Engaging with dementia on Rens Brankaert’s KTP visit

Between October and December last year, Rens Brankaert visited UTS as a Key Technology Partner Visiting Fellow. In his work as an associate professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, Rens focuses on inclusive human-centred design, interaction design and multi-stakeholder innovation. During his visit to Sydney, the focus was on his work to improve the quality of life for those with dementia and the people in their vicinity. The aim is to design user-friendly products for people with dementia that help them live their daily lives and improve wellbeing and/or increase their autonomy.

In a recent interview with UTS’ Annabel Jeffrey and Alex McAlpin, both Rens and Gail Kenning (who invited Rens to UTS) acknowledge that a very people-centred design process in this area brings unique challenges. As Gail said: “A lot of the work we do is not just changing the system to improve quality of life, it’s figuring out how to engage the people in the design process itself. That ensures the systems we devise work for people in all respects.” Establishing a relationship is key to ensure a successful process, which Rens acknowledged in the interview: “It’s easy when someone’s able to communicate on the same level, but to have a balanced research relationship with someone with dementia, that’s challenging.”

Rens’ visit to UTS enabled him and Gail to continue their conversations and develop further research plans and build on earlier visits by Gail to Eindhoven University. The partnership between the universities helps both researchers to play a stronger role in the research on participatory design processes involving those affecting by dementia. While Rens has returned to Eindhoven since the interview was conducted, the research collaboration will continue. Both believe that the developing perspectives across Europe and Australia reinforce each other and stand to benefit an ever-broader group of people.

Read the full interview with Rens and Gail on the UTS website.

Daniel Herron wins a UTS HDR Commendation award

Last week, Daniel Herron was awarded a 2018 UTS HDR Directors Commendation. The Faculty’s Higher Degree Research director decided to award the Commendation to Daniel for his work on how to deal with broken relationships and their digital remains. With this award, Daniel wins an official certificate recognising the achievement and a modest cash prize.

The faculty uses the award to recognise work that illustrates the breadth and depth of its doctoral candidates, and it hopes to encourage candidates to look at how their work makes a contribution to their field and society. Daniel made various efforts to promote and communicate his work in the media, including radio interviews and an article in The Conversation. He also undertook a collaboration with the Museum of Broken Relationships to stage an exhibition at the CHI 2018 conference earlier this year. After that, he went on to Facebook for an internship that lasted several months.

We’re very proud of Daniel being rewarded for his research achievements! Daniel himself says that ‘as a Joint-PhD student, it means a lot that FEIT are as excited about my research as I am! Thank you to FEIT and UTS for supporting my work and recognising my contribution with this award.’

New MM magazine out now

Just in time for the Dutch Design Week, we received the prints for our Materialising Memories magazine. The glossy magazine gives readers an introduction to the Materialising Memories vision and projects. It features contributions from nearly all team members, both those have completed and those who are still going.

We hope the magazine helps to introduce the project to new connections and serve as a way to bring together the range of projects we have taken on since its start over five years ago.

The Materialising Memories magazine is now available.

If you happen to be in Eindhoven this week, get in touch with Elise, Gail, or Doménique for a copy. We’ll have copies on hand during the DDW DRIVE festival outing on Wednesday the 24th. Those in Australia can look forward to a locally printed copy within the next week or two.

A digital copy is also available for download.

Video on experiences with joint degree program

A few weeks ago, Elise and Doménique were interviewed by UTS International on their experiences with what UTS calls a collaborative doctoral degree. Here, we have always referred to the degree as a joint program between two universities, in this case, UTS and Eindhoven University of Technology. Because Doménique was the first candidate to complete the program, we were approached to reflect on our experiences as a supervisor and PhD student.

In the video, we mention some of the benefits and things to consider ahead of enrolling in the program. UTS International hopes the video inspires future students to look into the potential for them and their future (academic) careers. We are not the only ones, there are several more videos that feature experiences with other doctoral degree programs on UTS’ YouTube channel (but not yet in a dedicated playlist so you’ll have to browse a bit to find them).

Video by UTS International on our experiences with the joint degree program

DDW DRIVE event on 24 October

Late next month, Materialising Memories will take part in the ClickNL DRIVE festival held during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven.  Under the title ‘Design to Support Remembering,’ Elise, Gail, and Doménique will give the audience an overview of the MM project and illustrate why it is relevant today and in the near future.

