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Creative Expressive Approaches to Promoting Inclusive Privacy and Security Online Through Visual Data Literacy (Advert Ref: RDF20/DESIGN/BRIGGS)

  • Full or part time
    Dr J Briggs
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD offers a unique opportunity to investigate creative, narrative and cocreative approaches to generating understanding around personal privacy and security online. The project will investigate visual grammatical conventions used in online privacy and security domains, which aim to communicate functions of intangible, non-semantic data, and develop alternative and supplementary communication resources. Working with recruited ‘user groups’ (e.g. those considered to have lower levels of digital literacy and/or identified as at particular risk of online fraud) the project will cocreate visual resources (broadly defined) that aim to promote learning, towards safer, more informed online interaction.

The PhD is situated alongside the multidisciplinary EPSRC Cumulative Revelations of Personal Data (;, which investigates how small, apparently innocuous pieces of personal information collectively pose significant yet unanticipated risks to an individual’s reputation and to employers’ operational security.

Examples of creative practice in this area include Giorgia Lupi’s exhibitions that utilise visual design as a medium which can “instantly reach out to places in our subconscious …with its inherent ability to convey large amounts of structured and unstructured information across cultures ” ( In a cyber security domain, Cumulative Revelations Principal Investigator Wendy Moncur and colleagues produced The Illustrated Guide to Keeping Secrets Online (scroll down at Other approaches include ‘data physicalisation’— an emerging interdisciplinary approach to physically representating data, to support communication, understanding and problem solving with data.

We similarly invite interdisciplinary and creative approaches to devising research methodology; and also to producing outputs and dissemination that act as discursive prompts, raise awareness and promote safer online interaction. The PhD would suit graduates of communication design (graphic design, interaction design, illustration, animation etc.) and other visual and time based media (e.g. film/video, games design) who are able to take a critical creative approach into and through communication design practice.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference RDF20/DESIGN/BRIGGS will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU/ Worldwide students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Yifan Yang, Daniel Cooper, John Collomosse, Constantin C. Drăgan, Mark Manulis, Jamie Steane, Arthi Manohar, Jo Briggs, Helen Jones, Wendy Moncur (2019). TAPESTRY: A Blockchain-based Service for Trusted Interaction Online, arXiv:1905.06186

Rachel E. Clarke, Jo Briggs, Andrea Armstrong, Alistair MacDonald, John Vines, Emma Flynn and Karen Salt (2019). Socio-materiality of trust: co-design with a resource limited community organisation. CoDesign DOI: 10.1080/15710882.2019.1631349

Yifan Yang, John Collomosse, Arthi K. Manohar, Jo Briggs and Jamie Steane (2018). TAPESTRY: Visualizing Interwoven Identities for Trust Provenance, 2018 IEEE Symposium on Visualization for Cyber Security (VizSec), Berlin, 1-4. DOI: 10.1109/VIZSEC.2018.8709236

Arthi Manohar and Jo Briggs (2018) Designing In With Black Box Technologies and PD, Design Research Society 2018 (DRS2018).

Cally Gatehouse, Matthew Wood, Jo Briggs, James Pickles, and Shaun Lawson (2018). Troubling Vulnerability: Designing with LGBT Young People's Ambivalence Towards Hate Crime Reporting. In Proc. 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'18), Paper 10.

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