for years to come. I look forward to working with the RCA team to make this happen.”
Gheerawo’s appointment marks the culmination of a comprehensive international search. He will begin the directorship in October 2015.