Say hello to the many friendly faces which make up the Digital Civics team at Open Lab.
Does technology function at the human level?
Do we know all the functions of our remote controls, microwaves, washing machine? Do we understand all the settings on our smartphones and laptops? Great if we do but as a population I do not believe this is the case. Technology could provide a huge benefit to all our communities,
During my Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering I oriented my studies towards graphics, electronics and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). During my exchange semester in Brazil, I opted for studying game design and illustration. Furthermore, I have worked on 3D modelling and printing, music production and game development.
In recent years I have worked in the humanitarian field in various NGOs in Greece as an Arabic interpreter as well as a member of a Makerspace (‘Mikri Polis’ FabLab) aimed at supporting the refugee community and marginalised groups.
I completed an MSc in Computing and IT at Northumbria University in 2017 where my dissertation examined aspects of the pedagogy of teaching programming to secondary school pupils. Prior to this I did my undergraduate studies in English Literature at the University of Kent and then spent time working in the charity sector.
I have a multidisciplinary background. I studied Economics at the Siberian Federal University before completing an MSc in International Marketing at Newcastle University. During my MSc I focused on researching the decision-making process of potential Further Education students in order to help them make an informed choice of study programme and institution.
As a bachelor student, I graduated from the Marketing School of Athens University of Economics and Business. For almost a year I went off the big cities, exploring small-scale agriculture as a volunteer. This hands-on experience on rural life and farming led me to apply for the MSc “Environment and Development of Mountainous Regions” held by the National and Technical University of Athens.
I completed my MA in Anthropology at Warsaw University. The research I conducted was designed to complement my professional work and answer the question of the role of internet and new media technologies in the political strategies of non-profit organisations. The study was comprised of two years of fieldwork, IDI’s and participant observation of communities around NGO’s and mediated through new media technologies practices of participation in political activism.
I graduated from Keele University with a BSc in Psychology with Music in 2012, for which I completed a final project that focussed on the effects of musical excerpts of differing valence and loudness on skin conductance and heart rate. My dissertation addressed the unpredictable effect of loudness when using physiological measures as indications of emotional responses to music.
I have an interest in media and film technologies and have a Bachelor’s degree in Film Production Technology from Staffordshire University. I graduated in 2009 and my final project investigated contemporary camera technology.
Recently I completed a Masters in Computer Science here at Newcastle University, where I have gained an interest in software development.
I have developed a specific interest in understanding how we can utilise placemaking and place marketing practises to change perceptions and foster a renewed sense of pride in our towns and cities. Following the completion of a master’s in Planning, I have worked at Transport for London as part of a team that developed the Future Streets Incubator programme.
Before joining Open Lab, I spent several years designing live games, escape rooms, and team building exercises utilising custom-built electronics and software. Prior to that, I studied Physics at Durham University.
I’m passionate about using technology to engage with marginalised groups, the responsible use of data, and the power of open source devices and software.
I graduated from the University of Wolverhampton in 2014 with a BA (hons) in War Studies and Politics. Following this I spent 9 months as a full time volunteer with City Year UK working with year 5 children at a primary school in Hackney.
In 2015 I spent 3 months in Palestine as a part of the DfID International Citizen Service (ICS) scheme.
I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Digital Health at Open Lab and the School of Computing at Newcastle University in the UK. Prior to this appointment I spent one year as a postdoc visiting research scholar at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) in Berkeley and I retain an association with the TZI Digital Media Lab at the University of Bremen in Germany.
I have a background in Psychology (University of Magdeburg, Germany) and specialised with a Masters in Clinical and Health Psychology at Newcastle University. My research interest lies in the field of ageing and in previous quantitative projects I have looked at social networks / social isolation and loneliness in later life with a cross-cultural emphasis comparing German and English cohort studies (ELSA,
My background is in interdisciplinary social sciences, primarily focusing on the intersection between political theory, geographies, philosophy and phenomenologies. During my BA at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, I conducted a number of studies concerning the presence of the university in a relatively small, rural town and the impacts the student population had upon the long-term resident community,
I graduated in 2017 at Newcastle University with a BSc in Computer Science. During my time in 3rd year I focused my undergraduate project in creating positive experiences using Virtual Reality for people living with dementia that resulted in prototypes that explored the importance of using personal and non-personal designed VR environments which resulted in participants to feel relaxed and experienced a form of reminiscence therapy.
