Presentation at Art Gallery New South Wales by Gail Kenning

Arts engagement to promote liveable communities

Materialising Memories members Gail Kenning and Annemarie Zijlema are currently engaged in another phase of research in relation arts engagement for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. As part of Dementia Awareness month Danielle Gullotta, Art Gallery of NSW, and Dr Gail Kenning, University of Technology Sydney will talk about some early findings of this project, which has been supported by Department of Family and Community Services, NSW.the project

The Art Gallery of NSW has been offering art access programs, particularly for people living with dementia and their carers, since 2009. An independent evaluation of the program in 2016 showed the importance of arts engagement for providing normalcy and social scaffolding to enable individuals to engage with artworks in a supported environment. The Gallery is now working with researchers at the University of Technology Sydney to explore how arts engagement within the Gallery can be extended to develop artmaking practices, and how these important programs can be extended to reach further into the community to allow more people to benefit from arts engagement.

https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/calendar/dementia-awareness-month-presentation/

Candidature Assessment Stage 3 presentation

On Tuesday 6 June 2017 I (Annemarie) will present my thesis for the Stage 3 Candidature Assessment in the Faculty of Engineering and IT. The presentation is public, and you are welcome to join. The details of the event are as follows:

• Date: Tuesday 6 June 2017
• Time: 10.30AM to 11:30AM (presentation till 11AM, questions till 11.30AM)
• Venue: CCS studio, CB.11.06.402 (UTS FEIT)
 
Degree: Joint PhD UTS and TU/e (Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands)

Supervised by: Professor Dr Elise van den Hoven MTD (UTS and TU/e), and Professor Dr Ir Berry Eggen (TU/e and Adj Prof UTS)

Panel Chair:
Dr Sam Ferguson (UTS)
Assessor 1: Professor Dr Ir Kees Dorst (UTS)
Assessor 2: Professor Dr Amanda Barnier (Macquarie University)

Thesis Title: 
Cuing autobiographical memories by external memory cues in the personal environment

ABSTRACT:

The encounter with personal possessions in everyday life, such as souvenirs, jewellery, or digital photos, can bring the past back to mind. Sometimes cuing a quick and fleeting memory, other times it brings back vivid and emotional responses. The research presented in this Candidature Assessment investigated the item-memories relation. Through three qualitative studies, this PhD research has provided insights into the aspects that influence the item-memory relation and the process of cuing memories by personal possessions (external memory cues), for physical as well as digital items. We found that possessions can cue different types of cuing responses. We discovered that different uses of objects influence their potential to cue memories, and also tensions in the relationship with objects affected their cuing. A longitudinal study revealed several reasons why the memory responses cued by personal items changed over time. Further, based on interviews with repair professionals and object owners, we gained insights on the role of objects’ traces and ageing on cuing memories. At the end of this presentation, we will reflect on and discuss how the gained knowledge can facilitate design for remembering with design considerations for designers and HCI practitioners.

Geke Ludden visiting UTS

Starting three weeks ago, Geke Ludden, assistant professor in Interaction Design at the University of Technology Twente, spends her sabbatical with the Materialising Memories team. She will stay and collaborate for two months in Australia as part of her home university’s personal development initiative. This initiative enables academic staff to clear their educational schedule for awhile to take up research-related activities elsewhere. In Geke’s case, her choice was to move from Enschede to Sydney for several months to build relations and expand her research network. This meant that her family had to come along as well, with her children attending a local school. The UT Nieuws magazine has covered her motivations and the organisational matters in more detail in a recent online publication.

Geke Ludden during her talk at the CCS space on 11 October 2016.
Geke Ludden during her talk at the CCS space on 11 October 2016.

For those of you keen to learn more about Geke’s work, check out her website. She gave a well-attended talk at UTS three weeks ago at the Creativity and Cognition Studios on her work. Last week, she was an invited speaker at a Design @ Dusk special CHISIG event at the University of Sydney. When not presenting Geke works in the visitors’ office available to the Materialising Memories team. With the attendance of OzCHI’16 in December comes an end to her visit.

