I’m a designer by background, and most of my current research is located in the fields of human-computer interaction (HCI) and participatory design.
Before joining Northumbria School of Design as a Professor I was an academic at Open Lab, Newcastle University, with whom I still have many ongoing collaborations. Prior to this I have held post-doctoral positions at both Newcastle (2012-2014) and Northumbria (2010-2012) Universities, and conducted my PhD research at the University of Plymouth (2007-2010).
My research focuses on the study of how people experience, appropriate and use digital technologies in their everyday lives. I often take a research through design approach, which for me involves designing new digital prototypes, artefacts and “things” with citizens, and studying the creation and use of these prototypes to generate knowledge that is both valuable to designers and advances our understanding of social phenomena. I am specifically interested in how technology is interwoven with issues such as independence and agency in later life, could support informal and relational care for people of all ages, and might help scaffold “friendly” and “caring” communities. I also have experience and ongoing interests in human experience and technology design as it relates to self-care, trust, security and empathic communication. Generally, I’m intrigued by the ways in which digital technologies might support new interactions and engagements between people in relation to these issues, rather than be used to replace human contact (as is often the case).
Along with the above, a large amount of my research examines the practical and ethical dimensions of conducting participatory design (and participatory research in general) with citizens, especially in sensitive contexts and with people with heightened vulnerabilities. Therefore I have an ongoing interest in understanding the methods and techniques used for involving people in design and research processes, and have been involved in a series of professional events and journal special issues unpicking the ethical encounters faced when conducting participatory and technology oriented research with participants.
I am currently working on a range of projects involving the design of technologies with communities, examining issues (among others) such as social isolation among carers, intergenerational conversation around dementia, advice and information sharing in health support groups, advocacy and the measuring of outcomes in charities, and community decision making around care services. More details can be found on my personal website: www.johnvines.eu