I am an educational researcher within Open Lab specialising in education, games design thinking, creativity, and sex and relationship education (SRE).
Before beginning the CDT Digital Civics programme, I studied for an MSc in Technology Enhanced Learning at Durham University as well as a BA (Hons) in Education Studies (Philosophy).
Before joining the Digital Civics research initiative at Open Lab, I worked in a range of settings across social work and adult social care. Working alongside carers, older adults, disabled people and people living with dementia shaped my research interests. Valuing relational models of social care, aligned with a parallel interest in inclusive,
Before joining Open Lab I was a teacher of Music and Drama at a large secondary school in the West End of Newcastle.
Broadly, my research interests lie in education and social justice, particularly the availability of Performing Arts education and ways in which digital technology can be used to facilitate this.
I graduated from Newcastle University in 2016 with a BSc in Computer Science with Industrial Placement. During my time on placement I worked at the National Air Traffic Service as a Systems Engineer. I helped to develop scenario-based training for the internal service management framework.
This lead to my interest in the potential applications of scenario-based learning in an educational environment.
Before start my Digital Civics Research life in OpenLab, I spent a couple of years in manufacturing industry as an IT manger to develop and deliver IT solutions. My experiences and skills cover web application design, ERP software developing, business intelligence coding, automate 3D design and also a bit of embedded coding on RasberryPI and Arduino to interact with various sensors and actuators.
I completed my MSc in computer science at Newcastle University in 2017. My thesis explored the application of digital technologies in the field of speech and language therapy; I developed a mobile application with an aim of increasing the autonomy of people with aphasia in everyday reading scenarios,
I have a background in Political Science and Area Studies, with an MA in Economy, State and Society from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London and the University of Helsinki.
I worked on a crowdsourcing platform for a Finnish town with the aim of fostering a more open dialogue between citizens and the public sector.
After graduating in Law and studying International Business as a postgraduate I left the UK to explore the world. Before I left, I worked as a Volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau in my hometown for a year. My role as a Generalist Adviser was to empower people in my local community to overcome the legal and practical problems they faced.
I’m a computer science researcher with an interest in the application of information technologies in day to day life. My previous academic background was in the field of information security as well as some experience of working in industry focused on security issues in developed information systems.
I am a Professor in Public Health Nutrition at Newcastle University, and lead a research team in Public Health Nutrition Research with the Human Nutrition Research Centre, and the Public Health Improvement theme in the Institute of Health and Society. Through my work I seek to understand the complex relationships between the food environment,
Before joining Open Lab, I did my undergraduate degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I spent a couple of years designing and building educational exhibits for science museums before switching career paths and becoming a mobile developer. I spent three years in the dungeons of IT, building website,
Broadly speaking, my research interests are in human-computer interaction, social computing, and health informatics.
My main research focus is in the area of mobile health and social care technologies, and I work in collaboration with NHS Hospitals and the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University.
I have a background in Management Information System (MIS), which is similar to HCI in the way it is taking a middle ground between social studies and technology. I’ve found the difference is that while MIS is organisation oriented, HCI is more community oriented. As such, I made this little shift from MIS to HCI due to my interests in human rights and activism.
I have a background in computers and tech, with a special interest in making apps and websites.
I graduated from Newcastle University in Computing Science, doing my dissertation with App Movement. Here I created a new app template that allows anyone to collaboratively design how-to apps and publish them on the App Store,
I am from Beirut, Lebanon. I have a master’s degree in Public Health, concentrating on health promotion and community health, and an undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. The public health programme I was enrolled on was a life-changing experience as it was an eye opener to the different complex public health issues faced these days.