PhD position available in Human-Computer Interaction, Product Design, Interaction Design: “Meaningful Metadata: The things I wish I knew”

Wendy MoncurSiân Lindley and myself (Elise Van Den Hoven) are looking for a great PhD student to work for us on a Microsoft-funded PhD, starting early 2017. Application deadline is 14 November 2016, please spread the word.

You will find the full ad and how to apply here on FindAPhD.com.

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD scholarship at the University of Dundee, within Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, supported by a prestigious Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship, and in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney.
You will have a background in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Product Design, Interaction Design, or a related area. You will join a growing interdisciplinary research group with backgrounds in HCI, Computing, Design, Psychology and the Arts, with a strong international research track record. You will be supervised by: Dr Wendy Moncur, University of Dundee; Professor Elise van den Hoven, University of Technology Sydney, Australia; and Dr Siân Lindley of Microsoft Research UK.Project:
You will focus on the diverse digital materials that are generated around a significant life transition across four strands – ‘personal’, ’social’, ‘organisational’, and ‘environmental’/ Internet of Things (IoT). These digital materials are usually scattered across multiple physical storage sites (e.g. laptop, cloud storage, mobile phone, server) and multiple sets of files. (Example: A life transition of emigration to a new country may generate digital materials that include electronic flight tickets, posts to friends on social media, and communications with government departments.)You will explore how these digital materials and their associated metadata can be exploited in novel ways, both for functional purposes creating long-term utility, and to create new experiences that enable creative, evocative, and contextual uses of personal data – for example, by developing rich personal narratives from the data.As a Microsoft Scholar:
You will be invited to Microsoft Research in Cambridge during the course of your PhD, for a PhD Summer School that includes a series of talks of academic interest and poster sessions, which provides the Scholars the opportunity to present their work to Microsoft researchers and a number of Cambridge academics.You should have a first class degree or good 2:1 and/or a Masters or equivalent experience in Human-Computer Interaction, Product Design, Interaction Design or a related area. Good spoken and written English is essential. The ability to employ a range of fieldwork techniques to inform the design of novel interfaces is desired. The ability to develop functional digital prototypes is essential.
Following interview, you will also need to apply and meet the University of Dundee’s entry requirements for PhD study.

The award is open to all nationalities, although funding for fees will only be paid at the rate charged to UK/ EU nationals. You will be required to meet the University of Dundee’s English Language requirements and will be asked to provide a copy of the certificate.
There is a stipend of £14,296 per annum for 36 months (full time), increasing annually in line with RCUK guidance (http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/skills/training/). In addition, you will receive a fixed hardware allowance and conference allowance.

Some of the Scholars may also be offered—at the sole discretion of Microsoft Research—an internship in one of the Microsoft Research laboratories. Internships involve working on a project alongside and as part of a team of Microsoft researchers. Scholars are paid during their internship—in addition to their scholarship bursary. Interested Scholars can apply through the Microsoft Research careers page.

Funding Notes

Applicants should submit a CV and a two-page statement describing their interest in pursuing a PhD and their experience as it relates to the topic in the first instance to Fiona Fyffe-Lawson, Administrator for Research, DJCAD – 
Informal enquiries can be directed to Dr Wendy Moncur – 

References

Relevant research:
Digital Possessions: http://hxd.research.microsoft.com/work/digital-possessions.php
Living Digital: http://livingdigital.ac.uk/
Materialising Memories: http://www.materialisingmemories.com/

Attending ECCE’16

Last month yours truly returned from a trip that took me to Nottingham and back again. Along the way I spent considerable time aboard aircraft and managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing tour of London. The latter proved it’s possible to see quite a few of the city’s landmarks on foot in an afternoon but that it’s not necessarily a good plan to carry all luggage (as my sore shoulders could attest to later).

