Category Archives: Publications

Fridge magnets and remembering

Our Materialising Memories alumnus Dr. Annemarie Zijlema was recently interviewed by the UK newspaper The Guardian about (some of) her PhD research. You can find out more in the second half of this lovely article on Fridge magnets, which can be impactful tangible memory cues:

For anyone keen to learn more about Annemarie’s research, take a look at her PhD thesis and publications on our Publications page:

Two (PhD and/or Postdoc) positions on Muscle Memory and Interaction Design

The Exertion Games Lab ( in Melbourne (directed by Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller) and the Materialising Memories research program ( in Sydney (directed by Prof. Elise van den Hoven), are seeking exceptional PhD and Post-Doc candidates to research the design of interactive muscle or motor memory systems.

We are looking for two candidates who value an interdisciplinary design studio environment. You will be highly motivated, willing to learn a variety of skills, extremely creative as well as technical, and also have highly developed analytical and communicative skills. Prior research experience (publications, etc.) is desirable and so are people-centered design skills, hardware prototyping abilities (Arduino, etc.) and/or programming skills. We are looking at potential for creativity, excellence, drive and people who are a pleasure to have on the team.

The focus of the research will be to understand the design of interactive muscle memory (motor memory) systems: The candidates will study how people use muscle memory in everyday life, will prototype interactive muscle memory systems and study their use in order to understand what designers can learn from remembering activities that involve the active human body in regard to designing interactive systems. This project will utilize the Exertion Games Lab’s Qualisys motion capture system and the electronic muscle stimulation system (amongst others). The candidates will engage with prototyping equipment to invent a series of future muscle memory experiences and study the associated user experiences.

See also our CHI2020 workshop:

Entry requirements for PhD candidates:
You will need to have a four-year degree that includes a thesis or a three-year Bachelor and a Master’s degree by research, for exact details see the link below. Typical backgrounds are interaction design, human-computer interaction, game design, computer science, industrial design, electrical engineering, human movement, sports science, performing and media arts but we are curious to hear what you can contribute. All nationalities are encouraged to apply.

All PhD positions are full-time, 3 years, available to all nationalities, onsite, and by thesis, i.e. conclude with a thesis in the field of interaction design/HCI supervised by Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller and Elise van den Hoven. Scholarships are available according to the standard Australian Postgraduate Award rate of approx. AUD 28,000 per year.

Post-Doc openings:
The Post-Docs (Research Fellows) positions are for 3 years and are paid on Academic Level B ($AU 97,203 – $115,429 pa, plus 17% employer superannuation).

First, applicants will apply with an expression of interest to the email below. After the internal interview with the Exertion Games Lab and Materialising Memories program, the candidate will need to apply to the general university admissions office. This two-step process ensures that we are able to endorse your application.


The Exertion Games Lab researches the future of interfaces for playful experiences. Our research is focused on the merging of play, technology and the active human
body, drawing from research streams such as interaction design, human-
computer interaction and computer games research. We publish mostly at CHI, CHI PLAY, DIS, TEI, Ubicomp (IMWUT), and UIST.
The culture in the Exertion Games Lab is one of interdisciplinary work. At the Exertion Games Lab, we do not just philosophize and write about the future, we actively invent it. We emphasize the development of working prototypes in order to fully understand what play is, why we play, and how we will play in the future. We do this because we believe playing is a fundamental part of what makes us humans who we are, and an understanding of this brings us closer to our vision of a better world filled with interactive technologies that support human values.

The Exertion Games Lab also hosts weekly presentation, writing and reading group activities to support the candidate. We are also offering a large space to research and design in an open plan lab environment.

You might find it useful to read about the lab’s vision: Mueller, F., Byrne, R., Andres, J., Patibanda, R. Experiencing the Body as Play. Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (CHI 2018). ACM. Talk video. Best Paper Award (top 1%).