I specialise in new media production technologies and the opportunities arising from novel interaction technologies, collaborative interaction, mobile and situated computing.
I have a passion for exploring the possibilities for new media production tools, processes and social dynamics, particularly given the vast array of innovative interaction technologies and networking infrastructure now available.
My background is originally in philosophy, with specific interests in political philosophy, phenomenology and challenging preconceptions towards the commodification of the body in sex work. To expand my ability to apply theoretical frameworks to modern day problems, I undertook an MSc in Computer Science, completing my thesis within Open Lab.
I did an undergraduate degree in Sociology at Newcastle University, graduating in 2011. I used a Bourdieusian framework for my dissertation and focused upon the social implications of eating practices, looking specifically at vegetarianism. My research explored the notions of identity linked to vegetarianism and the forms of censure vegetarians experienced.
Colin Bone Dodds
My research interests relate to music and education. I am currently exploring the benefits of connecting music classes with local musicians through remixing activities. This has led me to develop Remix Portal, a web browser application that facilitates music remixing. It was deployed and evaluated within a school,
I am a ‘designer-researcher’ – a designer who also researches design and its application. Since 2009, I have coordinated and participated in design research projects in health and social care services, the creative economy, cultural heritage, personal media, and urban transport.
Through this work, I have developed research on the value of making in collaborative projects,
I believe that computers can do a much better job of making our lives easier.
Today we all have lives that are intertwined with the digital, but they are far too fragmented across different siloes, platforms and providers, and if computers are really to live up to their potential,
I am interested in the ways that trust relationships are established online and in how the sharing of personal experiences can be used for social good. I often work with communities that face digital citizenship challenges and so, for example, I have explored digital identity management and disclosure preferences in communities of older adults,
My work focuses on civic education and implementing student-led learning environments online. My current project is an online education platform, LearningCircle.io. On the platform, we have been running online courses with an activist focus, including Online UWC, a brand of short courses for young people on civic engagement topics including sustainable development,
My background is in Arts and Design. I am interested in the role of creativity in democracy and how HCI technology and design can support forms of social activism and innovation in the everyday politics of place-making through action-based activities. As part of my post-doc research I am currently exploring the role of technologies and design in supporting participation in the re-imagination of local parks’ services delivery and practices.
Wilbert den Hoed
I joined Newcastle University in 2014, undertaking a PhD at Open Lab as part of the MyPlace project. The main aim of the project is to examine older people’s experience of place and mobility in the city of Newcastle, while my PhD specifically looks at how different modes of travel affect the experience of ageing and mobility in urban areas.
As computers permeate more and more aspects of our lives, it becomes increasingly important that we consider those marginalised or excluded by new innovations. Especially, when we consider that digital systems have shown the potential to provide a means of self-expression and even emancipation. In embarking on a PhD program of HCI research in Digital Civics at Open Lab,
My background is in behavioural and experimental economics. I am generally interested in how people behave in strategic interactions and if confronted with very specific incentives, all with the overarching aim to better understand human social and economic behaviour.
In some of my more recent work,
Political participation and public involvement in political decision making are my main interests and over the years I have developed a great interest in the interplay between digital technologies and democracy. I have a background in political science from University of Copenhagen and during the past couple of years I have done a master in digital communication at the IT University of Copenhagen.
My research focuses on enabling citizens to take a leading role in the commissioning and design of technologies and services that support new models of participation between communities and local government. I believe in designing technologies that can be deployed and studied within a real-world context and have previously developed a number of platforms using this approach:
- App Movement: An online platform that enables citizens to commission,
My research interests include participatory design local digital democracy. Before joining Open Lab I was a Researcher Co-Investigator on Connected Seeds and Sensors, an 18 month EPSRC-funded Research in the Wild – Internet of Things (IoT) project based at Queen Mary University of London,
I have a background in Industrial Design and Digital Media Design for Education. My current research interests are in long distance relationships and parent-child relationships under Korean perspectives within HCI.
