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Personal profile

Research Interests

My research is in the closely aligned fields of human-computer interaction and interaction design, and focuses on how people experience and use digital and data-driven technologies in their everyday lives. My projects often take a participatory and research through design approach, typically designing prototypes with people, users and stakeholders and studying the use of new technologies in real world contexts. I’m particularly interested in designing technologies that fuse elements of participatory and social media, and enable individuals and communities to take control or ownership over important aspects of their lives. I’m also interested in understanding and creating new participatory and speculative design methods and techniques, and increasingly find myself exploring the opportunities presented by designing with (not just for) data, data-driven and autonomous systems.

 

My research touches in a wide-range of subjects and application areas. I have conducted research related to technology design for ageing, later-life and the lifecourse since 2005, often with a critical sensitivity to how ‘older adults’ often get negatively represented in technology and computing research. Over the years, I have also worked on projects at the intersection of people, technology, data and design in relation to: personal, community and occupational health and wellbeing; personal finance and socially inclusive economies; and civic engagement and civil society. However, I am open to discussing any projects that may lead to positive social impacts, and may be considered as living under the umbrella term of “technologies for social good”. To get a flavour of the research I do, see my publication list elsewhere on this profile or my Google Scholar page.

Qualifications

PhD, University of Plymouth, 2011 – Ageing, technology and the embodied and enactive mind

MA, University of Wales, 2007 – Design (New Media and Technology)

BA (Hons), University of Wales, 2005 – Three-dimensional Design

Biography

I’m Chair of Design Informatics in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, and Co-Director of the Institute of Design Informatics (with Chris Speed). I’m a trained designer by background, but have moved between and worked at the intersection of computing, design, cognitive science and social science for most of my career. Before joining the University of Edinburgh I was Professor of Design at Northumbria University, where I helped set-up the CoCreate group. Prior to that I was a lecturer at Newcastle University’s Open Lab, where I am still a visiting faculty member. All of this built on several years as a post-doc at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, and my time as a PhD student at the University of Plymouth in the radically transdisciplinary Transtechnology Research group. This all means I am very happy working across disciplines, and enjoy collaborating in complex multi- and cross-disciplinary projects.

 

I have been an investigator on research grants totalling £24.8m. This has included two large EPSRC digital economy research centres (the Digital Economy Research Centre (2014-2021) and Centre for Digital Citizens (2020-2025), and a range of projects funded through the UKRI Digital Economy theme (such as the OxChain project exploring distributed ledger technologies in the charity sector, and Playing Out with IoT project exploring the potential of the internet of things to promote outdoor play for young children). I am involved in several live funded projects exploring issues of social inclusion and co-production in technology design, including an ESRC funded project exploring the social lives and communicative practices of autistic adults online and a Versus Arthritis funded project exploring self-management of energy levels and fatigue for people with Sjogren's syndrome. I am also currently the digital lead for the ESRC Network Plus on loneliness, social isolation and mental health.

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