Dr. Derek Hales

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Dr. Derek Hales

Contact Details

New Adelphi 5.35a

Please email for an appointment.

Current positions

Lecturer in Architecture


Dr Derek Hales is an architect and philosopher of digital and abstract culture. Before joining the University of Salford in 2017, Derek was an architect in practice and was Director of the Yorkshire Forward Centre of Excellence for Digital Design and Subject Leader for Digital Design at the University of Huddersfield School of Art Design and Architecture. He was Director of the Digital Research Unit funded by the Arts Council of England until 2009. 

Derek was Research Fellow in Transdisciplinary Practice with the New Centre for Research & Practice (2016-2018) and is interim Chair for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ national Research & Innovation Group. He is on the editorial board of the international peer-reviewed journals Digital Creativity and Architecture & Culture.

Areas of research

Architecture, Design, Philosophy, Digital, Speculative


Derek runs undergraduate and postgraduate design studios concerned with technoecologies of architectural and virtual space. Derek has a long-standing interest in speculative design in architecture and architecture and its representations: architectural models, drawings and machines after the digital turn. He is module leader for the Advanced Digital Design Technologies and the Dissertation modules on the Master of Architecture programme.  Derek is Programme Director of the RIBA/ARB accredited Architecture programme, a lecturer on the doctoral training programme of Research Methodologies for Built Environment PhD students, and is a specialist supervisor in design and practice-based research. He is Programme Director for the Professional Doctorate in the Built Environment. The courses he delivers are interdisciplinary and explore the techno-cultural implications of design and digital technologies.

Research Interests

Derek’s research provides a comparative philosophy of the concept of the digital technological object as ‘objectile’. This concept created by philosopher Gilles Deleuze and the architect Bernard Cache at the time of the digital turn in architecture is mobilised in Derek’s research in new and diverse registers of interest. Derek’s principal interests are in philosophy of technology; philosophies of technogenesis; analytic philosophies of technological fiction and continental philosophies of technological possibility in as much as these might be expressed in architecture and digital design. He has a long-term commitment to digital design research; artistic and practice-based design research in science and technology contexts and the possibilities opened by new and emerging technologies for future architectural practices.

Derek is an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner and was a co-investigator for the AHRC and EPSRC funded programme Designing for the 21st Century led by the University of Leeds. He has presented his R&D work in speculative & abstract culture at universities, research institutions and conferences internationally.

Qualifications and Memberships


  • PhD. Cultural & Historical Studies, Royal College of Art
  • MRes. Cultural Studies and the Humanities, London Consortium
  • Diploma in Architecture (Distinction), Huddersfield School of Architecture


  • Architects Registration Board, Registered Architect
  • Royal Institute of British Architects, Member
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy