Professor John Bowers
Prof of Creative Digital Practice
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 246 4639
- Fax: +44 (0) 191 246 4607
- Address: Culture Lab,
Grand Assembly Rooms,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
John Bowers is an artist-researcher working within Culture Lab with a particular interest in the use of art and design-led methods (Research Through Design) to explore digital technologies and novel interaction concepts. He also works as a sound artist improvising with electronic, digital, acoustic and electro-mechanical devices and self-made instruments in performance and installation settings, typically accompanied by live digital image. His work is often grounded in field research methods drawn from the social sciences (ethnography, interaction analysis) and related to theoretical and practical issues in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), design research, material culture, media archeology and critical theory. He leads Culture Lab's research on Digital Media.
John's Google Scholar citations are here.
John Bowers (BA Hons, MA, Oxon; MMus, UEA; PhD, Cantab) worked initially as a cognitive psychologist at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit (now the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit), Cambridge, the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford and the Universities of Nottingham and Manchester. Subsequently, and particularly upon taking a professorial position at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, he became more concerned with understanding computing technologies as they are practically encountered in work, domestic and cultural-artistic settings. He began deploying ethnographic and interaction analytic methods drawn from the social sciences to investigate how people engage with technical machinery, to reflect on his own work and to inform the design of future systems and practices. He has published extensively in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), a field which John helped to bring to Europe and whose International Journal of CSCW he co-founded and initially co-edited.
More recently, John has become known for art and design-led approaches to the creation of digital technologies and the exploration of novel interaction concepts. In collaboration with the Interaction Research Studio, Goldsmiths University of London, he contributed to a series of influential works in the field of Research Through Design, perhaps most notably the Prayer Companion, a device which streams headlines from web news sources to inform the prayers of a monastery of cloistered nuns and which has been exhibited at MoMA New York (and has been acquired for their permanent collection), National Media Museum Bradford, Northern Design Festival, amongst other places. He contributes 'end-to-end' in the design process: research management, design ideation and critique, programming and fabrication, deployment and ethnographic studies of use, documentation and exhibition.
John (often appearing as J. M. Bowers) also works as a sound artist performing improvised electro-acoustic music in concerts and festivals, and is the co-owner of the record label Onoma Research. He works with modular synthesisers, home-brew electronics, self-made instruments, and reconstructions of antique image and sound-making devices, alongside contemporary digital technology. He is concerned with making performance environments, which combine sound, vision and human gesture at a fundamental material level. Recent work includes projects to build a music synthesiser using 19th century techniques (The Victorian Synthesiser), explorations of random circuitry (Ohm-My-God), a miniaturisation of Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville's Dreamachine (My Little Dreamachine), and a reconstruction of early television technology (This Nightlife Instrument). He has performed at festivals including Electropixel Nantes, Piksel Bergen, BEAM Uxbridge and Spill Ipswich, and toured with the Rambert Dance Company performing David Tudor’s music to Merce Cunningham’s Rainforest. He was a contributor to the Piksel Remote Hacklab at Metamorphoses of the Virtual, a co-lateral event to the 2013 Venice Biennale. He has been artist in residence at Fylkingen Stockholm and is Associate Artist of Pacitti Company London and Ipswich. He plays in the fundamentalist noise rock band Tonesucker whose 2012 release, Omnia Convivia Crastina, was listed as one of A Closer Listen’s albums of the year.
Roles and Responsibilities
Professor of Creative Digital Practice, leader of
research in Digital Media, Culture Lab
Membership of Culture Lab Executive Board, Steering Committee for NICAP (Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice), University Cultural Affairs Board
Board of Graduate Studies for MA in Creative Arts Practice
Contact in Fine Art for Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership for Digital Arts, Sound Arts, Performance, and Design Research
Professorial Research Fellow, Department of
Design, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK (2006-2013)
Professor at the Centre for User-Oriented IT-Design, Computer Science and Numerical Analysis Department, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden (1996-2005)
EPSRC Senior Research Fellow in Culture and Creativity, School of Music, University of East Anglia, UK (2004-2005)
Principal Researcher, Equator Project, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham, UK (2003)
Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Manchester, UK (1991- 1998)
Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Nottingham, UK (1988-1991)
Clifford Norton Junior Research Fellow, The Queen’s College, Oxford, UK (1987- 1988)
Research Associate, Department of Psychology, University of Manchester, UK (1985-1987)
Research Assistant, MRC Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, UK (1984)
- Gaver W, Blythe M, Boucher A, Jarvis N, Bowers J, Wright P. The prayer companion: openness and specificity, materiality and spirituality. In: CHI '10: The SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2010, Atlanta, Georgia, USA: ACM New York, NY, USA.
- Bowers J. The logic of annotated portfolios: communicating the value of 'research through design'. In: DIS 2012: Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference. 2012, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: ACM Press.
- Taylor R, Schofield G, Hook J, Ladha K, Bowers J, Wright P. Crafting interactive systems: learning from digital art practice. In: CHI EA 2013: Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2013, Paris: ACM.
- Shaw T, Bowen S, Bowers J. Unfoldings: Multiple Explorations of Sound and Space. In: New Interfaces For Musical Expression. 2016, Brisbane, Australia.
- Schofield T, Bowers J. Data Bus. 2016. Newcastle upon Tyne: Discovery Museum, 1.
- Bowers J, Bowen S, Shaw T. Many Makings: Entangling Publics, Participation and Things in a Complex Collaborative Context. In: Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 16). 2016, Brisbane, Australia: ACM.
- Bowers J, Bowen S, Shaw T. Many Makings: Entangling Publics, Participation and Things in a Complex Collaborative Context. In: ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. 2016, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: ACM.
- Bowers J, Richards J, Shaw T, Frize J, Freeth B, Topley S, Spowage N, Jones S, Patel A, Rui L, Edmondes W. One Knob To Rule Them All: Reductionist Interfaces For Expansionist Research. In: 16th International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression (NIME 2016). 2016, Brisbane, Australia.
- Bowers J, Richards J, Shaw T, Frize J, Freeth B, Topley S, Spowage N, Jones S, Patel A, Li R, Edmondes W. One Knob To Rule Them All: Reductionist Interfaces for Expansionist Research. In: New Interfaces For Musical Expression. 2016, Brisbane, Australia.
- Bowen S, Durrant A, Nissen B, Bowers J, Wright P. The value of designers' creative practice within complex collaborations. Design Studies 2016, 46, 174-198.
- Shaw T, Piquemal S, Bowers J. Fields: An Exploration into the use of Mobile Devices as a Medium for Sound Diffusion. In: New Interfaces For Musical Expression. 2015, Baton Rouge, LA.
- Nissen B, Bowers J. Data-Things: Digital Fabrication Situated within Participatory Data Translation Activities. In: CHI '15 Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2015, Seoul, Korea: Association of Computing Machinery.
- Smith T, Bowen S, Nissen B, Bowers J, Hook J, Verhoevan A, Wright P, Olivier P. Exploring gesture sonification to support reflective craft practice. In: CHI 2015 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2015, Seoul, South Korea: ACM Press.
- Taylor R, Bowers J, Nissen B, Wood G, Wright P, Chaudhry Q, Bruce L, Glynn S, Mallinson H, Bearpark R. Making Magic: Designing for Open Interactions in Museum Settings. In: SIGCHI Conference on Creativity and Cognition C&C 2015. 2015, Glasgow, UK: NY.: ACM Press.
- Arrigoni G, Schofield T, Shaw T, Bowers J. Prototyping Heritage: Collections, Materials and Emerging Approaches to Engagement. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Connected Communities Heritage Network Symposium. 2015, Sheffield: Heritage Network project.
- Shaw T, Bowers J. Public Making: Artistic Strategies for Working with Museum Collections, Technologies and Publics. In: International Symposium on Electronic Art. 2015, Vancouver, Canada: ISEA.
- Schofield T, Bowers J. The Palimpsest Machine. 2015. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Hatton Gallery, 1.
- Taylor R, Bartindale T, Chaudhry Q, Heslop P, Wright P, Bowers J, Olivier P. "Which Brew are you Going to Choose?" An interactive 'Tea-Decider-er' in a Teahouse Shop Window. In: Laval Virtual: 16th International Conferences and Exhibition of Virtual Technologies and Uses. 2014, Laval, France: ACM.
- Bowers J, Haas A. Hybrid Resonant Assemblages: Rethinking Instruments, Touch and Performance in New Interfaces for Musical Expression. In: NIME 2014: New Interfaces for Musical Expression. 2014, Goldsmiths, University of London: NIME.
- Freeth B, Bowers J, Hogg B. Musical Meshworks: From Networked Performance to Cultures of Exchange. In: DIS 2014. 2014, Vancouver, Canada.
- Bowers J, Shaw T. Reappropriating Museum Collections: Performing Geology Specimens and Meterology Data as New Instruments for Musical Expression. In: New Interfaces For Musical Expression. 2014, London.
- Bowers J, Shaw T. Reappropriating Museum Collections: Performing Geology Specimens and Meterology Data as New Instruments for Musical Expression. In: NIME 14: New Interfaces for Musical Expression. 2014, Goldsmiths, University of London: NIME.
- Nissen B, Bowers J, Wright P, Hook J, Newell C. Volvelles, domes and wristbands: embedding digital fabrication within a visitor's trajectory of engagement. In: DIS'14: 2014 conference on Designing interactive systems. 2014, Vancouver, Canada: ACM.