Paul Wilson

Dr. Paul Wilson is a Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Design at the University of Leeds, UK. His research explores intersections of language, landscape, community and communication, in particular sites of situated class experience at moments or points of transition, decay or termination. Originally from the north-east of England, his background is within Graphic Design and, in particular, typography and forms of visible language in their widest sense.

In this context, typography is regarded as a translational activity which allows for the production of particular linguistic responses to place though a development of methods for textual production and explorations of the rhetoric of typographic practice. This often takes place through technological and conceptual process which seeks to produce magical narrative from experience & social history. Ideas of place create opportunities through which typographic processes and practices can be brought in to play – used to investigated relationships between language, writing and aspects of everyday life.

Paul’s current research is centred around ideas of utopia and the utopian impulse, looking in particular at how these are manifest in a range of linguistic and typographic activities such as:

  • the critical typographic object as a conduit for typographic enquiry and invention, making use of reprocessed text(s) and acts of translation or repurposed text to reveal unintended meaning
  • the linguistic potential of abandoned communication technologies and the significance of their former sites of production
  • organisations, class and communities of place, in particular the working-men’s club movemen



  • 1994 – 2000.
    •  Ph.D (Design), Nottingham Trent University, Uk
  • 1991 – 1994.
    • BA (Hons) Visual Communication. University of East London, UK


  • 2021
    • Wilson, P. (2021) ‘The Law of Optics’, in Stanley, B. And Norton, T. (eds.) ‘Excavate’. Faber and Faber
  • 2019
    • Lee, J. and Wilson, P. (2019) ’At the same time, in the same place’, in Speight, E. (ed.) ‘Practicing Place: Creative and Critical Re ections on Place’. Art Editions North
    • Wilson, P, Kurre, E and Chivuno-Kuria, S, (2019) ‘In and out of place: correspondence as a means to understand and redesign complexity’, in Miettinen, S. and Sarantou, M. (eds.) ‘Managing complexity and creating innovation through design’. Routledge / Taylor and Francis
    • Wilson, P. (2019) ‘Hopeful words and the neighbourly order of the world: revealing radical language practice through traces of temporary ownership’, in Cawood, I. and Peters, L. (eds.) ‘Print, politics and the press in provincial Britain’. Peter Lang Publishing
    • Wilson, P. (2019) ‘Developing Dialogue through Participatory Design and Imaginative Graphic- Ethnography’, in Cooke, P. (ed.) Participatory Arts in Participatory Development. Routledge / Taylor and Francis

Research Grants

Recent research grants (as P-I)

  • 01/2020-12/2022
    • ESRC – Trans-Atlantic Platform Funding for Social Innovation SEEYouth: Social Innovation through Participatory Art and Design with Youth at the Margins collaborating, with partners in Finland, Canada and Brazil (award of 636,698€, P-I of Leeds)

Recent research grants (as Co-I)

  • 02/2020-01/2023
    • EU Horizon 2020 SC6-TRANSFORMATIONS-2019 Acting on the Margins: Arts as Social Sculpture (AMASS) coordinated by Professor Satu Miettinen, University of Lapland, Finland, with other partners in Portugal, Czech Republic, Malta, Sweden, Hungary and Italy (award of €2,977,330, Co-I )
  • 09/2014-12/2018
    • EU Horizon 2020 MSCA-RISE-2014 Participatory Tools for Human Development with Youth (PARTY) coordinated by Professor Satu Miettinen, University of LaplandEU Marie Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) award of €1.3m [PI September 2014 – October 2015]
  • 10/2014-10/2017 
    • Election Debate Visualisation: 2015, EPSRC award coordinated by Professor Stephen Coleman, University of Leeds, with the Institute of Communication Studies and the Knowledge Media Institute, Open University (£500k, Co-I)


  • 2007 – 2019
    • 9 PhD supervisions, 4 to completion, 5 internal examinations (at point of transfer to PhD), 1 internal examiner (to completion)
    • 2007 – 2019 supervising a total of 9 MA students in the School of Design, previously supervised 35 to completion

Academic quantitative indicators

    • 2 journal articles, 7 book chapters, 35 Masters student dissertation supervised to completion, 4 Doctoral students supervised to completion