Through experience-centred design approach, I look closely at the lived experiences of Korean international students in terms of their series of tough moments,
My research is in the areas of ubiquitous computing and technologies that support health and wellbeing. I helped to establish the Open Movement platform, whose ‘AX3’ device has been widely used in movement research and population studies. This has led to recent work focussed on movement sensing with wearable computing,
I am a Senior Lecturer in GIS and Chartered Geographer, and my main interest is in using data to solve problems. I currently lead Newcastle’s Urban Observatory programme, monitoring the city at many scales using IoT sensors. I work widely with researchers from Engineering, Earth Sciences,
I am an interaction and user experience designer with a computer engineering background. I enjoy all aspects of HCI from very techy detail to abstract design framework. My expertise in the field is computer-supported cooperative work, user experience, and interaction design. My doctoral research focuses on designing and understanding roles of mobile technology in co-located interaction.
As a research software developer I am responsible for the continued support and development of several projects at Open Lab. I work with modern web technologies to build large scalable platforms to support research in a range of areas. I also have experience designing and developing for iOS in a range of genres including social networks,
Drawing on political theory, deliberative democracy research, and experience of local democracy communications and educational action research, my research examines reflexive design research methods and how social theory ideals are enacted through sociotechnical interventions, particularly with respect to the characteristics of place as a social agent. My work has been published in CHI proceedings for research into the role of the researcher,
My background is in the software industry but since starting my PhD in computing science in 2007 I have been very interested in the potential of technology to support learning. After finishing my PhD and spending a few years in the educational technology industry I switched to being a full-time researcher.
My research interests lie in the intersection of ubiquitous/wearable computing and disability rights. This involves the development of technical systems which challenge the existing status quo in disability rights, whilst also accounting for the surrounding legal context.
I have published this work in a range of well-known computing science venues,
My primary role within the group is producing embedded electronic devices that are used by other researchers.
I am an experienced electronic designer who specialises in making low power sensors that gather or transmit a variety of measurements such as movement, position, environmental conditions and device interactions.
My research interests lie in exploring how civic engagement can be enhanced through the creation of games.
Questions I am investigating include:
- How can civic engagement games be used to make engagement processes deeper, broader and more reflective in nature for both participants and stakeholders in that process?
My original background is in engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence, but over the years I have become more and more interested in people rather than things. So, nowadays, I do research around how interactive technology fits into, and shapes, our lives and what that might mean for us all in the future.
My day job is in the Education section in Faculty of Humanities and Social Science and my Open Lab interests lie at the intersection where formal and informal learning meet digital technology.
In previous lives I have worked in a field centre and been a classroom geography teacher and a geography teacher trainer.
Before joining Open Lab I studied Statistics at Lancaster University, with a focus on applying time series models to financial indices and the Land Registry house price index. Towards the end of my PhD studies, I also took up a short-term research job, working on computational statistics with applications to epidemic models.
My research interests include the everyday experiences of older people, and the development of innovative (digital) approaches to address societal challenges such as loneliness, isolation, health and care in later life. I work as a Senior Research Associate across Open Lab and the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University.
I’m a Senior Research Associate, working on the social care strand of the Digital Economy Research Centre (DERC). My background is in political philosophy, where I explored the concept of community: what it means, and what a politics that took community seriously would look like.
Following my PhD,
I have a BA and MA in Town Planning and a MRes in Digital Civics. Prior to joining Open Lab, I worked in the voluntary and community sector both in the planning field and in health, focusing on citizen participation. I facilitated a number of community-led projects including one of the first frontrunner Neighbourhood Plans as well as conducting patient and public engagement for health service reviews.
I have a background in computer science where I focused on security and interaction design. My work in digital civics centres around charities, transparency, accountability, and open data. I am interested in producing technologies for charities to produce, collect, and present data about their work and their spending as a way to let them re-frame the dialogue around financial transparency in their favour.
