Category Archives: News

Turkey photographs online

Harem window, Topkapi palace, Istanbul

Harem window, Topkapi palace, Istanbul

I’m slowly getting through my backlog of photographs that need either scanning (for those I shot on 35mm transparency film) or RAW-conversion (for those I shot using a digital camera), then post-processing (colour balance, contrast and the odd bit of dust-removal) and keywording (for picture sales via Alamy) before making them available online. The latest images to get finished are a set I took in Turkey in April 2007. This was Joanna and my first trip to Turkey, ostensibly so I could attend the European Academy of Design conference in Izmir, but we also travelled a few days ahead so that we could explore Istanbul. We weren’t sure what to expect but Turkey was a revelation: a beautiful, vibrant country steeped in history with some stunning architecture, the friendliest of people and lip-smackingly fresh and fabulous food. Click on the image to browse the full set on Flickr.

Taking the high road.. for charity

One of my favourite ways to unwind is walking, particularly if it involves climbing up big hills. I’m fortunate that my wife Joanna shares my love of all things outdoors and we generally spend goodly amounts of time trudging up hills and mountains at home in the British Isles (and further afield when we can). We usually do this for fun, but for a change we’re about to do a big walk for charity. The Patterdale Parish Boundary walk has been running since the early 1990s in the north east corner of the Lake District in the UK, as an event to raise funds for the local school and church. As the name suggests, people walk or run the boundary parish which, being as the Lake District is the highest group of mountains in England, tends to be both rather long (30 miles) and involve a lot of uphill (10,000 feet – that’s a third of an Everest -ish). Walking the boundary takes between 12 and 17 hours, and not everyone makes the full distance. But we’re going to try (we have been training).

Joanna met one of the founders and organisers of the walk, Stephen, whilst travelling in New Zealand several years ago. He’s been asking her (and, latterly, us) to do the walk ever since. So, it’s about time we did our bit for an area we both love – we frequently enjoy its wild landscape, now we’ll try and give something back to its community. This year, the event is running on 4th July and we’ve set up a webpage for sponsorship here. We’re grateful for any support.

PhD thesis completed and online!

Following my viva in March, I have now completed my examiners’ requested amendments to my PhD thesis, which is now in its final form. An abstract and downloadable electronic copy is available on my PhD page.

I now feel that I can legitimately call myself Doctor Bowen – although only in professional circles rather than down at the pub.

Website overhaul – part 1a, link redirection

Moving to a completely WordPress-driven site has many benefits but a minor downside is that the WordPress pages that replace my previous static pages now have different URLs. For example the “About me” page used to have the URL but now has the URL To prevent frustration for those literally tens of people who might’ve bookmarked or linked to my website, I needed to put redirects in place. The easiest way to do so would be to create short pages that immediately re-directed people’s web-browsers to a new address using a meta refresh tag (tutorial here). However, this isn’t an ideal solution as it creates an extra step that both slows things down and causes confusion when someone uses their browser’s back function. I.e. the process to get to the page is: click a link/bookmark > receive redirection page > go to new page, so one step back is always the redirection page that then moves you forward again to the new page (and so on ad infinitum).

A much more elegant solution is to do the redirection server-side. Continue reading

Website overhaul – part 1, WordPress-ification

The much-needed re-vamp of my website has finally made it to the top of my to do list. Although, with other demands on my time, I’m going to have to do it in stages.

First step is the background technology that runs the site. Previously this site was a hybrid of static pages together with a ‘blog powered by WordPress. ‘Back in the day’ I had time to fiddle about hand-coding PHP and HTML but my time is rather more limited now and I’m often working at disparate locations. I need a system that enables me to update the site quickly and easily from anywhere. Step forward the increasingly marvellous, extendable and customisable WordPress. Continue reading

Website update overdue

In the final stages of writing up my PhD thesis several tasks have been pushed onto the ‘back burner’. This website is one of them. I shall be updating the site over the coming weeks so please bear with me in the meantime..

PhD Viva Success!

On 24th March I successfully defended my PhD Thesis entitled:

A Critical Artefact Methodology:
Using Provocative Conceptual Designs to Foster Human-Centred Innovation

The examiners were Prof. Clive Richards, Assistant Dean for Research in Art and Design at Coventry University, and Dr. Paul Atkinson, Reader in Design at Sheffield Hallam University. The examiners complimented the thesis and awarded a PhD subject to minor modifications. This work was supported by an award from the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s Doctoral Scheme.

My Director of Studies, Prof. Chris Rust, said:

“The magic part of Simon’s work is that it allows a proper place for the designer as a ‘processor’ of people’s ideas and experiences – not doing analysis as a market researcher would, but allowing engagement with stakeholders to feed directly into new cycles of creative thinking.”

I am currently making the necessary amends to my thesis which I then intend to make available online as soon as possible.