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):

[myimpact author=72]

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
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