I have an interest in travel, health and how public space affects the way we move and behave. My undergraduate studies were in French and Spanish while my recent background is working for active travel charity Sustrans, working with local communities to help people walk and cycle for their everyday journeys.
Janis Lena Meissner
Before starting the doctoral training in Digital Civics at Open Lab (Newcastle University), I studied Media Informatics both on an undergraduate and postgraduate level at the Vienna University of Technology. Between my bachelor’s and master’s I gained some professional experience at an Austrian governmental institution as well as in consulting services for a software company.
Coming from a background in human geography at the University of Liverpool, I first became interested in women’s sexual health after undertaking my dissertation in Mississippi, where I explored the relationship between religion, sexuality and abstinence education in the Bible Belt. I then moved to Newcastle University to study a Master of Public Health and continued to focus my research on women’s health,
My expertise and research interests include human-computer interaction, accessibility, wearable devices and mobile interaction, social computing, and healthcare technologies. The underpinning goal of my work has always been to create useful and usable technologies that improve people’s access to information, products, and services. I am very much interested in exploring how we can use digital technologies to empower individuals in today’s society.
I’m a psychologist by background. My research focuses on the experiences of people with dementia and their carers, and the potential for digital design and technology to help them live meaningful and connected lives within their communities. I carried out my PhD in the School of Applied Psychology,
My background is set in the field of industrial design where I’ve gained experience working with major companies including Unilever, Philips, Mars, and Bowers & Wilkins to name but a few.
My role as a designer is mainly centred around the ideation, design and fabrication of micro-electronics hardware with expertise in 3D modelling software and render packages to produce industry standard mass manufacturable designs.
I have a background in Computer Science and information communication technology within Secondary Education from the University of Sunderland. I recently finished my master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Newcastle where I completed my thesis within Open Lab.
I lead Open Lab, Newcastle University’s centre for cross-disciplinary research in digital technologies. I am the principal investigator for the EPRSC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics and the EPSRC Digital Economy Research Centre. I am an expert in the application of social and ubiquitous technologies in education,
My research interest is around making the Internet of Things (IoT) seamless and user friendly for people with no technical background.
The Internet of Things is widely considered as the next digital revolution, enabling significant improvement of public services by turning them into smart environments augmented with a wide range of sensors collecting various types of data.
Sean Peacock is an EPSRC funded PhD student in Digital Civics at Newcastle University, UK. Prior to this, he worked as an urban planner in local government, and helped conduct research into high streets and transport poverty. His research interests centre on the ways in which technology can support the greater participation of children and young adults in placemaking,
I interested in sustainable and ethical food systems. As part of my PhD I collaborate with a community centre North East to explore how an alternative food network that offers local food can be realised with a deprived community. I’m interested in process and technologies that can bring communities together around food –
My previous work involved spatial mobility – using computational methods to derive insights from raw data in order to understand human behaviour.
My current interests lay in understanding the relationship between data, information and knowledge. I am interested in exploring how can we configure technology to serve the needs of the citizens and how to provide people the tools to reclaim the ownership of their data.
I’m a PhD researcher interested in modernising qualitative research methods by embedding these within technologies. My research investigates the challenges and feasibility of this, and examines the use of these technologies by communities for data collection and dissemination, and the processes of consent to make this data publicly available.
I graduated in 2014 at Newcastle University, with a MComp in Games Engineering. My dissertations focused on promoting staircase use through gamification and presenting the impact of ageing populations through interactive media.
After a brief flirt with the video games industry (she never called me back),
My PhD research focuses on the experiences of disabled people in the built environment. It looks at how power wheelchair users and people with muscle-wasting conditions experience towns, cities, and public transport, and the ways in which technologies might be used by these communities to bring about more accessible public spaces.
My life-roles span around being a researcher, educator, learner, mother, warrior, feminist and seeker.
