Category Archives: Presentations

Exploring Self-reflective Experiences through Tangible Interaction with Personal Lifelog Data

Please join us for our next talk by A./Prof. Young-Woo Park. This event is co-organised by ACM SydCHI, the Materialising Memories Research Program, and the UTS Visualisation Institute.

Thursday, 26 May 2022, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM. You can register your interest to attend via the Eventbrite page to receive the meeting link.


People create and consume digital possessions such as photographs, digital music, videos, posts, texts, and documents through smart devices in their daily lives. This behavior has caused an increase in the types and amount of individuals’ accumulated data over time, and storing everything “just in case” has made it difficult for people to organize and retrieve the data. Although cloud services and AI make the revisiting experience easy to navigate for particular themes, digital possessions’ intangible and indiscriminate nature still affects the limited experiences revisiting individuals’ past data. Our research team has investigated ways to provide new designs and interactions using data-driven technologies for meaningful everyday activities, which link to enriching self-reflective experiences. At this point, we utilized everyday objects to show and provide tangible interaction with personal lifelog data to support new experiences in daily life. This seminar will introduce examples of how people perceive and interact with personal lifelog data (e.g., photos, music listening history, schedules, and reading activity) through everyday artifacts in homes.

About A./Prof. Young-Woo Park

I am an Associate Professor of Design at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea and leading Interactive Product Design Lab. As an interaction design researcher, I was Program Chair of ACM TEI’22 and Papers Program Committee for ACM CHI’19 & ’20, DIS’18 & ’20~’22, along with South Korea’s HCI and Design community. My research highlights the significance of ‘physical richness’ during interaction with technologies by utilizing personal data as a material for designing interactive artifacts enabling tangible exploration of digital archives in everyday lives.

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.

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.



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:

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:

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.

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


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.

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.

CHI 2015 paper video preview

Ahead of the 2015 CHI conference in Seoul, Korea (coming up later this month), I made a short video preview to go along with a 10 page paper titled ‘Things That Make Us Reminisce: Everyday Memory Cues as Opportunities for Interaction Design.’ It’s only 30 seconds and can be seen below.

Behind the scenes

It takes a surprisingly long time to make a short video like this. It took me about a full working day, including the editing, adding overlays, and exporting the final result. So here’s a bit on the making of, including tens of cast members, hundreds of extras, and a couple of undisciplined dragons.

Just kidding.

First up, the setting. I wanted a home-like environment for the video, with enough light to get a good image, plus an environment that would be quiet enough to get a decent audio recording. Eventually I settled on using my own studio apartment as I would have everything on hand there. The clear downside is of course having to use my bed and empty wall as the enigmatic backdrop for my narration. Rather than doing just a voice over I decided to show myself, tell why the paper is relevant, and show a bit of our method. As such, the video is more of a teaser from an information point of view.

I faced a few challenges in getting my video recorded. With only myself on deck (all the others ended up hunting loose dragons), how to hold my camera phone steady? I have another still camera that mounts to my tripod, so I opted to tie my phone to the bigger camera with elastic cord. A voice recorder was placed on my office chair just outside camera view, with a notepad acting as my cue sheet. I couldn’t actually read my script this way, so it took quite a few takes to get it right (I would make a bad actor). The desire to wear decent clothes while the room temperature reflected the heat and humidity of an Australian Summer didn’t help things either. I had to take a few breaks to cool down, and yes, it does explain my expression during the first second or two.

Camera with phone strapped on
I felt sad for the old camera, as it was merely used as a surface for my phone to be strapped onto. With some elastic rope.

The method section was filmed in our MM lab,  with the diaries and other snippets and pieces from the analysis spread out along a table. I stood behind the camera, did the diary browsing, and then panned the camera to get the other items recorded. Later, in editing the footage was sped up. The rest of the footage was cut to fit only the most important bits within the limit of thirty seconds. Finally, I added the text overlays and a blur and vignetting effect to move the focus away from the somewhat lacklustre setting.

Looking back, there are a few things I’d like to improve about my little video. The location isn’t great, and I feel I could get more information into the thirty seconds. Perhaps I could have shot a couple of things that made people reminisce for an introduction, and only briefly show how we got there with our diaries. It seems I need to get another paper accepted to put these ideas to the test!

The actual paper presentation will be during a session titled ‘Digital Collections, Practice & Legacy’ on Thursday, 23 April, starting at 9:30 in Room E1/E2. If you happen to be at CHI 2015, come and have a look.

First RR meeting in MM Lab

Snapshot from the back of the room towards presenter.
Snapshot from the back of the room towards Jan Zekveld, our first presenter.

This Wednesday we kicked off our semi-regular Reúnion de Recherche meetings in the MM lab. Jan Zekveld, a visiting student from Eindhoven University, gave an introduction to his work before an audience of eleven. He will stay in Sydney until June to work on his final Master project, which concerns the design of a peripheral reminder in an office environment. With several new members starting and some visitors present, our lab was quite a busy place. These meetings are intended to bring together the team and others to foster discussion and awareness of each other’s interests and progress.