Chris Elsden | Doctoral Trainee

Chris Elsden

Chris is a 3rd year PhD student and researcher at Open Lab. His research undertakes and fieldwork and 'research through design' experiences of living a ‘data-driven life’, with his thesis focusing on how burgeoning digital traces from technnology related to the 'Quantified Self' and 'Internet of Things' can mediate remembering.

Though with a background in sociology, his work is strongly focused towards identifying opportunities and implications for design - specifically of personal informatics, data visualisation and 'technologies of memory'. His research tends to reveal more complicated everyday relationships with technology, and argue for design which is commensurate with existing human practices.

Chris has further related interests in temporal design, technology non-use, personalisation,  the quantified self, privacy, identity, and the sensing and recording of everyday life through ubiquitous computing.

Chris is being supervised in his PhD by Dr. David Kirk, and Dr. Abigail Durrant.


Chris also keeps a blog and personal website -


HCI for blockchain: Studying, designing, critiquing and envisioning distributed ledger technologies
Elsden C, Nissen B, Jabbar K, Talhouk R, Lustig C, Dunphy P, Speed C, Vines J, CHI '18 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


Designing Documentary Informatics
Elsden C, Durrant AC, Chatting D, Kirk DS, Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '17)649-661
Making Ritual Machines: The Mobile Phone as a Networked Material for Research Products
Chatting D, Kirk DS, Durrant AC, Elsden C, Yurman P, Bichard JA, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems435-447
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
Transitions in Digital Personhood: Online Activity in Early Retirement
Durrant A, Kirk D, Trujillo-Pisanty D, Moncur W, Orzech L, Schofield T, Elsden C, Chatting D, Monk A, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17)6398-6411


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
It's just my history isn't it?: Understanding smart journaling practices
Elsden C, Durrant A, Kirk D, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 20162819-2831
ResViz: Politics and Design Issues in Visualizing Academic Metrics
Elsden C, Mellor S, Olivier P, Wheldon P, Kirk D, Comber R, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 20165015-5027


Diri - the Actuated Helium Balloon: A Study of Autonomous Behaviour in Interfaces
Nowacka D, Hammerla N, Elsden C, Ploetz T, Kirk D, UbiComp '15 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing349-360
A Quantified Past: Towards Design for Remembering with Personal Informatics
Elsden C, Kirk DS, Durrant A, Human–Computer Interaction
Beyond Personal Informatics: Designing for Experiences with Data.
Elsden C, Kirk DS, Selby M, Speed C, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '15)2341-2344


A quantified past: remembering with personal informatics.
Elsden C, Kirk DS, DIS Companion '1445-48

Associated Projects

  • Diri - the actuated helium balloon: a study of autonomous behaviour in interfaces
    As the sophistication of ubiquitous computing technologies increases, with advances in processing power and decreases in size users are being confronted with increasingly intelligent interfaces embedded in everyday devices. This raises an inter...
    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
  • Understanding Smart Journal Practices
    Taking a diary has long been an envisaged use of a smartphone. However, there are an emerging class of smartphone apps such as DayOne, Momento and HeyDay which go further than a simple note-taking app, and combine data from camera rolls, social me...
    August 30, 2011
  • Situated Remembering with Digital Technologies
    Digital technologies, particularly ubiquitous, social and cloud computing, provide new opportunities and challenges for human memory which have led researchers in HCI to consider 'The Future of Looking Back'. Technologies from the papyrus scroll to...
    August 30, 2011
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