I was there to attend the European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics and present my paper on the phenomenology of remembered experience. This concept is relevant to how people think about their past and how they would like to remember that past. For my study I interviewed 22 people and had them compare several of their own past experiences (that is, their memories) with each other. From there, I was able to categorise the ways in which they spoke about this and I also attempted to structure this visually. The intention is that this outcome will provide a base structure for future evaluation of people’s responses to remembering as probed by a prototype of an interactive system. The full paper is available online.

The conference room during a panel session. Crappy picture credit all mine.

Other topics at the conference included various approaches to human factors, effective visualisation of data, and studies into the best ways to apply augmented and virtual reality. Despite its relatively small size of about 50 participants, the conference managed to present quite a variety of topics. Another nice thing is that the single track set-up of the conference takes away the need to optimise which presentations to attend and which to ignore.

I was not the sole representative of the Materialising Memories team. David Blezinger, who visited us in Sydney in late 2014, took home the best paper award for his study on storytelling through and with objects.

At least to me, Nottingham was probably most strongly related to the stories of Robin Hood. And the area certainly doesn’t disappoint with gentle hills, green surroundings, lots of buildings that have been there for ages, and so on. The campus on which the conference was held stood in stark contrast with new, modern buildings throughout. I forgot to take a photo so I’m unable to share the visual glory with you here. Instead, I give you the house of Batman as this large manor was apparently host to some scenes in recent movies.

There was actually a stuffed bat inside this manor, in case you were wondering.

And Robin Hood? He lives on as namesake to a public transport card.

Report presented at the Art and Dementia research launch

Last Tuesday, the Art and Dementia research launch took place at the Art Gallery of NSW. At this event, the results were presented of a study that evaluated the art access program for people living with dementia at the Art Gallery of NSW. The study was conducted by Materialising Memories member dr. Gail Kenning (together with Annemarie Zijlema as a research assistant), who observed and analysed four sessions at the Gallery, and besides that interviewed and surveyed the attendees, professional care staff and volunteers, family members, and the program facilitators of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The following video provides an impression of the access program:

Associate professor dr. Roger Dunston (also a member of Materialising Memories) presented the findings, as deputy for dr. Gail Kenning, who is currently overseas. The report can be downloaded here.

Accepted workshops open for submissions

Recently, we had two workshop proposals accepted for NordiCHI2016 and OzCHI2016. In both cases, these workshops involve some of the MM team members along with other researchers. Submissions are now open and you are kindly invited to join us at either conference. Additional information for each workshop can be found at their respective websites, linked below.

NordiCHI 2016 Workshop: HCI and Sensitive Life Experiences

Some of the MM team, along with collaborators from Drexel University and UC Irvine, recently had a workshop accepted at NordiCHI 2016. The aim of the workshop is to identify current opportunities for, as well as barriers to, design of social computing systems that support people during sensitive life events and transitions. Workshop participants will explore themes across life experiences and consider similarities and differences, and will be asked to draw on their own personal experiences and perspectives to respond to recent discourse on how to do research in sensitive contexts, building expertise within the research community.

The deadline for submitting to the workshop is 22nd August, 2016. For more information about the workshop and the submission, please visit our workshop website.

OzCHI 2016 Workshop: Tangible Interaction and Cognition

The second workshop involving MM members combines forces with researchers of the University of Auckland, NZ. This full day event aims to explore the relationship between HCI using tangible user interfaces (TUIs) and cognition. We see exciting opportunities for tangible interaction to address some of the cognitive challenges of concern to the HCI community, in areas such as education, healthcare, games, reminiscing and reflection, and community issues. Drawing together the Australasian community, with those from further afield, we hope to strengthen research and build a local community in this exciting and rapidly developing the field. Participation is invited from researchers working in tangible user interfaces or those interested in cognition and interaction.

