Adam McDade

School: School of Communication & Design
Department: Design Studies
Position: Lecturer
Location: RMIT Saigon South
ORCID: 0000-0002-5469-5931

Adam McDade is a Lecturer in Design Studies at the Saigon South campus. He is an illustrator, tattooist, designer, and early career academic, and has taught across art and design areas at The University of Sunderland (UK) and UWE Bristol (UK). His doctoral research focussed on contemporary western tattooing and is the first in the World to utilise tattooing practice as a methodological approach.

  • PhD Design (2017–2021) The University of Sunderland
  • MA Illustration and Design (2013–2014) The University of Sunderland (Distinction)
  • BA (Hons) Illustration and Design (2011–2013) The University of Sunderland (1st)

Illustration, design, visual communication, visual culture

Illustration practice, design, contemporary tattooing, autoethnography, embodiment research

  • McDade, A. (2019), ‘The contemporary western tattooist as a multifaceted practitioner’, Craft Research, 10(2), pp. 263–277, doi: 10.1386/crre_0005_01. 
  • McDade, A. (2019), Giving Form to the Intangible: Meaning and Transformation in Tattooing, Tattoodo. Available at: (Accessed: 3 February 2020).
  • Forthcoming: McDade, A. (2021) ‘Contemporary Western Tattooing as an Inherently Collaborative Practice: The Contingent Authorial Input and Operational Mode of the Tattooist’, in Martell, J. and Larsen, R. (eds.) Tattooed Bodies: Theorizing Body Inscription Across Disciplines and Culture. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Illustration Clients (sample)

NESTA, Misfit Press, Praeger Publishers, END. Clothing, Love Serve Remember Foundation, The Psychedelic Societ

  • AHRC NPIF funding for PhD Research
  • Supervision of numerous MA Design students at The University of Sunderland

Research Presentation

  • 'There's more to tattooing than just tattooing: A practitioner perspective' (LOTS: Learn of Things and Sharing) — Rumah Sanur, Bali — 18/01/2020. (Public Lecture).
  • 6th International Conference of Autoethnography — Bristol Harbour — 22–23/07/2019. (Conference Presentation).
  • BBC Radio Newcastle with Lisa Shaw — 29/4/2019. (Media coverage).
  • Sunderland Echo, 'Meet the Tattoo Doctor' — 15/4/2019. (Media coverage).
  • The Northern Echo, 'University of Sunderland Student uses Tattooing to Explore Art and Design' — 15/4/2019. (Media coverage).
  • Creative Lives Talk — University of Sunderland. 2/4/2019. (Public lecture).
  • Saybrooke University PunchBowl Salon — Los Angeles — 7/2/2019. (Public lecture).
  • Digital Humanities, Human Technologies — University of Salford—11/10/2018. (Conference presentation).
  • Sunderland University Student Conference — 28/6/2018. (Conference presentation).
  • Teaching on Undergraduate programmes since 2013 
  • Tattooing from 2017–2021 at internationally award-winning Triplesix Studios
  • Freelance Illustrator and Designer since 2013
  • Teaching and Lecturing at The University of Sunderland (part-time), from 2013–2021.
  • Associate Lecturer in Visual Culture at UWE Bristol (part-time), 2021.
  • Tattooist at Triplesix Studios (self-employed), from 2017–2021.
  • Content Editor at END. Clothing, from 2015–2016 
  • Freelance Illustrator (self-employed) from 2013.