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Research Practice

Allyson Waller is a lecturer, graphic designer and researcher, she is interested in developing the space where these roles overlap.

Allyson co-founded 'Collectarium' with Dr Sophie Beard in 2019. Collectarium is a publishing platform that creates and documents collections by designing activities to engage audiences into new ways of seeing. In 2002 whilst studying at the Royal College of Art Allyson and Sophie published The Readers Before Us.  Revisiting this project in 2019 formed the basis for their current evolving methodology and collaboration. Collectarium.co.uk acts as a repository for Collectarium’s individual collections.

In 2020 Collectarium started Lockdown Masks a collection which invited people to make a mask that reflected their experiences of, and feelings about lockdown. People submitted masks from around the world, from Brazil to New Zealand. The masks were published and shared on Instagram. The final Lockdown Masks collection became a photographic memoir and explored creativity and wellbeing during isolation. It reached notable designers and artists and engaged participants beyond the Art School interacting with people all over the world.

Alongside her teaching and research practice Ally works as a graphic designer. Before setting up AW–Projects in 2008 she worked for reputable design studios in both San Francisco and London. AW-Projects works on a project-by-project basis. Projects incorporate a broad range of multi-disciplinary applications all linked by unfolding narrative, typography and storytelling to bring to life the subjects in an engaging way. Her design work has existed and exists in the public domain. It includes exhibition identities for Ben Uri at Somerset house. Visual identity design and consultancy for Bobbin, a global bicycle company and internal communication for Sony Music. She has designed for local independents and worked for international companies. She has designed and created learning tools in collaboration with Textile Environment Design (UAL Chelsea Collage of Art).These tools engaged H&M employees to learn about practice-based sustainable design strategies that assist designers in creating textiles that have a reduced impact on the environment.

She has worked collaboratively with other members of the School of Art and Media and Community 21 design group as a co-researcher and visual communicator. The research group were awarded a research consultancy grant from East Sussex County Council’s Public Health team and inclusive arts enterprise Culture Shift for a project entitled Everyday Creativity. A ‘COVID response’ project aimed at supporting the county’s network of Personal Assistants who deliver care to people in their own homes across the county. The team facilitated the developed of a programme of interventions, co-designed with Personal Assistants (PAs) that test the potential role of integrating creative strategies and activities into the daily lives of carers. Tasked with contributing to the growing body of evidence suggesting that participating in regular acts of creativity can contribute to one’s wellbeing, improving mental health, resilience and social connectivity.


Research interests
Engagement, Community Building, Participatory Design, Collaboration, Archives, Collecting, Interaction, Social Design. Graphic Design. Knowledge Exchange.

Teaching Practice

Allyson is a designer who facilitates and designs learning experiences that integrate theory and practice. Students practise both the craftmanship of applied design and the creative thinking skills involved to interrogate the subject. She has designed and facilitated workshops and projects that create opportunities for students to learn, interrogate, debate and participate through making and thinking together. She is interested in how students can co-create the curriculum and take ownership of their learning. Allyson completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts in 2011.

Education/Academic qualification

Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts, University for the Creative Arts

10 Nov 20091 Mar 2011

Award Date: 1 Jun 2011

Master, Royal College of Art

1 Sept 200030 Jun 2001

Award Date: 1 Jun 2002

Bachelor, Central Saint Martins, UAL

2 Oct 19952 Jun 1998

Award Date: 2 Jun 1998

External positions

Senior Lecturer (0.6), University for the Creative Arts

1 Oct 200618 Oct 2018


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