Lecturer, Department of Industrial Design
Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture
University of Johannesburg (UJ)
Ashton is a qualified Industrial designer, currently working as a full-time Lecturer in the Department of Industrial Design at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
With a personal interest in improved, contextually appropriate design of medical devices, particularly for children, her Masters research focused on defining a design process model for pediatric Medical Device Design (MDD) in the South African context. After graduating (Cum Laude) in 2019, Ashton has gone on to co-author two academic papers expanding on this research. She has also supervised various BA Honours and Masters projects focusing on MDD.
As a female working in a male-dominated department/industry, Ashton became aware of and interested in the issue of gender representation and inequality in design industries. Over the past two years, she has been involved in various research initiatives, presented at workshops and co-authored a paper, on this topic. She is currently a co-researcher in a collaborative research project funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund between the University of Falmouth and the University of Johannesburg DSD DESIS Lab. Guided by SDG #5 (Gender equality), this cross-national (RSA & UK) comparative research project aims to explore gender diversity, equality and representation across various creative disciplines (industrial design, fashion design, graphic design, etc.) within Higher Education (HE) and Industry.
In line with her above research interests, Ashton was recently selected as 1 of 17 designers under the age of 40 from around the world, to be a part of the World Design Organisation's (WDO) Young Designers Circle. This newly established committee/ pilot programme is aligned with WDO’s objective to promote the use of design to help meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).