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I started out studying engineering by taking an MEng in Electronic Engineering with Music Technology Systems (University of York, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology). During my undergraduate degree I became fascinated by User-Centred Design so decided to specialise in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) by studying for an MSc in Human-Centred Interactive Technologies (University of York, Department of Computer Science). I then combined my interests in HCI and Music for my PhD in Computer Science, again at the University of York. At the broadest level, my research aims to understand whether we can improve performance at work with music, particularly with regard to computing tasks. In my PhD I have been using quantitative research methods to investigate whether listening to music can improve performance when typing (possibly the thrust of my thesis, but it’s complicated).
While I was working towards my PhD, I spent 2 years working as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Computer Science where I taught Web Design and Development, User-Centred Design, Requirements Engineering and Project Skills to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. At various points since 2010 I have been employed as a Research Associate in the Department of Computer Science. In these roles, I mostly worked on accessibility-focused HCI projects (including the EU funded i2web project; and most recently the Innovate UK funded SoundTact project). My roles within these projects have been quite varied, but I have typically been involved in designing and performing user evaluations (with blind and partially sighted users, and with web developers); running requirements interviews; and getting extremely lost in Milan.
I joined the School of Arts and Creative Technologies as an Associate Lecturer in Interactive Media in September 2015. I am currently module convenor for the “Programming for Digital Media” and “App Design and App Development” modules on the Interactive Media BSc as well as “Systems Design for Sound and Image” on the Film and Television Production BSc. I also supervise final year students in their systems design projects.
I’m very interested in the multimodal interaction - particularly using sound and music to communicate information or to change behaviour or emotions.
There is a wealth of empirical evidence that music affects people’s behaviour and experience. I am trying to understand how we can exploit this “affectivity of music” to influence people when they are using technology. My PhD has focused on looking at how music affects people when typing, as one of the fundamental interactions people have with technology, especially when working. But I have also worked with music therapists to design an interface to support their practice and collect evidence of the effectiveness of music therapy interventions.
Within the Interactive Media group I am starting to look into teaching-led research, and using interactive media for novel teaching methods. I have previously used teaching-led research methods to gather data for my PhD, where students were taught experimental techniques by running real research experiments.