As a researcher at Open Lab, I work with schools in England to examine how they are engaging with digital technologies for teaching and learning purposes. I specifically look at the impact of digital technologies in developing thinking skills in young people within the context of cross-cultural learning and the role of brokerage to facilitate the above.
I am currently working as a Research Associate on projects funded by Digital Economy Research Centre (DERC) with Dr. Rob Comber and Prof. Geoff Vigar. Having completed my PhD on the use of digital games in participatory planning practices at University of Manchester, I joined OpenLab in December 2016.
I have an undergraduate degree in Food and Human Nutrition, MSc in Public Health and Health Services Research and MRes in Digital Civics.
My research interests are around the impact of digitally collected data on public health and public health service provision. I’m currently working on two case studies to support this research.
Broadly, I am interested in the ways in which we can use digital technologies to facilitate a movement towards a more socially just world. I do this by researching the ways in which sex work support services can make use of digital technologies to bridge service delivery and advocacy work to improve access to justice for sex workers.
I have a bachelor’s degree in clinical nutrition & dietetics and a master’s in public health. My master’s concentrated on health management and policy and I have worked on projects related to social innovation, disaster planning and health regulations.
More recently, my research has gravitated towards working with refugees and marginalised communities.
I am Director of Newcastle City Futures and Professor of Town Planning at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. My work relates to planning, land use, historic and contemporary urban change, and community participation in places.
In particular, I am interested in exploring visual methods for active citizen and business participation in cities,
My research interests centre on the impact that digital technologies have on how communities are formed and maintained. I am particularly interested in how certain kinds of relationships between individuals within a community are encouraged while others are discouraged, and how various technologies are used to implicitly enforce these distinctions.
I’m an academic wanderer. Which is probably why I ended up in this bunch of intellectuals, designers, coders, professors, hipsters, misfits and hopeless romantics that Open Lab is.
My roots, however, go back to the sandy soils of northern Belgium, where I’ve grown up as the oldest son in a family of four before heaping up master’s degrees in Geography and Cultural Studies in Belgium’s tiny,
I am interested in issues around the role of technology in International Development. Over the last year, I have been involved in Digital Civics research looking at the intersection of local communities and digital technologies.
My current project, Radio Health Dialogues, looks at how IVR technology can be used to run ‘radio shows’ in resource-constrained settings like India and Lebanon.
I am co-leader of the Digital Local Democracy theme within the Digital Economy Research Centre at Open Lab and Professor of Urban Planning in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. My research focuses on the design of institutions for more participatory and collaborative forms of urban governance.
I’m a designer by background, and my research interests tend to focus around issues to do with independence and agency in later life, informal and relational care for people of all ages, and notions of “friendly” and “caring” communities. I’m intrigued by the ways in which digital technologies might support new interactions and engagements between people in relation to these issues,
I am currently running the Open Lab: Athens initiative.
My work centres on designing, developing and evaluating novel, digitally-enabled models of citizen participation that engage communities in developing the future of local service provision, decision-making and democracy.
My PhD and research projects so far have involved a set of experiments into participatory methods in voting systems.
I graduated from Newcastle University in 2016 with a BSc in Computer Science, with a focus on human-computer interaction. My undergraduate project focused on helping older people translate dietary information into meals through the use of a recipe sharing platform, achieved by implementing a user-centred design process to develop a web application.
Zander is a doctoral trainee in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics at Open Lab, Newcastle University. His research explores the intersections of digital technology, design, human–computer interaction and town planning, with a focus on alternative and enhanced tools and methods for participation in planning.
I have a background in Psychology and Health Psychology, which I approach from a critical and social perspective.
The majority of my work is around Digital Sexualities. I am interested in how digital technology intercepts with sexual identity, and particularly how young people navigate this.
With Patrick Olivier I co-lead the Digital Civics programme here at Open Lab. My background is in applied psychology, and I am particularly interested in how people interact with digital technologies and how digital technology can be used to help individuals and communities to live and work together.