Lorraine is employed as Professor in Design Studies, in the School of Graphic and Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, London, where she has taught for over 15 years. She is also Director of Design Against Crime (DAC) at the University of the Arts London, which she set up in 1999, and which was validated as a new Research Centre by the University in 2005. She is currently Vice Chair of Designing Out Crime Association (DOCA), and a member of the Home Office’s 2007 Design and Technology Alliance (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/crime-strategy-07).
She also works as an independent assessor for a variety of research councils.
Lorraine Gamman is currently co-directing several collaborative externally funded research projects on bag and bike theft. These aim to use research to create pragmatic design resources, as well as new designs against crime. Design innovation generated by DAC projects is user-tested, prototyped with industry and applied in the real world to prove efficacy, prior to being disseminated more broadly.
Gamman wrote her PhD on shoplifting at Middlesex University in 1999. She has published widely on design including articles on DAC as ‘socially responsive design’ (with Adam Thorpe). Her publications on crime include In the Bag: Get Smart Quick about bag theft, pick-pocketing and street crime, (2000 currently being revised for 2007 publication). Gone Shopping, the Story of Shirley Pitts, Queen of Thieves (Penguin 1996, film rights sold to Channel 4 in 1997). On visual culture publications include Female Fetishism: A New Look (with Dr. Merja Makinen, L&W Pubs 1994) and The Female Gaze: Women as Viewers of Popular Culture, (with Dr. Margaret Marshment TWP Pubs, 2000) and numerous articles. Her work has attracted research funding from the Design Council, the Home Office, Department of Health, British Transport Police and Transport for London (TfL), and more significantly from the Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as well as the Engineering Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).
Gamman’s most recent publications include papers on Liberty Versus Security (co written with Adam Thorpe) presented to the European Academy of Design conference in Izmir, Turkey, 2007, and ‘Design Against Crime as Socially Responsive Innovation?’ – presented at the July 2007 ECCA conference and the international Crime Science conference (both at UCL).
GONE SHOPPING: THE STORY OF SHIRLEY PITTS, QUEEN OF THIEVES
When Shirley Pitts died tragically young in 1992, the most famous faces of the criminal underworld were present or represented at her funeral. Even the Krays sent their condolences. Fourteen ‘rollers’ accompanied the coffin to the graveside and a huge floral tribute in the shape of a Harrods bag carried the epitaph “Gone Shopping”.
Shirley Pitts, the eldest of six children was born upside down on 24 November 1934. The birth nearly killed her mother who swore blind that Shirley’s feet “were hanging down for days …”. Her father was sent to prison in 1941 and Shirley aged 7 became the adult of the family. Her ‘career’ began then, thieving bread off doorsteps and coal from coal-carts. Her father’s inadequacies made Shirley resolve not only to be a first-class thief but also the best mother her six children could wish for.
Before she died, Shirley told her story to Lorraine Gamman – the story of a generous, brave and beautiful woman with a huge sense of fun and a love of life. She moved among big criminals – she was big time herself, but she did it her way and her story is moving, funny and unique.