Zoe Laughlin
Zoe Laughlin - Director

Zoe Laughlin is a co-founder/director of the Institute of Making and the Materials Library project. She holds an MA from Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design and obtained a PhD in Materials within the Division of Engineering, King's College London. Working at the interface of the science, art, craft and design of materials, her work ranges from formal experiments with matter to large-scale public exhibitions and events with partners including Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery, the V&A and the Wellcome Collection. Her work has also been shown in London’s Science Museum and is included in the new permanent collection of The Design Museum. Her particular areas of interest and resaerch are currently Materials Farming, The Performativity of Matter and the sound and taste of materials.  She can often be found giving theatrical demonstration lectures or making programmes for both radio and television.

Mark Miodownik
Mark Miodownik - Director

Mark Miodownik is an engineer and materials scientist. He received his PhD in turbine jet engine alloys from Oxford University in 1996. Before joining UCL in February 2012 he worked in engineering research institutions in the USA, Ireland, and in the UK. His research areas include smart materials and psychophysical properties of materials. This work has resulted in collaborations with designers, architects and artists, as well as many museums, such as Tate Modern, Hayward Gallery and the Wellcome Collection. Prof Miodownik is a broadcaster and writer; he gave the 2010 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, and regularly presents BBC TV programmes on materials science and engineering. He was included in the The Times 2010 list of the top 100 most influential people in science.

Martin Conreen
Martin Conreen - Director

Martin Conreen is an artist and designer. He received his BA from Goldsmiths College in Fine Art/Sculpture in 1984. His interest in materials and making led him to work in numerous design fields, including silversmithing, set building, furniture design and shoe making. In 1994, Martin became a visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths. From 2002 to 2005, Martin was the Head of the Design Department. Since 2008 he has been Senior Lecturer.

Martin's research has focused on new and emerging materials, crafts, material culture, contemporary art, and manufacturing. He currently has a growing interest in Rapid Prototyping/Manufacturing along with their materials and their relationship to digital technologies. He has contributed to the development and delivery of several new BA and MA Design programmes including a new degree programme with the Engineering Department of Queen Mary University of London, to bridge the gap between engineering, art and design.

He undertakes materials consultancy with the prospecting and Innovation Studio (PI Studio) at Goldsmiths and lectures worldwide about design and materials. From October 2005 to October 2006 he was appointed a visiting senior Research Fellow at King's College London, and in 2006 he was made a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA).


Romain Meunier
Romain Meunier - Head of Workshops

Romain is an artist, designer and creative technologist. His work takes the form of interactive installations, product design or window display developments and draws inspiration from people’s relationship with technology and its rapid evolvement. He likes mixing a variety of digital and analogue technologies; his work tries to reconcile the virtual and the physical world, bringing together data flows and human senses.

Growing up with a dressmaker mother and a mechanic dad working in carpentry, Romain has always been surrounded by craft and he considers himself an artisan of new technologies.

After having been a Technician, Bloomsbury Workshop Manager, and Stratford Project Manager at the Institute of Making, Romain now manages both Stratford and Bloomsbury sites as Head of Workshops.

Emily Furnell
Emily Furnell - Workshop Manager (Bloomsbury)

Emily studied Fine Art at Bath School of Art & Design and is an artist and educator, as well as Workshop Maanger for our Bloomsbury space. In her art practice she works collaboratively with mechanical engineer and artist, Harry Barnett, to make over-engineered objects and images that play on an excess of arbitrary information and our contemporary culture.

Their work has included an air compressor playing an oboe reed embedded in a 3D printed mouthpiece, powerpacks hooked up to chemical-filled zinc boxes and an oversized centrifugal fan blowing up a balloon via a bronze canister.

Darren Ellis
Darren Ellis - Technician

Darren is an enthusiastic and creative potter who enjoys learning and sharing skills, from kiln building and layout to the molecular structure within clay and glaze material. This has had a profound influence his approach to throwing - he specialises in the potter’s wheel - and this knowledge of traditional methods feeds his problem solving skills. He is trustee to the charity AaP,  set up in response to many ceramic department closures throughout education, the  ever growing programme’s aim is to fund learners to take apprenticeships within clay.

