Going West!

There are big changes ahead! After eight years of work and fun in Sheffield, I will be leaving SHU and the UK to move back to Ireland. From November 2020 my new job will be at University College Cork, where I will work as Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the School of Applied Psychology. I am looking forward to the challenge, and to being part of an excellent community of educators and researchers. A particular highlight is that I will join the People and Technology Research Group. An established team of outstanding HCI academics led by Professor John McCarthy, the group shares my own ethos and approach to HCI research:

“The group is committed to experience-centred, participatory approaches to the design of technology…(…) Helping ensure that technological developments give people a chance for a richer life” (Read more)

I think I will feel right at home!

Additionally, I will remain linked to the Culture & Creativity Research Institute at SHU as a visiting researcher, so that I can keep being part of the CultureLabs project.

This move will be a milestone for me, intellectually and academically. I studied and worked in Computer Science schools and departments over the past 21 years. However, my academic history originally began in social science, with a Laurea degree in Communication from a department of social, cognitive and political sciences that has a longstanding tradition of HCI grounded in cognitive and social psychology.
Being back in social science might lead me to reflect more on what I think the humanistic side of HCI should concern itself with, and what we should do next. I hope to maintain links to Computer Science, but I will relate to it in a slightly different way. I certainly see it as an opportunity for some programmatic thoughts for the discipline, for the community, and for myself.

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A view of Cork City

Finally, the personal bit. As an academic and a person, I cannot help but think that I am a “product” of the European Union. My very first academic research experience was as part of a EU project. That’s where I discovered what I was passionate about and what I wanted to do for a living. My first academic job was as part of a EU project. And after that my PhD was funded by a EU project, granting me the immense privilege of studying and training as part of a team of experts and with the freedom of full financial support. Since then, some of my best research has been made possible by European funds and networks. And even when I have been generously supported by other grants and funders, my outlook has been European, and broadly international. This is why I gladly give my time to contribute to EUSSET, and to bring my perspective as a European researcher into other international organisations such as SIGCHI.

Yes, I am one of these “citizens of nowhere”, and I am very proud of it. I do not take it for granted that I have been able to freely work and live in two other countries as well as as the one I was born in, and that I could establish friendships and collaborations on an international scale even when I was a junior researcher, with a CV that was half a page long and no clue. Ireland welcomed me back then, and was my home for 13 years. I never once felt unwelcome, or unsafe, or unsure about my rights and responsibilities. I hope Ireland will welcome me again!

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