I’m Professor in Design at Northumbria University, in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK. Before then I was a lecturer in the School of Computing Science at Newcastle University, where I was based in Open Lab (and where I am still a visiting member of staff). I have a background in design, and my research these days is broadly located in the field of human-computer interaction. My research is primarily driven by an interest in investigating the design of digital technologies and studying how these are experienced, appropriated and created by people. Most of what I do takes a ‘research through design’ approach – which simply put means I work collaboratively with colleagues to study and understand contexts and specific societal issues through the design and evaluation of digital technologies. However, I also do more traditional qualitative studies of technology use as well.
While I have worked on a diverse range of projects over the years (see my projects page for an overview), much of my research has focused on the relationship between ageing, growing old and technology use. Over the last several years I have worked on projects studying financial practices in later life, the experience and use of assistive living and telecare technologies, the stigmatisation and othering of older people and people with disabilities through technology design, self-care and peer-support around chronic conditions and care and communicative practices surrounding dementia. Across these projects I have been interested in understanding how technology might support existing or new practices and relationships in later life, how it could harness and extend peoples everyday expertise, and how design can appreciate ageing as a process across the lifecourse and as growth rather than decline.
I also have an interest in participatory design, which put very simply refers to sharing the control of the design of new technologies with those who may live, work and play with them. Because of this, much of my work involves coming up with new methods and techniques for exploring issues, contexts and new ideas with and by diverse audiences. Many of my projects have therefore led to me experimenting with ways to engage individuals and groups in speculating and imagining near (or sometimes far) future situations and technology designs. I have started to detail these on the methods page of this website.