The Materialising Memories research programme comprises several projects, all related to design for remembering. This page shows both ongoing and completed projects.

We are always keen to hear about new ideas for projects and collaboration. If you have an idea that you’d like to discuss, feel free to get in touch.

Current projects

Muscle memory: the key to novel interactive memory support systems

(2020-2024, ARC Discovery Project) Floyd Mueller (Monash), Elise van den Hoven

This research investigates how the use of muscle memory as a deliberate interaction design resource can effectively support declarative memory. The project brings together memory interaction design and bodily activity design to address increasing concerns surrounding Australians’ memory. By investigating muscle memory in interaction design, the project offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance international understanding of scholarly and practical processes that complement design for declarative memory. The research creates novel memory support systems that, when analysed, offer the basis on which to generate design guidelines for organisations focused on supporting Australians’ memory in daily life.

Partnership UTS & Dundee

UTS and University of Dundee offer a joint degree program for postgraduate candidates. Through this partnership, one student is currently working as part of the Living Digital and MM programmes, supported by a grant from the University of Dundee (EPSRC DTA).

Digital Separations

(2015-2019, PhD) Daniel Herron, Wendy Moncur, Elise van den Hoven

With an increasing number of people using technology and social media to document their life events, individuals can struggle to come to terms with important life transitions, such as a relationship ending, with respect to their digital possessions. This research focuses on how individuals interact with digital memory cues before and after the end of a relationship, and how this type of life transition affects an individual’s online representation of self.

Other projects

Personal memories during a museum visit

(2017-2021, PhD) Nataliya Tarbeeva, Elise van den Hoven, Andrew Johnston

Description to follow

Designing Interactive Personal Jewellery

(2016-20XX, PhD) Maarten Versteeg, Caroline Hummels, Elise van den Hoven

In recent years electronics have become small enough to be worn directly on the human body integrated in clothing and accessory. The continuous availability of technology that close to the human body opens new opportunities in terms of functionality and interaction, yet also raises ethical questions. Many of the wearables that are currently on the market are technology-driven and focus on (new) practical functions. This research starts from a jewellery perspective and aims to explore how social-cultural values and meanings that we are used to in traditional jewellery (of which memories are an important part) can serve as an inspiration for the development of more valuable wearables. As a case study, this research focuses on the relation between digital jewellery and well-being in female older adulthood.

Designing for the Other ‘Hereafter’

(2015-2023, PhD) Laura Ramos, Elise van den Hoven, Laurie Miller

Designing to support memory for older individuals is a complex challenge. The understanding of how older adults perceive forgetting in daily life remains limited. Laura’s research involves older persons to explore what they forget, how they react, and what mechanisms they put in place to recover from and avoid forgetting. Early findings indicate that an awareness of forgetting fosters internal tensions among older adults, thereby creating opportunities for further design research, e.g., to defuse and normalise these reactions.

Completed projects

Design to Support Dementia

(2015-2019, Fellowship) Gail Kenning, Elise van den Hoven

Brief project description to follow. Gail’s visit to the Netherlands (early 2015) was supported by a Design United Research Fellowship.

Bringing Up The Past: Interaction Design for Serendipitous Reminiscing

(2013-2019, PhD & Postdoc) Doménique van Gennip, Elise van den Hoven, Panos Markopoulos

This research investigates how encountering personal photos in everyday life can stimulate reminiscing and serendipity. Prototypes of interactive systems were built to encourage this.

Remembering to Forget

(2012-2018, NWO STW VIDI) Elise van den Hoven

With increasingly ubiquitous media creation devices, such as camera phones, creation of personal media is no longer the problem, but curation and retrieval are. People gather so many photos and other media and have stopped organising them. Most media are created for mnemonic reasons and used as memory cues, e.g. remembering what someone or locations looked like by watching photos. But with media retrieval failing, human memory is not supported as intended and desired.

‘Remembering to forget’ aims to offer a solution using a research-through-design approach: assisting people in remembering through a selection of appropriate digital media cues and facilitating forgetting irrelevant experiences. This project will investigate remembering and forgetting, the effects of physical and digital media on memories in everyday life and the creation and curation of these media. This knowledge will be used to design, implement and evaluate interactive systems that will facilitate remembering and forgetting.

This project is supported by a STW VIDI grant number 016.128.303 of The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), awarded to Elise van den Hoven. It has also led to a joint degree program for the postgraduate candidates involved. Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Technology Sydney are both involved through their Key Technology Partnership.

Using Personal Media for Reflection

(2013-2019, PhD) Ine Mols, Elise van den Hoven, Berry Eggen

This research explores how people reflect in and on everyday life and how media technology can support this. The creation and use of media (visual, auditive as well as textual) can help people to reflect on past, present and future experiences. Multiple interactive prototypes have been developed and deployed to explore this notion. 

Designing Cherished Hybrid Objects

(2015-2018, PhD) Daniel Orth, Elise van den Hoven, Clementine Thurgood

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. Objects containing digital components play an increasingly central role in our everyday lives, however, their ability to form emotional bonds with users is lacklustre. This research explores the design of objects that develop emotional significance and the differences that exist between the physical and digital medium of objects.

Curation-in-Action to Support Shared Remembering

(2013-2018, PhD) Mendel Broekhuijsen, Elise van den Hoven, Panos Markopoulos

In this project a prototype of a shared photo curation system was built, the Curation Arena, which explored the concept of Curation-in-Action, where the context of photo curation is merged with the context of collocated photo sharing.

Personal Possessions as Cues for Autobiographical Remembering

(2013-2018, PhD) Annemarie Zijlema, Elise van den Hoven, Berry Eggen

This PhD aimed to provide insight into the aspects that influence the evolvement of the relation between possessions and memories, for digital as well as physical items, and the process of cuing using qualitative research methods. This research followed a ‘research for design’ approach. (click on the title above for an extended summary)

Cherished Objects with Human Traces

(2015-2017, Postdoc) Wenn-Chieh (Joe) Tsai, Elise van den Hoven

Our interactions with objects leave not only traces of use on the objects but also memories in our minds. These human traces are potential memory cues that can trigger our autobiographical memories. The first aim of this project was to investigate the relation between traces, objects, and related remembering experiences. The second was to generate what might be a suitable intervention that can enrich our remembering experience with cherished objects with human traces.

Cues and Cultural Influences on Childhood Memories

(2015-2016, Visiting Fellow) Xiaomei He, Elise van den Hoven

For most adults, childhood seems to be the happiest time in life. Activities based on memories thereof, and elements in the environment that evoke such memories, make us feel well and balance emotional needs. During a one-year Fellowship, Xiaomei investigated what childhood memories can bring to mind, how the culture of Chinese-born Australians as experienced in Australia influences their childhood memories, and how these cues could relate to their emotions and provide insight into emotional design.

Photo Curation Practices on Smartphones

(2016-2017, MSc) Xenia Zürn, Saskia Bakker, Mendel Broekhuijsen

With camera-enabled phones always at hand, people tend to build large photo collections on these devices, which in turn creates the need for curating such collections. During her Master’s research project, Xenia ran a study that compared four interaction methods (two existing ones and two newly designed ones) to facilitate on-device curation.

Peripheral Cueing of Prospective Memories

(2015, MSc) Jan Zekveld, Annemarie ZijlemaSaskia Bakker, Elise van den Hoven

Jan developed a device that enabled peripheral awareness of prospective memory. Taking cues from tangible interaction paradigms and peripheral awareness, the project worked towards a tool to help people remember future goals without the usual disturbing notifications. The final concept, a cone-shaped tabletop device, aimed to inform through its rolling movements. Jan spent several months with the MM team to carry out the research phases of his graduation project.