Professor John Wood

Staff details

Position Emeritus Professor in Design
Department Design
Email j.wood (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7777
Professor John Wood

Originally trained as a fine artist, John devised electronic toys and interactive installations, before adapting his approach to inventing, writing and performing. He still plays and records with the 1970s cult band Deaf School. He was Deputy Head of the Fine Art Department for ten years before writing what is now the BA(Hons) Design (1989) and, subsequently, our first MA programme (Design Futures, 1995). At the time, their breadth, and their focus on ecological and ethical issues, was rare. Arguably, their radicalism helped to inspire the way the current Design Department has developed and matured.

In recent years John has supervised half a dozen PhD researchers at Goldsmiths and acted as an external examiner for five PhD candidates and two masters programmes in other universities. In collaboration with Dr. Julia Lockheart and others (Royal College of Art & Central St. Martins), John initiated the international Writing-PAD Network and its ‘Journal of Writing in Creative Practice’ (Intellect Books), which they have co-edited since 2008. The mission behind both ventures is to encourage studio practitioners to see writing as more than a scholastic discipline constrained by the truth-seeking aspects of ‘research’. Rather, we continue to develop methods that also harness talking and writing as a purpose-driven and practical aspect of design thinking.

John has worked as a visiting professor in Japan, Korea and Thailand and given keynote lectures in other countries. He has published over a hundred and fifty articles, papers and chapters, and acted as an editorial board member of international journals in UK, Germany, USA, Australia, Taiwan and Korea. He is currently writing his fourth book, which will explore new possibilities in governance and design thinking. Much of his research into metadesign can be accessed via the Metadesigners webpage:

Recent Keynote Talks

  • Wood, J., (2016), Keynote talk: "Some Criteria for Mapping Consciousness in Living Buildings", as part of the CAADRIA conference at Melbourne University, April, 2016 (the conference theme is based on my book "Designing Micro-utopias"
  • Wood, J., (2016), Dean's Lecture, Melbourne Uni, April 2016
  • Wood, J., (2015), Keynote talk, Nordes Conference, Design Ecologies 2015: Challenging Anthropocentrism in the Design of Sustainable Futures
  • Wood, J., (2015), Keynote talk, "Undivided Mind" symposium, Plymouth, 2015

Recent Book Chapters

  • Wood, J., (2017), "From Products to Relations: Adding jeong to the metadesigner’s vocabulary", chapter for Handbook of Sustainable Product Design by Jonathan Chapman, Routledge, ISBN-10: 1138910171, ISBN-13: 978-1138910171
  • Wood, J., (2016), "A Quadratic Model of Consciousness", a chapter for a forthcoming book The Undivided Mind, (ed. Jane Grant), part of the Consciousness Reframed series, to be published by Intellect Books.
  • Wood, J., (2015), "Collective Metamorphosis; a combinatorial approach to self-transformation", a chapter for Transformation Design (ed. Wolfgang Jonas), BIRD (Board of International Research in Design, BIRKHÄUSER).
  • Du Noyer P. (2013), Deaf School: The Non-Stop Pop Art Punk Rock Party (pp. Vii-X). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press
  • Wood, J., (2013), “Metadesigning Paradigm Change: an ecomimetic, language-centred approach”, a chapter in Handbook of Design for Sustainability, edited by Stuart Walker & Jacques Giroud (Berg), 2013
  • Wood, J., (2012), Creativity & Biodiversity; towards a Synergy-of-Synergies, paper in the Journal of Advances in System Sciences & Applications, Editor, Prof. Jeffrey (Yi Lin) Forrest, An official journal of the International Institute for General Systems Studies, Vol. 12, (3), pp. 232

Recent Recordings

  • Deaf School (2017) VINYL ALBUM: Let's Do This Again Next Week, (Deaf School Music - London)
  • The Clang Group (2016) VINYL ALBUM: ‘Practice’, ‎(Domino Records), WIGCD372, UK 2016
  • Deaf School (2015) CD ALBUM: Launderette, (Deaf School Music - London)
  • The Clang Group ‎(2015), 10", EP, (Domino Records), RUG639T, Europe,
  • Deaf School (2011), CD “Enrico & Bette” (Deaf School Music - London)

Recent Exhibitions

  • (2017) Collaborative installation ‘The Machine for Saying Sorry’ with composer John Lunn and artists Alma Tischlerwood and Sara Willets, Art House, Lewisham.
  • (2017) Soundtrack for film by Alex Forsey & Alma Tischlerwood
  • (2014) Heat-guided laser installation within Alma Tischlerwood’s exhibition ‘Madame Lavoisier’s Drawing Room’, at Bildersaal & Artothek, Munich, Germany


Publications and research outputs


Wood, John. 2007. Design for Micro-utopias; thinking beyond the possible. Ashgate, p. 226. ISBN 9780754646082

Conference or Workshop Item

Wood, John. 2008. 'Diversity-of-Diversities'. In: 'Edge of a Dream' project curated by Virginia Nimarkoh. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom 31st January 2009, July 3rd, 2008.

