my experience | in brief

I have 14 years experience in post-doctoral research working as an ethnographer informing the design of new technologies. I take my ethnographic touchstones from both anthropology and sociology.  My original background is in psychology: my PhD (at the University of Strathclyde) focused on the social psychology of a then little-known technology, electronic mail, as well as video conferencing and audio conferencing systems.. 

My first post-doc position, at Oxford University Computing Lab, was where I developed my interest in qualitative approaches, and developed my skills as an ethnographer through a number of significant ethnographic studies. Since then I have continued to use ethnographic methods to inform the design of new technologies, critique prototypes and scenarios for new technologies, and as a tool to inspire and challenge innovation. 

Among other things I've worked with video conferencing prototypes, early work on sociality and the web, mobile and locative technology, looked at the promise of ubiquitous computing, undertaken studies of online photographic image sites, researched innovative approaches to travel, and how plants and humans might interact. In 2005 I was invited to curate the Matchmaking festival of electronic arts and culture. This grew out of my interest in multi- and post-disciplinary work, and artistic practice as a way of exploring and critiquing the design of new technology.

I have also helped steer two big EU funded Networks of Excellence. i3, the network for Intelligent Interfaces and the Disappearing Computer network, and been actve in some of the early activities of interaction design teaching.

Since 2006 I have been working as a consultant researcher. I am also on the board of directors of a Glasgow-based environmental not-for-profit company. 

Collaboration is a key part of my work and I’ve collaborated with people from organisations as diverse as Xerox, BT, Philips, the Royal College of Art, Oxford University, the Eden Project, Dunne and Raby, Philips Design, Napier University, Nokia, Lost Boys, Bang and Olafsen, University of Jyväskylä, Swedish Institute of Computer Science and MIT. 

teaching | design

I've also taught and led ateliers in the relatively new field of Interaction Design. I was invited to both i3 and Convivio summerschools in Interaction desigh both as a lecturer and atelier leader. Two ateliers, the Intimate City and then Invisible Cities explored in different ways how we might sensitively add a technological dimension to the cities around us. Both went beyond the standard approaches and produced quizzical and offbeat interventions first in public spaces, and the second in the relationships between tourism and the local population. While these interventions could seem humorous and playful, they nevertheless had a serious purpose - to take agency back from technology and explore ways to recreate human agency and build connections between people and their surroundings rather than people and technology.


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