We have been a little bit late starting back with our lab meetings – term actually started back in September – but we’re back! Much has been happening over the summer. Some have left us, some joined us, and those that stayed have been busy, so we started back with a bit of a catch up.

Since the end of the last proper term in April (wow, that long?), four of the group have submitted their PhD theses. Pejman, Gareth and Tom are still waiting for viva, but Liz has successfully made it through hers with minor corrections. So big congratulations to Liz! Three have now moved on from Sussex. Liz has moved to North Wales, Gareth has a job in Shanghai, and Pejman is now with UOIT in Toronto. We’ve also heard that another HCT alumni, Chris Frauenberger, has just been successful in a grant application, so we look forward to hearing more about that from him.

Ben has had multiple holidays (although he only owned up to those in the pub later…) and has been working on a couple of proposals, papers, and is – along with Judith – going to be organising the next PPIG meeting in Brighton next year. Alison is continuing to work on her PhD remotely in Newcastle. Judith has been working on a new house, as well as keeping various students out of mischief (or into it, as required), writing various papers, and trying to clear the decks to have time to write a couple of grant proposals this autumn. Eric has been working with Kate on a new project called TRACE that they are going to be telling us about in a lab meeting later in term, as well as continuing his work with OlderView and doing a bit of work on the TERENCE project. Edgar has had a busy summer sorting out his scholarship application and working on a panel proposal with friends from Paris and Barcelona. He also attended VL/HCC in San Jose, where he “ate tacos like a crazy man”. Ellie has been working on a couple of papers and attended DiGRA in Atlanta, which coincided with Dragon*Con and crazy fantasy mash ups that slightly blew her mind.

Muppet stormtroopers

Over the summer there were two new posts of Lecturer in Interaction Design that fall at least partially into our group. One of those posts was successfully filled by Kate, who has spent the summer kicking off the TRACE project with Eric and others (more to come!), the Face 2 Face project (a collaboration with Rachel Thomson from Education and Social Work and co-investigators at the University of Brighton and the Open University) and polishing her plans for teaching this term. She’s got a lot going on, and it all sounds pretty awesome.

The other post has been taken up by a new-comer to the group, Dr Marianna Obrist. Marianna joins us from the Culture Lab at Newcastle University, and has had a very busy summer trying to wrap up all of her projects up there! She has been looking at user experience methods and theories from the ground up, taking things back to first principles and trying to really define user experience. We’re all very excited to have her here with us, and really looking forward to hearing more about what she has planned over the coming months.