Abigail Durrant

abigail.durrant@northumbria.ac.uk | Research Associate

Abigail Durrant

I am a designer and researcher with a longstanding curiosity in the design-led study of human-computer interaction (HCI) from social and cultural perspectives. This is grounded in my interdisciplinary career spanning the arts and humanities.

I have 16 years professional experience working in academic, commercial and public sector contexts, with specialist applied skills in computer-related design and a deep knowledge of critical approaches to HCI research.

In a commercial design research context, I have drawn upon my expertise in ethnography, film making, conceptual design and visual communication to deliver understandings and strategic directions for technology innovation in Healthcare, Telecommunications and Government.

My academic research has focussed on the development of digital photography and social media to support the expression of identity in different contexts and domains, by different communities and cultures.  My approach is creative, practice-based and interdisciplinary, using design artefacts and processes to understand and communicate ideas and experiences. I  recently co-chaired the Research Through Design (RTD) 2015 conference with friend and colleague John Vines.  I also teach interaction design methods including  film-making and video techniques for design research.

I am currently pursuing a Leverhulme Fellowship (ECF-2012-642) exploring how design practitioner-researchers collaborate and communicate within interdisciplinary teams researching emerging technologies and their potential impact.  An additional aim is to create a ‘rich picture’ of current interaction design research practice in the UK and beyond: www.designfordialogue.org.uk.

A  case study for the fellowship is an RCUK-funded project about the creation and management of digital identity across the human lifespan, which I am a Co-Investigator on: Charting the Digital Lifespan (CDL), EP/L00383X/1.

Before taking up my fellowship, I worked on the Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy (SiDE) hub, exploring amongst other things the potential of photography at school to support children with additional needs in interpersonal communication, and how the design of photographic equipment could enhance this.

I previously worked at University of Nottingham, exploring ubiquitous technology support to tourism enterprises and cultural visiting experiences, focusing on mobile technology development and locative service design. In this work I designed, deployed and evaluated prototypes to deliver interdisciplinary insights about business, engineering and human behaviour.

I was a Senior Research Associate at  Open Lab from 2011 to 2016.  My personal website displays a full list of publications and a portfolio.

[myimpact author=78]

Associated Projects

  • Charting the Digital Lifespan
    We have yet to experience a complete lifespan in the Digital Age, from conception to death in old age. Those who have grown up interacting with digital technology are still relatively young, whilst older technology adopters hold paper trails of mem...
    August 30, 2011
  • Embodied Selves in Transition: Disabled Young
    Currently, we do not know much about what it is like for young people with physical disabilities to transition into adolescence, how a physical disability can interact with their changing body and complicate societal assumptions about how an adolescent...
    August 30, 2011
Copyright 2015 Open Lab