The Balance Network will provide a new, interdisciplinary research community to explore Work-Life Balance in the Digital Economy (WLB in DE). It will cultivate new linkages and promote exchanges within and beyond the research base of projects funded under the theme of Sustainable Society: Achieving work-life balance in a digitally dependent world. Through a range of virtual and face-to-face interactions the network will support new, collaborative, multidisciplinary research proposals that develop into virtual centres of excellence. As well as supporting funded projects the network aims to create opportunities for interaction between diverse communities over the next 3 years. It aims to provide resources and activities to bring about a critical mass of expertise thus ensuring a strong foundation for the continuation of the network beyond 2016. The Balance Network will operate as an interdisciplinary community of practice to not only support to core network membership but also engage the wider network membership. The open nature of the network will provide opportunities to share research and engage with a wide variety of individuals and organisations including government, opinion-formers and policy makers, the general public, public and private sector organisations. The network will:

  • Support communication and collaboration across the funded research projects.
  • Foster a research community of multi-disciplinary teams to further explore the ideas generated on WLB in DE.
  • Discuss future funding opportunities, form collaborative bids and provide a forum for peer review between members.
  • Facilitate discussion and the exchange of knowledge between network participants and wider audiences including the public, business and industrial as well as academics.
  • Compile and disseminate activities and findings of WLB in DE projects and related activities to the wider academic and other communities, including. promotion of work under the Digital Economy Theme across the Research Councils.
  • Provide a coherent ‘home’ for the projects and to act as a single point of communication for theme of WLB in DE, from a UK and International perspective.
  • Aim to achieve a critical mass by widening the network to other national and international groups in order to provide self-sufficiency beyond EPSRC support.

Project details

February 2013 – January 2017
EPSRC (EP/K025619/1 and EP/K025619/2)
Funded value:
  • Rosalyn Aruna Robinson, Anglia Ruskin University (Principal Investigator)
  • Beverly Leeds, University of Central Lancashire (Principal Invesgigator)
  • Patrick Olivier, Newcastle University (Co-Investigator)

NORTH Lab investigators

Dave Kirk

I am Professor of Digital Living in the School of Computer and Information Science. 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 and then Reader in Cultural Computing at Newcastle University, 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 and its application to the design of digital technologies. Accordingly, and although trained as an experimental scientist, my research is increasingly based on qualitative methods and design-research practices.

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