Portrait of  Penny Sykes Penny Sykes

p.s.sykes@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472804


I am a Senior Lecturer on the Interior Design BA(Hons) course, currently co-ordinating and running modules for Second and placement Year Students on the course. I joined the University in 2005. I graduated with a BA(Hons) Interior Design in 2001. Following this I worked for some time as a Freelance Designer on bar and restaurant projects whilst teaching on an F.E. National Diploma course at Dewsbury College. I now hold a full-time post at the University of Huddersfield and use my industry experience and background to support the students learning.

Research and Scholarship

I am currently working on an experimental teaching module called Inspire with the Education and Professional Development Department and hope to move on to an MA(Ed) in the near future. My research centres around peer learning in design studies and exploiting theories of social constructivism and the Zone of proximal Development as suggested by Lev Vygotsky. I am particularly interested in tapping into the wealth of knowledge and experience gained through our managed work placement experience by exploiting the wealth of information gained through our trusted relationships with the design industry, that have been garnered over the long history of the Interior Design Degree Course.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Sykes, P (2015) ‘Experimenting with Cooperative learning to enhance non-academic outcomes in Interior Design education’. In: The Inspire Conference, 14th April 2015, University of Huddersfield, UK , pp. 1-15


Blindell, P. and Sykes, P. (2009) ‘TMESIS: insertions and subversions of interstitial territoriesIDEA JOURNAL: Interior Territories - Exposing the critical interior , 2009, pp. 32-41. ISSN 1445-5412


I am currently a fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Enterprise Activities

Collaboration with New River Retail and second year students 2012-13 to provide conceptual presentation information to inform the re-launch and adaptation of the Packhorse Centre in Huddersfield. This project generated cash prizes for the students and sponsorship for the graduate show at New Designers 2013.

Teaching and Professional Activities

I am currently the coordinator and personal tutor for the Interior Design Second Year and for the managed Work Placement Module TST1525. In my role as second year coordinator I programme the year, I lead the two major design modules in the year TID1018 Design in Context and TID1298 Design Realisation, this involves engaging with Design Industry professionals to set briefs. Leadership of the Personal and Professinal Development module TID1297 involves delivery of lectures and embedding reflective practice into the module.

I teach across all three year-groups with input on the first year modules TFD1249, TFD1262 and TFD1242, I also have some input towards the final year module THD1348.

As part of my role as placement tutor I am part of the Enterprise and Employability Working Group and I take part in a programme of placement visits across the country visiting design and architecture offices and liasing with design professionals.

Recruitment activities are also part of my role, I attend UCAS fairs and take part in ‘road-show’ events besides taking part in coordination of graduate exhibitions both on campus and at Freerange and New Designers.