This workshop has been accepted for OzCHI in Tasmania in December 2016. Submitting to the workshop can be done until 30 September 2016. For more information about the workshop and the submission, please visit our workshop website.

Three talks the upcoming week

27/05 @ 5 pm – UTS Art Gallery panel

This Friday, the UTS Art Gallery hosts a panel discussion on Memory and Making, related to the ongoing exhibition of The Mnemonic Mirror. This exhibition highlights the changing role of memory and knowledge, the former once the result of applying oneself through considerable effort to learn and eventually know rather than memory as easily accessible through networked means. Among the panelists is Gail Kenning, artist, FASS Research Associate, and Materialising Memories member.

“This panel talk, featuring artists, curators and researchers, will contend with what the creation, erosion and recalibration of memory means for artistic practice today, and conversely, the usefulness of art practice as a rehabilitative methodology with positive implications for traumatic memory and amnesia.”

The panel discussion starts at 5 pm inside the Gallery space in UTS’ building 6, on level 4. Please find additional info via its Facebook event page.

Two assessments next week

On Tuesday, two others members of the MM team will do their yearly assessment. Laura Ramos (PhD, Stage 1) and Daniel Orth (MRes, Stage 1) will give a talk on their work so far. Laura will present at 2.30 pm, with Daniel to follow at 4pm. Both will do so in the FEIT building on Broadway, on level 5, room 102/104 (CB11.05.102/104).

31/05 @ 2.30 pm – Laura Ramos

Design to support memory in older persons with memory impairment

Memory is an intensely personal experience. We use technology every day to support it (e.g., post-it notes, lists, mobiles). However, the ability to remember and the ease with which we forget could change significantly with age. So, what happens when older persons forget? Can we design technology for that experience? That is the core purpose of this project: to design solutions to support older adults with memory and forgetting. This paper covers the theoretical foundations for this research project in HCI, interaction design and psychology, and outlines the research approach proposed for the project. It will rely on methods and practices familiar in interaction design (qualitative research and participatory design) to understand user needs and to develop and evaluate design solutions in partnership with users. Ethical research practices are fundamental to how the work will take place. The proposed project is taking place over five phases (Orientation, Exploration, Creation, Iteration and Synthesis). To date, there has been good progress, including a paper accepted and presented at the CHI2016 conference.

31/05 @ 4 pm – Daniel Orth

Building emotional relationships between users and hybrid objects

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. This research project explores the design of objects that develop emotional significance in the eyes of their owner. Using design-centric methodology, the research examines the link between an individual’s self-identity and their cherished possessions to better understand the role of these possessions and reasoning behind their significance. Objects partly or wholly comprised of digital components play an increasingly central role in our everyday lives; however their ability to form emotional bonds with users is inadequate when compared to physical objects. This research looks at the differences between the physical and digital medium of objects to explore the strengths of medium-specific properties in their contribution to the emotional significance of objects for users.

Award for UTS’ Keisha Jayaratne for Memory Tree

Yesterday, UTS Integrated Product Design student Keisha Jayaratne took second place in the CHI 2016 conference’s Student Research Competition. After being shortlisted based her Extended Abstract paper and poster at the conference, she presented her work on Memory Tree, a design that supports reminiscing using sound recordings. It was developed, prototyped, and tested with participants last semester as part of Keisha’s Honours programme, during which she was supervised by Elise van den Hoven. At CHI, she took second place among the undergraduate research submissions.

Memory Tree, designed by Keisha Jayaratne (UTS)
Memory Tree, designed by Keisha Jayaratne (UTS), as shown at CHI 2016.

We’re happy to see Keisha’s work on supporting remembering was well received and allowed her to present in front of quite a crowd at CHI. For those of you not at CHI, her paper is already available for download from the ACM Library.

Credit for the photo up top goes to Berry Eggen, who was in the audience. The other image was a slide by Keisha and grabbed from the CHI session webcast.