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Charlie Cox

Welcome Charlie!

Published: 12 January 2010

2010-01: Charlie Cox has joined Functional Product Development, and will do a postdoc during 2010 in the project Redesigning Innovation.

Redesigning innovation

Charlie will work in the the project Redesigning Innovation funded by the Kempe foundation, the goal is to explore the paradigm of  Instrumented Improvisation. This project has an unusually broad topic and the roots of the paradigm lie at the intersection of arts and engineering.

At the division we focus on finding the right people and this time we found Charlie Cox from the US, with a background from architecture and education.

Interview with Charlie

What is your academic background?
My PhD is in education and my master’s is in architecture. Recently, I have been teaching an introductory studio to architecture and architectural engineering undergraduates.

You have a background as an architect; how do you think that background will fit into the research here at FPD?

When it comes to playing on a team, architects have to expect a variety of interactions with consultants and contractors and clients and code officials. A lot of times we invent solutions together as we go. I think that sort of collaboration will translate well into investigations about designing products, and how teams of people both do that and learn to do that.

How has the first week been here?

Yeah, my baggage got delayed and it was really cold outside. But the total wonder of stepping into this beautiful region more than makes up for that. Plus, a lot of people speak English, so I didn’t have to point and grunt too much (and I will learn Swedish if it kills me). I mean, how could you not like a country that puts little halos on its letters?

What is your industrial experience?

Architects do all kinds of things at many different scales, and this is something I want to sharpen in myself. As an architect designing health care and educational facilities, I have had to deal with installations and special equipment requirements, so I’ve been gathering experience with hosting products (such as MRI machines and hydrotherapy pools). That has given me some insight regarding their design, but not enough to qualify as the expertise I would prefer.

Why did you apply for this post doc in Luleå?

LTU has a growing reputation among designers in the USA, so I was very keen to participate in research here. To my mind, the design of functional products is just the right thing to do, so why wouldn’t I want to go somewhere that cuts that open and figures it out in order to help others do it better?

Which three words do you think best describe you as a person?

Off-the-wall are three that probably occur to many, because I always want to see if something fits with something else that no one has tried before; I want to look at problems from as many different ways as I can. Stubborn, maybe? Yeah, stubborn’s good, too.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I would have said guitar playing (my wife bought me a beautiful Dobro, but I couldn’t bring it along). So I have a harmonica to torment others with, instead.