David Kirk

david.kirk@northumbria.ac.uk | Faculty

David Kirk

I am currently a Professor of Digital Living at Northumbria University, but until 2016 worked as a Reader in Cultural Computing, in Open Lab, at Newcastle University. I study Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and the design of interactive computational technologies. I'm particularly interested in design research methods and the ways in which technology design can be centred on rich understanding of user experiences, cultures and contexts.

I have previously held positions as Senior Lecturer of Experience-Centred Design in Newcastle, Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction in the Mixed Reality Lab and School of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham, and as a post-doc in the Socio-Digital Systems group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. My background is in Psychology (BSc) and Ergonomics (MSc) with a PhD in Computer Science. Over the years my work has been heavily influenced by the sociologists, philosophers and designers that I've collaborated with and consequently I take a design-led, social science orientation to understanding human experience. Accordingly, and although trained as an experimental scientist, my research is increasingly based on qualitative methods and design-research practices.

I'm interested in a variety of broad research areas in HCI including (but not limited to):

Memory and Data - this has been a large focus for much of my research. I've been engaged in and led a variety of studies which have explored the archiving of memories in the home (photos and videos), human relationships to material culture (sentimental mementoes) and the interrelationship of digital technologies, data and human memory. I've also led studies looking at the design of, and issues around, 'pervasive monuments' or digital augmentations to memorial sites. I'm particularly keen to expand research on the role of data as a material for designing evocative memory experiences.

Things and Materiality - I've done a fair bit of work exploring human relationships to material artefacts (things), communication through networked-objects, and also hybrid interfaces which combine tangible interactions with multi-touch surfaces (with a focus on hands and gesturing). I'm keen to explore new interaction paradigms with interactive artefacts, especially in IoT (Internet-of-Things) contexts. I was papers chair for the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) conference 2013.

Adaptive Architecture and Human-Building Interaction - I have worked with Holger Schnädelbach at Nottingham and our PhD student Nils Jaeger on the design and development of reactive Architectures, buildings which adapt to their inhabitants. With my PhD student Sara Nabil, we are exploring the use of Organic User Interfaces (OUIs) as part of the building fabric. In particular I'm interested in the user experience of 'smart environments' and ubiquitous computing visions of future inhabited spaces.

I have had the pleasure of supervising the following PhD students:

And the following Open Lab students:


My Research Projects include:

Balance Network

Family Rituals 2.0

Out of Bounds



For more Background see: My Web Page


Below is a partial list of my publications (see my Google Scholar Profile for a relatively complete list):


Accountability work: Examining the values, technologies and work practices that facilitate transparency in Charities
Marshall M, Vines J, Wright P, Kirk DS, Lowe T, Wilson R, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
ActuEating: Desiging, Studying and Exploring Actuating Decorative Artefacts
Nabil S, Everitt A, Sturdee M, Alexander J, Bowen S, Wright P, Kirk D, DIS '18: Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference327-339
Decorating public and private spaces: Identity and pride in a refugee camp
Nabil S, Talhouk R, Trueman J, Kirk DS, Bowen S, Wright P, CHI EA '18 Human Factors in Computing Systems
Admixed portrait: Design to understand Facebook portrayals in new parenthood
Durrant AC, Kirk DS, Trujillo-Pisanty D, Martindale S, Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '18)12


Situated dissemination through an HCI workplace
Chen K-L, Clarke R, Almeida T, Wood M, Kirk DS, CHI '17 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems2078-2090
Making home: Asserting agency in the age of IoT
Chatting D, Wilkinson G, Marshall K, Desjardins A, Green D, Kirk D, Boucher A, CHI EA '17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems526-533
Designing Documentary Informatics
Elsden C, Durrant AC, Chatting D, Kirk DS, Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '17)649-661
Open design at the intersection of making and manufacturing
Green DP, Fuchsberger V, Kirk D, Taylor N, Chatting D, Meissner J, Murer M, Tscheligi M, Lindtner S, Bjorn P, Reiter A, CHI EA '17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems542-549
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
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


Accountable: Exploring the Inadequacies of Transparent Financial Practice in the Non-Profit Sector
Marshall M, Kirk D, Vines J, CHI '16: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1620-1631
Understanding the Sociality of Experience in Mobile Music Listening with Pocketsong
Kirk DS, Durrant A, Wood G, Leong TW, Wright P, 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems DIS 201650-61
Understanding the Sociality of Experience in Mobile Music Listening with Pocketsong
Kirk D, Durrant A, Wood G, Leong T, Wright P, Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS 2016)50-61
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
Ritual Machines I & II: Making Technology at Home
Kirk D, Chatting D, Yurman P, Bichard J, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 20162474-2486
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


