Ambassador: John Bonner
- Current role:
- Academic (teaching and research)
- University of Huddersfield
I’ve worked for over 20 years in the field of human factors, product and interaction design in both academic and commercial environments. After graduating with a degree in Ergonomics from Loughborough University, I joined HUSAT working on projects to change software programmers’ perceptions of their users with organisations such as ICL and Olivetti. I then became a freelancer working with organisations such as IDEO, BAA and Royal Mail. I then returned to academia teaching industrial design students while also running a small EPSRC research funded project exploring software-based interfaces for Electrolux. I then moved to Huddersfield in 1999 and set up a small research group known as live:lab with the aim of exploring how innovation and creativity can be used in digital products and services. I am programme chair for an annual conference called ‘Create’ www.create-conference.org I’ve just started work related to how performance-based presentations can be used to improve public engagement.
What motivated you to engage with the public?
The traditional lecture has existed for over well over 2000 years as a vehicle for sharing or imparting knowledge and stubbornly remains the principal teaching and learning tool in nearly all educational institutions despite research evidence indicating their ineffectiveness and their unpopularity with students. I have recently become interested in how this ‘delivery medium’ could be changed to suit a young audience who have become very familiar with receiving multiple channels of information while on-line, watching TV or attending, for example, a music festival.
Describe the public engagement work you have done
Unlike a conventional lecture, where interaction and delivery behaviour is extremely predictable, my research is beginning to explore alternative methods of delivery using a mixture of scripted and improvised speech, pre-recorded speech, animated text, spatially distributed audio recordings and music, live music, graphical animations, combined with multiple video projections. I have begun producing content for a lecture titled, ‘Faith in Progress’ which explores our relationship with technology and what steps we might take to secure a sustainable future. The audience are taken on a number of ‘emotional’ journeys to illustrate how complex and difficult it is to succeed. I would like to extend the outcomes of this work to become part of a broader public engagement process.
Name: John Bonner