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Design of human interactions in their environment mediated by digital channels

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Gumtau
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship to undertake research in the area of meaningful human interactions in their environment, mediated by digital channels.

Start date
1 October 2013

The proposal should be focused on the research of sensory, affective, cognitive, philosophical and/or metaphorical aspects of human relationships, interaction or communication with technology, objects, environments and/or other humans, including particularly those with special needs.

An interest in designing and developing a series of interactive embodied experiences, that will allow meaningful synaesthetic (multimodal) relationships and mappings to emerge, would be welcome. With digital interfaces addressing a number of our senses becoming more ubiquitous, there is a design challenge in how to map sensory input across experiences in a salient way. There is also philosophical discussion, and some neuro-scientific evidence that metaphors have a bodily basis, which could be further utilized and examined as a particular affordance of a synaesthetic interface.

Some emphasis is placed on holistic, people- and experience focused research and design approaches such as phenomenology, story-telling and affordances.

Entry Requirements
Applicants should hold a good honours degree in one of the following fields:
Interaction/interactive Design, Graphic/Communication Design, or Digital Media Design.

Knowledge and experience in the area of human-computer interaction design would be an advantage.

Further Information
The successful candidate will join the University’s Centre for Art, Architecture and Design, you can find out more about the Department at: http://www.port.ac.uk/research/caad/

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact the academic supervisor Dr. Simone Gumtau, [Email Address Removed].

How to apply
Applications should consist of a letter of application explaining your reasons for applying for the position and your initial thoughts on the research area, a detailed CV (including expected or actual degree class), together with the names and contact details of two academic referees who can be contacted prior to interview.

These should be sent for the attention of Sarah Eaton to [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

University tuition fees for home/EU students will be fully covered. Home/EU applicants are eligible for full fee funding; overseas applicants will be expected to pay for the fee difference between international and home/EU students.


• MEDIATE – Multisensory environment for children with autism: mapping crossmodal (synaesthetic) sense impressions; intelligent behaviour growing in dialogue with the user (emergence and complexity)

[Gumtau, Simone, Newland, Paul and Creed, Chris (2005) MEDIATE – a responsive environment designed for children with autism. In: Accessible Design in a Digital World, 23-25 August 2005, Dundee]

• Nested Narratives – Multimodal interface for eliciting synaesthetic metaphors and tacit knowledge through storytelling and sensemaking

[Nested Narratives: Enabling Students To Make Sense of Their Learning – Williams, Karousou, Gumtau, Howell-Richardson, 2009, Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching]

• Tactile Semiotics – Developing a method to explore non-linguistic meanings communicated via touch, using textures and haptic expression

[Gumtau, Simone (2005) Tactile semiotics: the meanings of touch explored with low-tech prototypes. In: EuroHaptics, 18-20 March 2005, Dublin]

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