Rob's Background:

Studied Art and Engineering and received a BA Hons in Industrial Design

(Industrial Designers - sometimes called Product Designers - are those who design practically every man-made thing you touch - from your telephone to the train, plane or car you travel in.
The designer has to be able to understand and integrate the requirements of the end user,
the client who wants to manufacture it and the production engineers who have to
design all the machinery to make and assemble all the parts.

Art and Engineering was therefore a very useful combination. I started my career as a self-employed designer/maker of equipment for rural craftspeople in rural Cumbria and part of this was to help maintain equipment in an old water mill and make new (old looking) equipment for it.

     

Some years later my making of hand and water-powered machinery developed into an NGO who designed and trained people in the making of equipment for sheet-metal work in rural Africa (and other developing countries). After seven years of world travel and running training courses I decided that in fact the rural poor of the world had a lot to teach US (the wealthy white minority) and we, not so much to teach them! - 
So I moved to rural Zimbabwe to learn how to make marimbas, drums and played live music with some African friends in a band called "Siya Phambili" which means "We are moving Ahead!"