The Materialising Memories research programme comprises several projects, all related to design for remembering. This page shows both ongoing and completed projects.
New & upcoming
We are always keen to hear about new ideas for projects and collaboration. If you have an idea that you’d like to discuss, feel free to get in touch.
Remembering to forget (NWO VIDI, 2012–2018)
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.
‘Remembering to forget’ 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 investigate remembering and forgetting (both results of the same process), the effects of physical and digital media on memories in everyday life 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.
This project is supported by a STW VIDI grant number 016.128.303 of The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), awarded to Elise van den Hoven. It has also led to a joint degree program for the postgraduate candidates involved. Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Technology Sydney are both involved through their Key Technology Partnership.
Title (PhD, Ine Mols) – Brief description to follow.
Title (PhD, Mendel Broekhuijsen) – Brief description to follow.
As an extension of the VIDI project, UTS has supported us with two scholarships for PhD projects related to the theme.
Materialising Digital Memory Cues (PhD, Doménique van Gennip) – One of the key questions concerning our personal digital media is how these could and should be appropriated. After all, there is little value in keeping files we’ll never consider again. So what is the alternative? In what way may interactive technology tap into our personal media and bring these into everyday situations? This thesis marries investigations on the (desired) experience of remembering with the exploration of potential design concepts.
Cuing autobiographical memories by external memory cues in the personal environment (PhD, Annemarie Zijlema) – In the last few decades, the interest in design for remembering has increased, with many new designs facilitating the use of cue media. Little is known about the process of cuing autobiographical memories, and how the item-memory relation evolves to allow cuing. This PhD aims to provide insight into the aspects that influence the evolvement of the item-memory relation, for digital as well as physical items, and the process of cuing using qualitative research methods. The focus of the PhD is on the relation between the external memory cue and retrospective remembering. What is cuing and how does this relation between memories and items evolve? Topics that this PhD covers are the cuability of cue-items, how cues evolve over time and the cuing responses (regarding remembering) these items can evoke. This research follows a ‘research for design’ approach.
Partnership Dundee & UTS
UTS and University of Dundee offer a joint degree program for postgraduate candidates. Through this partnership, one student is currently working as part of the Living Digital and MM programmes.
Digital Separations (PhD, Daniel Herron) – With an increasing number of people using technology and social media to document their life events, individuals can struggle to come to terms with important life transitions, such as a relationship ending, with respect to their digital possessions. This research focuses on how individuals interact with digital memory cues before and after the end of a relationship, and how this type of life transition affects an individual’s online representation of self.
Cherished Objects with Human Traces (Postdoc, Wenn-Chieh (Joe) Tsai) – Our interactions with objects leave not only traces of use on the objects but also memories in our minds. These human traces are potential memory cues that can trigger our autobiographical memories. The first aim of this project is to investigate the relation between traces, objects, and related remembering experiences. The second is to generate what might be a suitable intervention that can enrich our remembering experience with cherished objects with human traces. (Please see Ongoing Studies for more information!)
Cues and Cultural Influences on Childhood memories (Visiting Fellow, Xiaomei He) – For most adults, childhood seems to be the happiest time in life. Things they experienced in childhood carried their emotion to the past life. These activities based on memories, and by extension the elements in the environment that evoke such memories, make us feel well and balance emotional needs. This study investigates what can bring childhood memories to mind, how the culture the Chinese-born Australians experienced in Australia influences their childhood memories , and how these cues could relate to their emotions and provide insight into emotional design.
Title (PhD, Laura Ramos) – Brief description to follow.
Designing Cherished Hybrid Objects (PhD, Daniel Orth) – We each possess certain objects that are dear to us for a variety of reasons. They can be sentimental to us, bring us delight through their use or empower us. Throughout our lives, we use these cherished possessions to reaffirm who we are, who we were and who we wish to become. Objects containing digital components play an increasingly central role in our everyday lives, however, their ability to form emotional bonds with users is lacklustre. This research explores the design of objects that develop emotional significance and the differences that exist between the physical and digital medium of objects.
Designing Interactive Personal Jewellery (PhD, Maarten Versteeg) – In recent years electronics have become small enough to be worn directly on the human body integrated in clothing and accessory. The continuous availability of technology that close to the human body opens new opportunities in terms of functionality and interaction, yet also raises ethical questions. Many of the wearables that are currently on the market are technology-driven and focus on (new) practical functions. This research starts from a jewellery perspective and aims to explore how social cultural values and meanings that we are used to in traditional jewellery (of which memories are an important part) can serve as an inspiration for the development of more valuable wearables. As a case-study this research focuses on the relation between digital jewellery and well-being in female older adulthood.
Title (MSc, Jan Zekveld, 2015) – In his final Masters year at TU/e Industrial Design, Jan developed a device that enabled peripheral awareness of prospective memory. Taking cues from tangible interaction paradigms and peripheral awareness, the project worked towards a tool to help people remember future goals without the usual disturbing notifications. The final concept, a cone-shaped tabletop device, aimed to inform through its rolling movements. Jan spent several months with the MM team to carry out the research phases of his graduation project.