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Creative Coding in Developing Arts-based Prototypes for Affective Health Technology

Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute (C3RI)

About the Project

This project will explore how a creative and experimental process of prototyping, with its production of multiple meaning and affect, can expand mono-disciplinary problem-solving approaches to healthcare technology design and production.

We are seeking individuals with experience of creative coding, microelectronics and wearable interfaces who want to explore aspects and phases of arts-based and embodied prototyping. We are keen to receive proposals that might explore: novel methodological processes, new applications of affective wearable technology, novel theoretical and practical relationships, creative data collection and analysis etc, to contribute to the understanding of creative methods and arts-based inquiry in interdisciplinary engineering.

The candidate will be joining an interdisciplinary team exploring affective health technology at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Technologies being used in this project specifically relate to haptics, involving various wearable trackers, biofeedback sensors, and pneumatic applications. The project consists of collaborative making and prototyping, co-authorship of arts-based exhibits and scholarly output, and contribution to an interdisciplinary, international team of practitioner-researchers.

Experience with microcontrollers (such as Arduino) and coding (such as python, c++) and prototyping, and 3D printing is necessary. Ideally the applicant would demonstrate a creative practice utilizing the above-mentioned media and techniques, for instance, through interactive installations, performances, or wearables. The successful candidate should have an ability and interest in working in an interdisciplinary co-creative team.

We anticipate that this project will be led by new Lab4Living Associate Professor, Dr Kaisu Koski. Kaisu is an interdisciplinary artist-researcher with a background in film and performance. Kaisu collaborates with scientists, clinicians, and engineers, focusing on empathy, simulation and human-machine interactions in a clinical context.

The successful applicant will be based within a number of vibrant connected communities: the SHU Doctoral Community, the Culture and Creativity Research Institute (CCRI), the Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC) and Lab4Living (L4L).

Lab4Living,is trans-disciplinary community of researchers in art, design, healthcare and other creative practices. We work together to address real world issues that impact on health and wellbeing, developing products, services and interventions that promote dignity and enhance quality of life. Established in 2007, Lab4Living is one of the longest-established living labs in Europe and has generated more than 100 research projects and collaborations in over 80 academic, hospital and community organisations in over fifteen countries. In 2019, the Lab was awarded £4 million in funding from Research England in recognition of its excellence in design-led research, enabling it to grow its focus on the 100-year life and the future home. This application is for one of three new PhD Studentships, to join the existing cohort of 8 students who commenced their research in 2019.

The CCRI PhD community brings together a 150 plus multi-discipline cohort of students in art, communication, design, media, performance, history and creative writing. Focused disciplinary-specific research training, including two novel conference training environments, interdisciplinary debate, and student-led events complements University-level research training. In addition the successful candidate will be part of the energetic ADRC PhD community, where practice-based research training is delivered formally and through shared projects, exhibition and publication. Areas of the CCRI PhD programme generated sector-leading scores for research culture and satisfaction in the last two Postgraduate Research Experience Satisfaction Survey. CCRI PhD students work in a community of diverse staff research, often being supervised in interdisciplinary teams. For examples of staff and doctoral research see:

Requirements: Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) and a Masters qualification in a relevant subject area. The ideal candidate would have a strong creative practice track record that conveys their experience and potential to undertake a PhD enquiry in response to the proposed themes. Where English is not first language we require a minimum overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component, or an accepted equivalent. We strongly suggest you contact us in advance to discuss your application with relevant supervisors.

How to apply: We strongly recommend you contact the lead academic, Kaisu Koski copying in Dr Becky Shaw (Postgraduate Research Tutor for Art & Design) to discuss your application

Start date for studentship: 1st February 2021

Interviews are scheduled for: week commencing 2nd November 2020

For information on how to apply please visit

Your application should be emailed to by closing date of 9th October 2020.

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship provides tuition fees at UK/EU levels (£4,407 for 2020/21) and a maintenance bursary at the UK Research Councils' national minimum doctoral stipend rate (£15,285 for 2020/21). The scholarship is available for three years of full-time or five years of part-time study (paid at 50%). International applicants are eligible for a full maintenance bursary but are required to contribute to the cost of tuition fees. The value of UK/EU tuition fees is used to discount the cost of the international fee. You are asked to indicate your financial plan at the point of application.

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