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.
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.
Wendy Moncur, Siân 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.
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.
Microsoft PhD Scholarships https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/academic-program/phd-scholarship-europe-middle-east-africa/
Professor Wendy Moncur http://www.dundee.ac.uk/djcad/staff/wendymoncur/
Professor Elise van den Hoven http://www.uts.edu.au/staff/elise.vandenhoven
Dr Siân Lindley https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/people/sianl/
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 – email@example.com
Informal enquiries can be directed to Dr Wendy Moncur – firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Possessions: http://hxd.research.microsoft.com/work/digital-possessions.php
Living Digital: http://livingdigital.ac.uk/
Materialising Memories: http://www.materialisingmemories.com/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recently, the new home for our Sydney members, the Faculty of Engineering and IT, sat down for an interview with the newly appointed Professor Elise van den Hoven. The following interview was done by Jen Waters of Origami Communications, with photographs by Images for Business. We received permission to publish a copy of the interview, first published internally within FEIT in late March.
Elise van den Hoven draws on a range of disciplines when working to improve people’s everyday lives through enhanced recollection of memories.
“My research sits between three fields: design, psychology and computer science,” she explains. “It is about people-centred design and human- computer interaction (HCI), and how we can use or appropriate technology to meet people’s needs, and make their lives better and easier.”
Elise leads the international research program Materialising Memories, which takes a design-led research approach to studying people’s everyday remembering activities and experiences. A key focus of the project is around voluntary and involuntary memory cues, how people are affected by them, and whether they can be purposely created; for example, looking at how people use media, such as photographs, in everyday remembering situations. The aim is to inform and create innovative, interactive media products that help people with both remembering and forgetting.
The impacts of her work are broad, from everyday remembering activities to helping people with conditions such as dementia. “Remembering has different types of functions; for instance, people use sharing memories to build amazing relationships, so there’s a social function. You can also use it to solve problems through recalling how you solved similar issues in the past, or to form opinions about things. People use it all day, every day – but we’re usually not aware of it.”
The project is partially funded by a five-year personal fellowship, awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to give talented researchers the opportunity to develop their own line of research and build a research group. Comparable to an ARC Fellowship, her grant is valued at around AU$1 million over five years, and receiving it was quite a coup.
“For researchers to get funding from a design background is rare, to say the least,” she explains. “I was the second person from a design faculty to get such a grant in the history of The Netherlands. As a personal fellowship, it gave me the confidence that I was doing something right.”
Elise’s initial tertiary studies were in biology, specialising in neuroethology – the science and neurology of behaviour. A designer at heart, she found her place at the nexus of science and creativity, undertaking a post-master in technological design, and then a doctorate, at the Eindhoven University of Technology. It was here that Materialising Memories was born.
She spent ten years as an Assistant Professor in Eindhoven’s Department of Industrial Design, during which time she was a visiting scientist in Atlanta’s GeorgiaTech, the University of Sheffield in England, and the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building (DAB) at UTS. When the opportunity arose for both Elise and her partner to relocate abroad, they moved to Sydney, and she took up a role as Associate Professor in UTS:DAB.
With human-computer interaction as the foundation of her work, FEIT seemed a natural fit for further developing her research and teaching in the field, and she commenced as a full professor in the School of Software on 1 January this year. Her work is interdisciplinary and collaborative, and Elise hopes to build partnerships with the many FEIT researchers working across HCI and interaction design. She is also keen to explore the potential of the UTS Data Arena in facilitating tangible interaction with her research.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities here. I’m always open to collaboration, and would welcome people to contact me if they’re interested in exploring collaborative opportunities, in particular in relation to the Materialising Memories research program.”
A few fast facts about Elise
Elise grew up in The Netherlands in a village called Best, about 10 kilometres from Eindhoven. With Eindhoven as her base, she has been lucky enough to live in a few different places through her research: the Caribbean, while researching her graduation project for her undergraduate biology degree, and sabbatical periods in the United States, England and Australia. She moved to Australia in 2012, settling in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont.
Reading is a favourite pastime, along with meeting up with friends and getting out in nature. She loves hiking – long-distance walking in particular – and enjoys playing games, both board and computer. Elise has a fondness for travel, especially to islands; she has just returned from Sumatra.
Elise had a range of unusual jobs during high school. She fondly recalls her after-school job delivering mail for the local notary, and the challenge of racing on her bicycle and planning the best routes to deliver all the mail personally in the half-hour allotment. She also spent two weeks working in a meat factory in her village and says she saw some things she would prefer never to share. Consequently, she no longer eats meat.
Over the past week, most of us moved over to our new offices in the ‘cheese grater’ building of the Faculty of Engineering and IT. While staff and visiting fellows found a home among other staff offices on level 7, the postgraduate students moved to desks in the Interaction Design and Human Practice Lab on level 6 (room 406). There, we are obviously close to the IDHuP group whose lab we co-occupy now, as well as the Creativity and Cognition Studios, our nearest neighbours.
Of course, the contact information on this website is already up-to-date in case you’d like to call or drop in.
Materialising Memories group
Faculty of Engineering and IT
University of Technology Sydney
Building 11, Level 7, Room 217
81-115 Broadway (postal address: PO Box 123)
Broadway NSW 2007