Design for improved reliving of personal memories

We believe that with increasingly ubiquitous media creation devices, such as camera phones, creation of personal media is no longer the problem, but curation and retrieval are. People gather so many photos and other media and have stopped organising them. Most media are created for mnemonic reasons and used as memory cues, e.g. remembering what someone or locations looked like by watching photos. But with media retrieval failing, human memory is not supported as intended and desired.

The Materialising Memories project aims to offer a solution using a research-through-design approach: assisting people in remembering through a selection of appropriate digital media cues and facilitating forgetting irrelevant experiences. This project will investigateĀ remembering and forgetting (both results of the same process), the effects of physical and digital media on memories in everyday lifeĀ and the creation and curation of these media. This knowledge will be used to design, implement and evaluate interactive systems that will facilitate remembering and forgetting.

Two of our design goals include a media recorder that creates less media but with appropriate cue types to improve selected remembering experiences, and a media organizer that selects the most appropriate media to keep and manages existing collections. In addition, this project will result in knowledge about supporting remembering experiences by forgetting simultaneously.


Materialising Memories is supported by STW VIDI grant number 016.128.303 of The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), awarded to prof. Elise van den Hoven. Two PhD candidates are supported by grants of the University of Technology, Sydney (UTSP scholarships and IRS waivers) and one PhD candidate is supported by a grant of the University of Dundee (EPSRC DTA). Dr. Kenning’s visit to the Netherlands (early 2015) is supported by a Design United Research Fellowship. The Materialising Memories team is spread across Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, University of Technology Sydney, in Australia and the University of Dundee in Scotland, UK.