Andrew Garbett | Research Associate

Andrew Garbett

I am a Postdoc Research Associate on the Digital Economy Research Centre at Open Lab. My research focuses on enabling citizens to take a leading role in the commissioning and design of technologies and services that support new models of participation between communities and local government. I believe in designing technologies that can be deployed and studied within a real-world context and have previously developed a number of platforms using this approach:

  • App Movement - An online platform that enables citizens to commission, design, and automatically generate mobile applications that support communities to establish community information resources.The platform has been adopted by over 35,000 users and has seen the creation of over 60 campaigns, resulting in 16 mobile applications.
  • FeedFinder - A location based rating and review service for breastfeeding mothers to locate breastfeeding friendly locations nearby. FeedFinder has over 9,000 users who have contributed over 3,000 venues and more than 3,200 reviews and continues to support mothers in the UK, USA, Australia, and India.The EPSRC recently awarded the project with a Digital Economy Social Impact award for research that rapidly realizes the transformational impact of digital technology on community life, cultural experience, future society, and the economy.
  • Event Movement - An online platform for collaboratively commissioning, designing, and promoting community events.

I have also worked as a Research Associate on a NESTA-funded project with Microsoft Research Cambridge and Tyne and Wear Museums and focused on designing Collections Dive - a novel discovery interface that responds to user interactions, such as scroll speed as an indicator of interest, to recommend and explore large-scale digital heritage collections. The discovery interface continues to engage visitors of Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums’ online collections.

Before joining Open Lab I was a Research Assistant at the Lincoln University Social Computing Research Centre (LiSC) on the ENACT Project that focused on leveraging the engaging properties of Online Social Networks to increase adherence and uptake of Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia. As part of the project I developed Sleepful, an Online Social Network that delivers CBT for those living with insomnia and integrates with a novel sleep recording mobile application.

While with the research group at Lincoln I also worked on Fearsquare, a project that looked at using Foursquare and Government Open Crime Data to provide a personalised overview of crime for areas you frequent.

I have a background in Software Engineering and enjoy the challenge of designing and developing large scale civic platforms for change using web and mobile technologies.

When I’m not technologically tinkering I also enjoy exploring the great outdoors, skiing, chasing footballs around, and cooking.


A network epidemic model for online community commissioning data
Lee C, Garbett A, Wilkinson DJ, Statistics and Computing891-904
"Protection on that erection?": Discourses of accountability & compromising participation in digital sexual health
Wood M, Garbett A, Morrissey K, Hopkins P, Balaam M, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
ThinkActive: Designing for pseudonymous activity tracking in the classroom
Garbett A, Chatting D, Wilkinson G, Lee C, Kharrufa A, CHI '18 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


On Speculative Enactments
Elsden C, Chatting D, Durrant AC, Garbett A, Nissen B, Vines J, Kirk DS, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems5386-5399
Care and Connect: Exploring Dementia-Friendliness Through an Online Community Commissioning Platform
Morrissey K, Garbett A, Wright P, Olivier P, Jenkins EI, Brittain K, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems2163-2174
Experiences of Delivering a Public Health Data Service
Simpson E, Comber R, Garbett A, Jenkins E, Balaam M, ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems6171-6183


Factors important for women who breastfeed in public: a content analysis of review data from FeedFinder
Simpson E, Garbett A, Comber R, Balaam M, BMJ Opene011762
Metadating: Exploring the Romance and Future of Personal Data
Elsden C, Nissen B, Garbett A, Chatting D, Kirk D, Vines J, CHI '16: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems685-698
App Movement: A Platform for Community Commissioning of Mobile Applications
Garbett A, Comber R, Jenkins E, Olivier P, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 201626-37


FeedFinder: A Location-Mapping Mobile Application for Breastfeeding Women
Balaam M, Comber R, Jenkins E, Sutton S, Garbett A, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1709-1718


Finding "real people": trust and diversity in the interface between professional and citizen journalists
Garbett AT, Comber R, Egglestone P, Glancy M, Olivier P, Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '14)3015-3024

Associated Projects

    This research aims to enhance the six week Match Fit programme currently delivered by Newcastle United Foundation (NUF) to primary aged pupils in the North East. This programme is successful in raising the activity and awareness food intake in its part...
    August 30, 2011
  • Condoms
    C-Card Condom Finder
    Young people in the North East will be able to find places to access free condoms and sexual health information, thanks to an app generated using App Movement, Open Lab’s app-development platform. The C-Card Condom Finder app allows users to find ...
    August 30, 2011
  • Metadating: Exploring the Romance of Personal Data
    'Metadating’ was a future-focused speed dating event where single participants were invited to 'explore the romance of personal data'. Participants engaged in reflection and self-tracking prior to the workshop, and created ‘data profiles’  whic...
    August 30, 2011
  • Affinity - Create4Dementia Hack
      The Create4Dementia hack event hosted 50+ hackers with skills in software, design and healthcare to develop innovative technologies for those living with dementia in 24 hours. The team from Open Lab - Team Sonar - consisted of Andy Garbet...
    August 30, 2011
  • App Movement - Community Commissioning of Mobile Technologies
    App Movement is a platform that was developed at Open Lab which enables any individual, community or organisation to propose, design and automatically generate a multi-platform mobile application. The platform raises research questions around...
    August 30, 2011
  • Past Paths - Reconceptualising the online museum experience
    In collaboration with Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, Nesta and Microsoft Research a discovery search interface was developed that aims to improve public access and engagement with digital heritage collections. The exploratory web platform and no...
    August 30, 2011
  • Impact-o-meter
    Rewired State Parliament Hackathon kicked off Parliament week with a two day hack weekend on the 16th and 17th of November Hub Westminster ( The weekend attracted some of the best developers and designers from ac...
    August 30, 2011
  • NewsDrop: #newsHack
    #NewsHack is a BBC Connected Studios hack day where digital tinkerers and open data advocates are invited to create hacks within 24 hours. Open Lab's team consisted of Andrew Garbett, Tom Bartindale, Sebastian Mellor, Jan Kučera who hacked away u...
    August 30, 2011
  • FeedFinder
    We have been working with local women and community breastfeeding groups to create a breastfeeding mapping mobile application called FeedFinder. In our initial design work we found that women had felt trapped in their house in the early days of h...
    August 30, 2011
  • The filter bubble of recommendation systems
    Serendipity through Social Search
    [caption id="attachment_5424" align="alignright" width="300"] The recommendation filter bubble - Eli Pariser[/caption] Aim: To stimulate serendipitous discovery of new web content by leveraging the Social Network Graph to augment search results. ...
    August 30, 2011
Copyright 2018 Open Lab