Tim Cowlishaw

Designer, Researcher, Technologist



2021 – 2024 (estimated completion date) – PhD, Design and Communication, BAU School of Art and Design, Barcelona.

My thesis investigates the phenomenon of digital waste from an ecological perspective. I’m particularly interested in the ways in which the ways in which we discard digital things (in the sense of files, software, data, media) have consequences for how we discard physical devices (i.e. e-waste), and the use of energy, water, and other material resources by digital media. I also examine in the ways in which interaction design practices are entangled with these materialities. It’s a practice research project, and draws on design research, discard studies, STS, and the environmental humanities.

2010 – 2011: MSc, Computer Science, University College London (with distinction), London, UK

Including specialisations in: Human-Computer Interaction, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, information retrieval, and social simulation.

2002 – 2005: BA, Moving Image Design, Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, London, UK

Including: graphic design, animation, typography, research skills, critical and contextual studies.


September 2021 – present: Sessional lecturer, BAU University Center of Art and Design, Barcelona, Spain

I teach several classes and practical workshops of the Speculative and Critical Design module of the Master’s Degree in Design Research.

December 2010 – today: Freelance researcher, designer and developer, London, UK and Barcelona, Spain

A variety of work for diverse clients, including the BBC, the UK National Archives, smartcitizen.me, and the Barcelona community radio network (XRCB). I have taken responsibility for design, prototyping, research and programming of different projects – websites, applications, prototypes, artistic installations and data analysis and visualisation projects.

April 2016 – November 2019: Producer / Technologist / Researcher – Research and Development department, British Broadcasting Corporation, London, UK

I worked in a small interdisciplinary team designing, prototyping, and delivering new online services and products, with a focus on the discovery of information and content – its search, recommendation and analysis. During my last 18 months there, I led the discovery team – managing projects, supervising other team members and initiating new projects and fields of research, and communicating our results and projects to internal and external audiences, through articles, talks and workshops.

Featured projects:

May 2015 – March 2016: PhD student and teaching assistant, University College London, London, UK

An ultimately abortive attempt to obtain a PhD in Computer Science, working at the intersection of the fields of machine learning, human-computer interaction (HCI), and information retrieval.

August 2011 — April 2022: Software Engineer, Likely Ltd, London, UK

December 2009 — December 2010: Developer, Harmonypark Ltd, London, UK

March 2009 — December 2009: Developer, Headshift Ltd, London, UK

June 2007 — March 2009: Developer, Media Service Provider Ltd, London, UK

March 2006 — June 2007: Content Editor, Red Bee Media Ltd, London, UK

July 2005 – March 2006: Graphic Designer, Abbey Road Interactive, London, UK.