Dr. John Vines
Culture Lab (Space 2),
Grand Assembly Rooms,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
John Vines is a design academic and practitioner whose research investigates how changes to cognition and the experience of technologies in later life impacts upon the design of digital technologies. In 2011 John completed his AHRC funded PhD with Transtechnology Research, which critically interrogated contemporary inclusive design practice and theory via a ‘senescentechnic’ model of cognitive experience. Currently, John is a KE (Research) Associate within the Digital Interaction based in Culture Lab, New castle University. He is currently working on Newcastle University’s node of ‘The Creative Exchange’ AHRC Hub, exploring new mechanisms and methods to support increased engagement between Arts and Humanities academics and the creative industries.
Prior to this John worked for Northumbria University’s School of Design on the EPSRC funded ‘New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old’ project. On this project – a collaboration between York, Northumbria and Newcastle (Culture Lab and Buisiness School) Universities – John collaborated with computer scientists, financial experts, ethnographers, psychologists, designers and, most importantly, groups of over-eighties, in a participatory and experience-centred approach to design. As a result the team developed a number of novel technologies and services along with guidance on future policy to enable the needs and desires of our eighty something collaborators be better supported by the UK banking industry.
John is an associate editor of Leonardo Reviews. Along with the above, he is currently working on a number of other projects exploring new methods for experience-centered design, do-it-yourself practices and technologies, designing new platforms to support financial delegation, and speculating systems and services for future assisstive living.
For regular updates on John’s research, teaching and practice, please visit his personal website.
PhD research (October 2007 – January 2011):
Ageing Futures: Towards cognitively inclusive digital media products.
Project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Thesis abstract: This thesis is situated in a moment when the theory and practice of inclusive design appears to be significantly implicated in the social and economic response to demographic changes in Western Europe by addressing the need to reconnect older people with technology. In light of claims that cognitive ageing results in an increasing disconnection from novel digital media in old age, inclusive design is apparently trapped in a discourse in which digital media products and interfaces are designed as a response to a deterministic decline in abilities.
The thesis proceeds from this context to ask what intellectual moves are required within the discourses of inclusive design so that its community of theorists and practitioners can both comprehend and afford the enaction of cognitive experience in old age? Whilst influential design scholarship actively disregards reductionist cognitive explanations of human and technological relationships, it appears that inclusive design still requires an explanation of temporal changes to human cognition in later life. Whilst there is a burgeoning area of design related research dealing with this issue—an area this thesis defines as ‘cognitively inclusive design’—the underlying assumptions and claims supporting this body of research suggests its theorists and practitioners are struggling to move beyond conceptualising older people as passive consumers suffering a deterioration in key cognitive abilities. The thesis argues that, by revisiting the cognitive sciences for alternative explanations for the basis of human cognition, it is possible to relieve this problem by opening up new spaces for designers to critically reflect upon the manner in which older people interact with digital media. In taking a position that design is required to support human cognitive enactment, the thesis develops a new approach to conceptualising temporal changes in human cognition, defined as ‘senescent cognition’. From this new critical lens, the thesis provides an alternative ‘senescentechnic’ explanation of cognitive disconnections between older people and digital media that eschews reductionism and moves beyond a deterministic process of deterioration. In reassessing what ageing cognition means, new strategies for the future of inclusive design are proposed that emphasise the role of creating space for older people to actively explore, reflect upon and enact their own cognitive couplings with technology.
For a full list of papers and presentations, please click here.