The 1.5-hour session will outline that MM is a design-research programme that focuses on supporting people when they use their autobiographical memory in everyday life. Elise’s opening segment will explain what that means in practice, and will cover topics such as memory cuing and personal memory media. Gail follows that with an interactive session exploring a relationship between personal memories and mediated memories. Finally, Doménique will talk about the design and evaluation of Phototype, an interactive photo display that was placed in the homes of eleven paticipants last year. Phototype is an interactive demonstrator designed to support serendipitous reminiscing. His talk will also discuss how the findings relate to personal media capture and use in general.

For those keen to attend, the Design Research & Innovation Festival takes places on 24 and 25 October in the Latlab building in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Our session is scheduled in the Auditorium on the 24th at 15:00.

Making Memories Day 2018

On 22 March the Materialising Memories team (and some MM friends) left their offices to embark on their fifth Making Memories Day. Our team outing started in the afternoon in The Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney, for an Urban Hunt (interactive scavenger hunt). We split up in two teams and via an interactive Messenger chat we received questions and cryptic clues. By following these cryptic walking directions and searching for the right answers, we passed small alleys and historical places and facts in The Rocks we had never seen or known before.

After a short Ferry and Light Rail ride we arrived at our dinner place, The Tramsheds. Some more team members joined us here who were not able to attend our afternoon activity. We enjoyed our dinner in a restored Sydney tram.

 

Xenia attended ACE 2017

Written by Xenia Zürn, MM-alumnus:

From 14-16 December ACE 2017 (14th international conference on Advances in Computer Entertaiment technology) was held. The conference was held in The Shard, which is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and provided us with an amazing view over London.

The amazing view from the Shard. Can you see the Tower Bridge?

On this conference I presented my (first!) paper ‘Photo Curation Practices on Smartphones’. The paper resulted from a master course at the Eindhoven University of Technology that was also connected to Materialising Memories. It was also my first encounter with the topic photo curation that led me to Materialising Memories in Sydney, where I did my research semester as part of my masters.

Nervous but excited: On my way to London!

At the conference, I started my presentation by asking my audience to take a look at their smartphones and tell me how many photos their smartphone photo collection includes. After people were still raising their hands at more than 10,000 photos, the person with the most photos had over 16,000(!) photos on his smartphone. The smartphone is certainly a device to take into account if we talk about photo activities!

How many photos do you have on your smartphone?

In this study we conducted semi-structured interviews with 11 participants and which we asked them to talk about and to show us how they perform photo curation activities on their smartphones. From the findings we identified design opportunities that can support and improve photo curation practices on smartphones.

The topics of the presentations were really diverse. I have seen presentations about games in the broadest terms, implementations of virtual reality and augmented reality, but also things like robots presenting parts of presentations, levitating food, something that reminded me of Guitar Hero to learn how to play a Koto (Japanese instrument), concepts on how to document dance and a ‘dance DJ’ that shows a dancing audience how to move.

Koto learning support method

The organisation of the conference led us to Blackheat, a historic area of London, for the welcome reception and we had dinner in the Royal Institution building, home to the organisation devoted to scientific education and research. The atmosphere at the conference was very good and this also led me to Christmas decorated pubs to have a pint with fellow researches and exploring the British nightlife;)

Me at the conference dinner in the Royal Institution building

Well done Xenia! For the paper, see:
Zürn, X., Damen, K., Leiden, F. van, Broekhuijsen, M. and Markopoulos, P. (2017). Photo Curation Practices on Smartphones. In: Proceedings of ACE 2017: 14th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, December 14 – 16, 2017, London, UK. Springer.

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Live Talk ‘Take Care to Repair’

Last week, Materialising Memories team member Annemarie Zijlema (me) participated in the Disruptive Innovation Festival. She took part in the panel discussion ‘Take Care to Repair’ with moderator Walter Stahel (founder-director of the Product-Life Institute in Geneva). The panel discussed the question how we get people to take care and repair their products, to increase the longevity of products to achieve sustainability. Annemarie talked about why some products are preserved, while others are discarded, from a memory perspective (starting at app. 24:48 minutes). The discussion was broadcasted live, and can be viewed back till 9 December 2017 via the following link:

https://www.thinkdif.co/sessions/the-plate-conference-presents-take-care-to-repair

The session was initiated by and recorded during the PLATE conference (Product Lifetimes and the Environment) at TU Delft. Annemarie presented her paper on ‘preserving objects, preserving memories’ on the role of traces on objects and repair on remembering. The proceedings are published open access on the PLATE website: http://www.plateconference.org/second-plate-conference/programme/.

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.