Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Zakkiya Khan is a Senior Lecturer in Interior Architecture at the University of Brighton.

Educational Approach

As an educator, Zakkiya's interests are in uniting knowledge areas of practice and research into educational contexts. They are invested in promoting inclusive educational practices.

They have taught undergraduate and postgraduate modules in architectural and interior programmes. They have taught several studio and theory modules in in-person, hybrid, and digital formats. They have taught a diverse range of students in institutions in South Africa, United Kingdom, and Hong Kong.

They have experience teaching:

  • Design Studio to Level 4 (Year 1) students, 
  • Design Theory and Design Studio to Level 5 (Year 2) students,
  • Material Studies and Design Studio to Level 6 (Year 3) students,
  • Research Methods and Design Studio to Level 7 (Masters) students.
  • They have experience in supervising PGT students in Interior Architecture and Interior Design.

Through their work as a teacher, Zakkiya strives to create an environment of passion for the subject of design while making students feel welcome, included, and heard. They support each student to achieve their potential through facilitating design and theory modules while fostering collaborative, peer learning opportunities and promoting independent, research-led design. They engage students through memorable learning experiences such as field visits, peer learning, workshops, and flipped classroom methods. They continually develop their professional expertise by attending forums and conferences on education, leading EDI committees and projects, participating in advocacy platforms, and publishing their own approaches to design pedagogy.

External Examination

Zakkiya has external examined undergraduate modules in design and in technology at University of Johannesburg. They have also examined Research Masters dissertations from University of Johannesburg and Durban University of Technology. They are examining a postgraduate design module at University of Pretoria.

Research Interests

Zakkiya's research interests began in the commercial roots of the interiors discipline where they contributed to the discourse on subjects of onspicuous consumption, taste, decoration, and commercial identity.

Following this, they developed their PhD around the subject of retail design localisation, where they continue to investigate design strategies and considerations around localising retail stores. In 2022, they completed PhD study, titled 'Conditions and Strategies for Localising Retail Design for Global Brands' at University of Pretoria, South Africa. 

  • They have published and presented their research at peer-reviewed conferences in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the United Kingdom.
  • They have published book chapters and journal articles on the subject of retail design. 

Widening Participation and Accessibility in Higher Education

Zakkiya is highly motivated by promiting access and widening participation in design education, research, and practice.

  • In 2018 - 2021, they were a member of the Faculty (College-level) Curriculum Transformation Committee, providing input and solutions to transforming and decolonsing pedagogies in Engineering, Built Environment, and Information Technology (EBIT) at University of Pretoria through policy enhancement, campaigns, and faculty-wide module development.
  • In 2018 - 2020 they led the EBIT Built Environment Week by developing and co-delivering a programme tailored to school learners interested in careers the Built Environment, to be studied at University of Pretoria.
  • In 2020, they contributed as a Subject Expert and Presenter of the Interior Architecture component of an open-access (MOOC) Ed-X course tailored towards building awareness of careers in the Built Environment to school learners.
  • In 2020, they were appointed on the International Federation of Interior Architects / Designers Interior Architecture / Design Education Policy Review Project where they co-facilitated a workshop session among global practitioners at the IFI congress in Dubai and contributed to the resolution and dissemination of the policy as a Co-opted expert member of the board.
  • In 2023, they were appointed as Lead of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Lincoln School of Architecture and the Built Environment.
  • In 2024, they established a Global Alumni Network encompassing their past students providing a platform for collaboration, support, and knowledge exchange among participants.
  • They have also contributed several public articles, chapters, and blogs on the topics of the the interiors discipline and inclusion.


Zakkiya has a diverse range of leadership experience in contexts of education, research, and EDI.

  • In the educational context, Zakkiya was the Programme / Course Leader for the BSc Interior Architecture programme at University of Pretoria from 2018-2022. They were also a year leader from 2016 - 2022.
  • At University of Lincoln, they were a Link Tutor for BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design Programme, where they managed and facilitated the development and delivery of the final year of the undergraduate programme between Lincoln and Hong Kong based cohorts of students during AY 21/22 and 22/23. 
  • They also served as Acting Programme Leader for MA Interior Architecture and Design programme at intermittent stages University of Lincoln.
  • In 2023, they were appointed as Lead of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Lincoln School of Architecture and the Built Environment.
  • They are currently serving as Organising Member of the Design Research Society's (DRS) Special Interest Group, Designing Retail and Services Futures.

Distinguished Appointments

Zakkiya fulfills the following past and current distinguished appointments.

  • In 2020 - 2022 Zakkiya has held distinguished position of Co-opted Expert of the Executive Board of the International Federation of Interior Architects / Designers (IFI).
  • Since 2023, Zakkiya has been an Organising Member of the Design Research Society's (DRS) Special Interest Group, Designing Retail and Services Futures. In this capacity, they have:
    • Contributed to the Online Sudent Retail Fest in collaboration with institutions and practitioners around the world by developing an online global classroom for attending students to contribute their ideas on retail design.
    • They also co-organised the Inaugural Colloquium for Designing Retail and Service Futures at University of Arts London in March 2023. They are currently co-editing a volume eminating from this conference.
    • They are currently a co-orginiser of the DRS Conference Special Track in Designing Retail and Services Futures in Boston (2024).
  • They have acted as a Jury Member in International Design Award Programmes originating in Asia and USA.
  • Since 2023, Zakkiya has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Durban University of Technology's Department of Interior Design.


Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising PhD and Masters students in the fields of commercial interior design, branding in interior design, social design, localisation, placemaking, belonging, and identity. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Conditions and Strategies for Localising Retail Design for Global Brands, University of Pretoria

1 Jan 20194 May 2022

Award Date: 4 May 2022

Master, Inherit Value: POPUP Skills Training Centre in Salvokop, Pretoria, University of Pretoria

1 Jan 201125 Apr 2012

Award Date: 25 Apr 2012

External positions

Organising Member of SIG: Designing Retail and Service Futures

1 Jan 2022 → …

Advisory Board Member, Department of Interior Design, Durban University of Technology

1 Jan 2022 → …

Co-Opted Expert of the Executive Board

1 Feb 202031 Jan 2022


  • NA Architecture
  • Retail Design
  • Localisation
  • Placemaking
  • Identity
  • Interior design
  • Commerce
  • Belonging
  • Branding
  • Interior Architecture


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