Loraine Clarke is a research associate primarily working on projects related to ‘Hacking for Situated Civic Engagement’. Loraine’s background is in Industrial Design and Human–Computer Interaction. She previously worked in industry as an interaction designer for a business process management software company and as a designer for a kayaking paddle manufacturer.
Loraine’s primary research interest is in understanding how features of technology can support social interactions within groups in public spaces. The goal underlying this research is an aspiration to use technology in ways that bring people closer together, including communities and museum visitors. The idea of ‘creating enhanced value through shared interactions with tangible technology in public spaces’ is a key driver in her work.
Interactive museum exhibits have become an expectation in traditional museums today. The presence of hands-on exhibits in science centres along with our familiarity of high quality media experiences in everyday life has increased our expectations of digital interactive exhibits in museums. Increased accessibility to affordable technology has provided an achievable means to create novel interactive in museums. However, there is a need to question the value and effectiveness of these interactive exhibits in the museum context. Are these exhibits contributing to the desired attributes of a visitors' experience, social interactions and visitors' connection with subject matter or hindering these factors? These are some of the questions surrounding her research. Loraine's PhD examines the social interactions surrounding interactive museum exhibits that engage visitors in hands-on tangible interaction. As well as investigating established interactive exhibits in museum, the research also involves developing prototype exhibits and evaluating these with museum visitors and staff.
Digital fabrication is changing how we use, design and make technological interactions. It is easier to co-create with end users or communities. Loraine has a keen interest in digital fabrication and undertook MITs Fab Academy Digital Fabrication course. She worked closely with Strathclyde FabLab since 2013. With an industrial design background she has always tinkered and created but the new possibilities the DIY maker movement have brought up has enabled her research work to focus on how the movement has empowered stakeholders such as museum curators, visitors and community members.
Loraine worked on the meSch EU project which focused on designing and evaluating ‘Material Encounters with digital Cultural Heritage’ using Digital Fabrication methods and participatory design with cultural heritage professionals. The project aimed to bring materiality back to the heart of a museum visitor’s experience by offering visitors new interactive experiences by means of material interaction with smart objects. Secondly, the project aimed to co-design novel platforms for the co-creation of tangible exhibits at heritage sites. Both of these goals focus on the use of the DIY maker movement and tangible interaction. Her core involvement on the meSch EU project was during the evaluation the digital interactive components of an exhibitions that utilised Digital Fabrication and participatory design methods to design and develop installations for the Atlantic Wall Exhibition in ‘Museon’ in the Hague. In addition, Loraine has designed, prototyped and evaluated tangible interactive museum exhibits with the Glasgow Museums, Riverside Transport Museum over the last 4 years.
Key Research Interests
The main design and research methods Loraine is interested in are:
- Co-creation of interactive installations using participatory design methods
- Digital Fabrication and the DIY maker movement in FabLabs and Makerspaces
- Tangible and ubiquitous computing
- Evaluation and research in the wild, in real situations with members of the public
- Social interaction