Archival Liveness: Designing with Collections Before and During Cataloguing and Digitization
Schofield T, Kirk D, Amaral T, D&#246, rk M, Whitelaw M, Schofield G, Ploetz T, Digital Humanities Quarterly
Nature Bot: Experiencing Nature in the Built Environment
McDonald S, Kirk D, Bryan-Kinns N, C and C 2015 - 2015 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Creativity and Cognition173-176
Research Through Design and Digital Humanities in Practice: What, How and Who in an Archive Research Project.
Schofield T, Kirk D, Whitelaw M, Digital Humanities
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
Designing for Family Phatic Communication: A Design Critique Approach
Chatting DJ, Kirk DS, Yurman P, Bichard J, British HCI 2015175-183
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
Quotidian Ritual and Work-Life Balance: An Ethnography of Not Being There
Bichard J, Yurman P, Kirk DS, Chatting D, Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings (EPIC)163-178
Tangible Autonomous Interfaces (TAIs): Exploring Autonomous Behaviour in TUIs
Nowacka D, Kirk DS, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI '14)1-8
Designing for Slowness, Anticipation and Re-visitation: a long term field study of the photobox
Odom W, Sellen A, Banks R, Kirk DS, Regan T, Selby M, Forlizzi J, SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '14)1961-1970
An Emergent Framework for Digital Memorials
Moncur W, Kirk DS, Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '14)965-974
Human Values in Curating a Human Rights Media Archive
Durrant AC, Kirk DS, Reeves S, SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '14)2685-2694


Pursuing Leisure: Reflections on Theme Park Visiting
Durrant A, Kirk DS, Benford S, Rodden T, Computer Supported Collaborative Work43-75


Automics: Souvenir generating photoware for theme parks
Durrant A, Rowland D, Kirk DS, Benford S, Fischer JE, McAuley D, CHI 2011: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1767-1776
Graspables revisited: Multi-Touch vs. Tangible Input for Tabletop Displays in Acquisition and Manipulation Tasks
Tuddenham P, Kirk DS, Izadi S, 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems2223-2232
Matters of Life and Death: Locating the End of Life in Lifespan-Oriented HCI Research
Massimi M, Odom W, Banks R, Kirk D, Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '11)987-996


Home Video Communication: Mediating 'Closeness'
Kirk DS, Sellen A, Cao X, ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)135-144
Now Let Me See Where I Was: Understanding How Lifelogs Mediate Memory
Kalnikaite V, Sellen A, Whittaker S, Kirk DS, 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '10)2045-2054
Opening up the family archive
Kirk DS, Izadi S, Sellen A, Taylor S, Banks R, Hilliges O, CSCW 2010: Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work261-270
On human remains: Values and practice in the home archiving of cherished objects
Kirk DS, Sellen A, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction


Collocated social practices surrounding photos
Lindley S, Durrant AC, Kirk D, Taylor AS, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies995-1004
Putting the physical into the digital: issues in designing hybrid interactive surfaces
Kirk D, Sellen A, Taylor S, Villar N, Izadi S, BCS-HCI 2009: Proceedings of the 23rd British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Celebrating People and Technology35-44


Bringing physics to the surface
Wilson AD, Izadi S, Hilliges O, Garcia-Mendoza A, Kirk D, UIST 2008: Proceedings of the 21st Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology67-76

Associated Projects

  • DecorAction
    DecorAction is a PhD project where we explore interaction techniques with decorative objects that surrounds our environments, extending their capabilities, meanings and value further than aesthetics to propose functions that are beyond their tradition...
    August 30, 2011
  • Out of Bounds
    Charting an Alternative A-Z of the Nation This project reimagines the poetic map of Britain. During 2016 literary critics, poets, computer scientists, students, teachers and arts organizations will digitally develop the critically acclaimed poetry ant...
    August 30, 2011
  • 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
  • The Poetics of the Archive: Creative and Community Engagement with the Bloodaxe Archive
    This AHRC funded, 18 month project explores the 60 000 item archive of Bloodaxe Books, one of the most eminent and innovative contemporary poetry publishers in the world. This collaborative project involving the Digital Interaction group, the departmen...
    August 30, 2011
  • Family Rituals 2.0
    Family Rituals 2.0 is looking at the evolving nature of family life for people working away from home. How do mobile workers balance their work and life commitments? How does and could technology help and hinder this? This is a collaborative pro...
    August 30, 2011
Copyright 2018 Open Lab