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Maggie McGrath

DPhil Student

Maggie McGrath

DPhil Student


Maggie McGrath is a design lead, visual artist and doctoral researcher focusing on AI and creativity. Her doctoral research project, Who and What is Designing Design, centres on algorithmic image search and the images creative professionals use for inspiration during ideation. Image sourcing is now largely digital and algorithmic through non-specialist platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. Creative professionals use this ‘everyday AI,’ a combination of AI and algorithmic search tools, globally. Through the vast scale of this unintended use of everyday AI, optimized and aggregated tools complicate design ideation.

Maggie’s research topic emerged from experience as a practicing designer. She experienced the shift to algorithmic image search firsthand and began to question its implications for creative practice. To address this primarily visual research problem, Maggie is conducting a mixed-method, multi-site comparative study, incorporating visual art as a method.

In addition to her research, Maggie is the project lead on AI Yesterday, a digital zine and transmedia forum that critically engages with AI histories, challenging dominant narratives about AI’s potential futures. Through experimental, freeform participation, AI Yesterday embraces voices and outputs that academic writing and journalism often exclude. Past issues covered AI definitions and AI fails. Issue:03, forthcoming, will explore AI’s materiality.

Maggie holds a Master of Arts in History of Design from the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Michigan.



Research Interests

Design process, artificial intelligence, creative industries, material and visual culture, design history, design futures, architecture.

Positions at the OII

  • DPhil Student, September 2019 -



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