Digital Multimedia and Memory
Technology has the potential to transform the way that we think and remember, with potential positive and negative impacts on every aspect of our lives. This interdisciplinary PhD project explores the role of emerging digital multimedia practices on human memory.
Human memory is an important element of our cognition, impacting our ability to work effectively, engage with others, and maintain our own self-identity. For centuries, we have used a wide range of technologies, techniques and artefacts to augment our natural capacity for memory — storytelling and heirlooms have helped us share knowledge and experiences from generation to generation, written language allows us to produce to-do lists and records of our activities, and photographs help us remember how people and objects appeared in the past.
Innovation in digital multimedia has transformed the artefacts that we collect about both our everyday experiences and special occasions. For example, family photograph albums containing generations of carefully posed birth and wedding have been replaced with large-scale uncurated collections of digital photographs captured in an adhoc fashion on smartphones and other devices.
Whilst concerns have been raised about digital preservation (i.e. how do we ensure that these new digital artefacts aren’t lost or destroyed), there has been limited research effort centred on the changes that new multimedia artefacts are having on our capacity to remember.
This PhD would look to address the gap in current research with regard to the role of digital multimedia on human memory. The project would develop our understanding of how technology may already be changing the way that we remember and look to establish new approaches to prevent technology-driven human memory degredation.
This is an interdisciplinary project that will draw on both Computer Science (mobile computing, human-computer interaction) and theory/techniques from other disciplines (e.g. experimental and cognitive psychology).
The PhD project will be supervised by Dr Sarah Clinch, a Lecturer in Ubiquitous Computing at The University of Manchester. Her research focuses on the development and deployment of pervasive computing for new and emerging application domains, particularly those connected to human cognition, health and well-being. Dr Clinch publishes her work at leading international conferences including CHI, UbiComp and MobiSys. She is very keen to support motivated and talented students in developing their research skills. You can find out more about Dr Clinch at: http://sclinch.com. Informal enquires about the project are also welcome and should be made directly to Dr Clinch ([email protected]
The University of Manchester operates a co-supervision model, with students assigned one or more additional PhD supervisors who may be from within or outside Computer Science as appropriate to the project.
Candidates who have been offered a place for PhD study in the School of Computer Science may be considered for funding by the School. Each year around 20 new PhD students are awarded funding via the School. Further details on School funding can be found at: http://www.cs.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/programmes/phd/funding/school-studentships/
In addition, exceptional students may be considered for the President’s Doctoral Scholar Award and the Dean’s Award. Further details on these opportunities can be found at: http://www.se.manchester.ac.uk/our-research/funding/