Ella West
Ella West - Technician

Ella is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator with a deep curiosity for learning about geology, megalithic sites and earth sciences. Her training is in printmaking, mould-making and ceramics, with an emphasis on experimental screen printing techniques. Working across these mediums, her work seeks to be a playful investigation into various ecologies and involves combining fragile materials to form sculptures that move, make sound or are activated through human interaction. Ella graduated from the Slade School of Art with an MA in Fine Art Media and Contemporary Art Theory in 2022.


Ellie Doney
Ellie Doney - Technician

Ellie is a materials and making enthusiast, engaged in doing, teaching, and facilitating practical research across disciplines. She specialises in materials, technologies and processes relating to food-making and growing. Alongside studying Materials BA, and Ceramics & Glass MA at RCA, she worked in arts production, before joining the Institute of Making in 2012. She loves the experimental collaboration involved in making modifying and mending things as part of a technical team.

Her practice-based PhD project, on cooking and eating workshops as a way of thinking about human-material-microbe transformations, is in its final stages. Entitled Materials Research Kitchen, it takes place at Slade School of Fine Art, in collaboration with home appliances maker BEKO PLC.

Joseph Gabriel
Joseph Gabriel - Technician

Joseph is an artist with a multidisciplinary background. He is interested in the transformative qualities of materials and is keen to examine how various materials work under certain conditions, parameters and thresholds. He studied Technical Theatre and holds a BFA in Painting from the University of the Philippines. He moved to London and obtained an MA in Ceramics and Glass from the Royal College of Art, where he was a recipient of the RCA Innovation Scholarship. 

His most recent body of works include creating fragile porcelain sculptures that utilise experimental glazes as well as using 3D printing technology for clay and composite materials. Prior to moving to the UK, he also studied Ceramics in France and participated in artist residencies in Japan and USA.

Saadiqah Rahman
Saadiqah Rahman - Technician

Saadiqah is a craft-centric designer, maker and jeweller.

Having studied 3D Design at Camberwell College of Arts, her career path meanders through engineering, woodworking, prop and set design, darkroom photography, textiles, public events, course design and teaching. Her time spent working in historic Hatton Garden enabled her to hone her skills in jewellery making. It will hardly be surprising that one of Saadiqah’s favourite things to do is pick up a new material, tool or skill. You will find her always in making spaces, always with people, always using her hands.  


Sara Brouwer
Sara Brouwer - Head of Events and Communications

Sara Brouwer is a ceramicist and our Head of Events and Communications, who has spent the past ten years working on making events and cultural programmes. Her most exciting event so far involved designing and building an 18-hole mini golf course, based on material science and making processes, with the Institute of Making team, UCL academics, glass artists, concrete makers and technologists. Her most fun job to date has been the six-month period where she learnt how to make the perfect slime for a large-scale public event. Sara makes ceramics on the potters wheel, which she also teaches at a studio in Peckham, and is a glaze chemistry enthusiast. Before this, Sara attended Camberwell College of Arts where she specialised in drawing, stop-frame animation and video art, and took the Museum Studies MA at UCL.

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Materials Library

Sarah Wilkes
Sarah Wilkes - Head of Materials Library

Sarah is a huge fan of all things material: from the science of materials and their power to inform and affect human behaviour, to their many weird and wonderful uses in healthcare, consumer, automotive and architectural applications. She is a social scientist by training, with a background in anthropology, multidisciplinary materials research and object-centred learning. Sarah has been involved in a wide variety of collaborative, interdisciplinary projects including the Making Spaces project, her Wellcome Trust Fellowship project Material Anxieties, Hands of X (EPSRC), PhysFeel (UCL Grand Challenges) and Light.Touch.Matters (EUFP7). Sarah has a PhD in Anthropology from UCL, completed with industrial partners the IOM3, an MA in Material Culture from UCL, and a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Oxford. 



Danielle Purkiss
Danielle Purkiss - Head of Research and Development

Danielle is an Architect interested in material culture, technology and circular economy design. She is a Research Associate on our Compostable Plastics (UKRI) and Circular Metals (UKRI) projects where she leads Citizen Science and material systems design research. Prior to this Danielle was a Research Associate on our previous UKRI Plastics Research and Innovation Fund project - Designing out Plastic Waste. She completed her architecture training at UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and London Metropolitan University and teaches about circular economy design in the UK and internationally. She joins our team as Head of Research and Development.

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