Wood, John. 2008. 'Changing the Change: A Fractal Framework for Metadesign'. In: Changing the Change Conference. Institute of Biotechnology, Torino, Italy 3 July – 10th, 11th & 12th July 2008.

Wood, John. 2007. 'Session Chair: 'Methods for Digital Art and Design for Sustainable Processes' Colloquium'. In: Session Chair: 'Methods for Digital Art and Design for Sustainable Processes' Colloquium. University of Plymouth, United Kingdom 8th-10th November 2007.

Wood, John. 2007. 'Dancing with Disorder: Synergizing Synergies within Metadesign'. In: Conference 'Dancing with Disorder'. Izmir, Turkey 11-13 April, 2007.

Wood, John. 2007. 'Progress Presentation to the (AHRC/EPSRC-funded) 'Designing for the 21st Century' Researchers'. In: (AHRC/EPSRC-funded) 'Designing for the 21st Century' Researchers. Design Council, London, United Kingdom 19th March, 2007.


Lockheart, Julia; Wood, John and Edwin, Marl'ene. 2012. Editorial. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 5(1), p. 3. ISSN 17535190

Lockheart, Julia and Wood, John. 2008. Editorial. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 1(2), ISSN 17535190

Wood, John. 2007. Synergy City; Planning for a High Density, Super-Symbiotic Society. Landscape and Urban Planning, 83(1), pp. 77-83. ISSN 01692046

Wood, John. 2007. The tragedy of the Thermostat; Solipsistic v. co-created individuation. Systemica: Journal of the Dutch Systems Group, 14, pp. 475-490.

Lockheart, Julia and Wood, John. 2007. Editorial. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice,, 1(1), ISSN 17535190

Wood, John. 2006. Is Kevin Warwick a Dandy? Observation, self-control and the evolution of perception-steering mechanisms. Kybernetes, 35(3/4), pp. 489-496. ISSN 0368492X

Wood, John. 2004. The Tetrahedron Can Encourage Designers to Formalise More Responsible Strategies. Art Design and Communication in Higher Education, 3(3), pp. 175-192. ISSN 1474273X

Book Section

Backwell, John L. and Wood, John. 2011. Catalysing Network Consciousness in Leaderless Groups: A Metadesign Tool. In: , ed. Presence in the Mindfield: Art, Identity and the Technology of Transformation. Lisbon, Portugal: Artshare-Universidade de Aveiro, pp. 36-41. ISBN 978-972-789-356-0

Backwell, John L. and Wood, John. 2009. Mapping Network Consciousness: syncretizing difference to co-create a synergy-of-synergies. In: , ed. New Realities: Being Syncretic, IXth Consciousness Reframed Conference Vienna, 2008. Vienna, Austria: Springer Verlag, pp. 54-59. ISBN 978-3-211-78890-5

Wood, John. 2007. Win-Win-Win-Win: synergy tools for metadesigners. In: Tom Inns, ed. Designing for the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Questions and Insights. Gower Publishing Ltd, pp. 114-128. ISBN 978-0566087370

Wood, John. 2007. Relative Abundance; Fuller's discovery that the glass is always half full. In: Jonathan Chapman and Nick Grant, eds. Designers Visionaries and Other Stories: A Collection of Sustainable Design Essays. Routledge, pp. 96-116. ISBN 978-1844074136

Velmans, Max. 1998. Physical, psychological and virtual realities. In: John Wood, ed. The Virtual Embodied: Presence, Practice, Technology. London: Routledge, pp. 45-60. ISBN 9781134720972

Blackman, Lisa. 1998. Culture, Technology and Subjectivity. In: John Wood, ed. The Virtual Embodied: Practices, Theories and the New Technologies. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 132-147. ISBN 978-0415160261

Edited Journal

Wood, John and Lockheart, Julia, eds. 2008. Journal of the Writing-PAD Network, Journal of the Writing-PAD Network, .

Lockheart, Julia and Wood, John, eds. 2007. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, . 17535190

Wood, John and Forrest, Yi-Lin, eds. 2005. "Scientific Inquiry" - Journal of the International Institute for General Systems Studies, "Scientific Inquiry" - Journal of the International Institute for General Systems Studies, . 1552-1222

Wood, John, ed. 2003. REVIEWER: Leonardo Online Journal, REVIEWER: Leonardo Online Journal, .

Wood, John and Lowenstein, Oliver, eds. 2003. The Fourth Door Review, The Fourth Door Review, .

Wood, John and Fry, Tony, eds. 2003. The Design Philosophy Papers, The Design Philosophy Papers, .

Wood, John, ed. 2002. The Journal of Technology and Design, The Journal of Technology and Design, .