The Computer-Human Interaction and Creativity (CHIC) group at Monash (which was in the top 20 institutions at CHI’19, with a similar result to be expected at CHI’20 with 21 conditionally accepted papers):

The Materialising Memories research program ( uses design research to study and support people in their everyday remembering practices. We investigate remembering and forgetting, the effects of physical objects, the body and digital media on memories in everyday life and the creation and curation of these objects and media. Our insights are used to design and evaluate innovative objects and interactive products that facilitate remembering and forgetting in everyday life, during and after major life events, for those with healthy memories and for those with memory challenges.
Materialising Memories is a multidisciplinary team distributed between University of Technology Sydney, Australia, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands and University of Dundee, UK.

This paper introduces the Materialising Memories research program: Hoven, E. van den (2014). A future-proof past: Designing for remembering experiences. Memory Studies, vol. 7, issue 3, July 2014, pp. 373-387.


PhD entry requirements:
PhD information:

Please submit your expression of interest, including CV and portfolio website if available by email to “info at exertiongameslab dot org” and “elise dot vandenhoven at uts dot edu dot au”, with subject line “Application: Muscle Memory”.

Please also check our websites for additional information regarding the openings.

Looking forward to reading your applications!

The Exertion Games Lab & The Materialising Memories research program &

Managing relationships post-breakup

As most people know, breaking up with someone isn’t easy. Apart from having to break the news (a text message won’t do!), perhaps settling for a divorce, and the physical division of shared possessions, there is the longer and harder process of disentangling your shared lives. Part of that life plays out online, with shared friends, shared photo collections, shared accounts, and other things that aren’t so easy to divide. Once separated, you may not want your Netflix account to continue to suggest reruns of Frasier, your ex’s favourite indulgence…

Two years ago, our PhD student Daniel Herron spoke with local radio 2SER about this issue on a show titled ‘How to break up online.’ Recently, in an online interview with Prof Wendy Moncur by the Australian Body+Soul website, she gives some advice for those currently experiencing the effects of having to digitally separate:

  • Try not to keep up with your ex online. A little distance will help the process of getting over the relationship that once was.
  • Prevent them from keeping up with you as well. Tracking apps, shared accounts, etc., may still give the other party a way to keep track of you. So reduce access and change passwords where possible. It may not help either of you to keep tabs on the other and may lead to future arguments. This includes limiting visibility on online profiles, including social media like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Prevent reminders of the past to pop up at unwanted times. For example, spend a little time with the Facebook ‘On this day’ feature to disable some reminders of your past relationship.
  • Finally, when posting about the breakup or the immediate period after, consider how it comes across and whether you need to announce some of the more painful parts of the breakup.

Have a look at the full article for more in-depth coverage of Wendy’s advice to those going through the process of ending a relationship and forging a new life without the no-longer-so-significant other.

If you already managed a breakup succesfully but you still have some things left to give away, make sure you check out The Museum of Broken Relationship’s visit to Melbourne in September this year!

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.

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:

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.

Daniel Herron interviewed for UTS Newsroom

Daniel & WendyAfter a breakup, what happens to shared possessions is often a prickly issue. Even if one person clearly owns something or has access to it, such as copies of digital photos, those possessions still carry the legacy of the other now gone. What happens to those traces of a digital life spent together after people break up? Could the technology that supports the generation and collection of those photos, messages, and other media also support the process of two people going their separate ways? Those are in essence the questions in the thesis of Daniel Herron, who was recently interviewed by UTS Newsroom. The article, available online, focused on his position as a joint degree student supervised by Wendy Moncur in Dundee and Elise van den Hoven at UTS in Sydney.

UTS and Dundee begin joint degree program

Recently, the Materialising Memories team at UTS in Sydney welcomed several new members. Among them is Daniel Herron who’s the first joint doctoral degree candidate between UTS and Dundee University. Normally residing in Scotland, he is supervised by Wendy Moncur and Elise van den Hoven. UTS International put a short article online to mark the start of this new program and reflect on Wendy’s visit to our lab half a year ago. It also hints at new collaborative projects in the pipeline titled “Diaspora” and “Designing Hybrid Keepsakes,” as well as liaisons with other academics within UTS and Dundee.

Daniel has just finished his five week visit to UTS and might give us a blog post about that soon. If not, he’s bound to return to Sydney some time in the future.