Rachel is an interdisciplinary design researcher specialising in the politics of participatory and co-design practice in cross-cultural development of digital technology to support gender equality. As part of her fellowship she is working on cross-cultural understandings of participation, social innovation and design practice to support awareness of the consequences of harmful global material flows and interactions associated with technology use.
She received her PhD at Culture Lab, Newcastle University in 2015 focusing on artful long-term interaction design with an international women’s centre in the UK. Working with volunteers and women’s agencies she co-created counter-narratives for design of future digital services with third-sector and cultural heritage organisations. More recently she has worked as a post-doctoral researcher in a number of cross-disciplinary teams designing for alternative grass-roots approaches to re-envision future plans for ‘Smart Cities’. This has included the creation and evaluation of critical kits for supporting immigrant women’s heritage, participatory arts reflection, and discursive action on poverty and trust in communities of practice experiencing marginalisation and stigma.
Prior to research she ran a small business, Twisted Digits UK, working on international cultural programmes with arts organisations, theatre companies and third-sector organisations on digital media education resources and exhibitions. Partners and funders have included Barnardo’s, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Arts Council England, Creative Partnerships, Seven Stories, KIAC, The Forge, Heritage Lottery Fund, Natural England, and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums.