As the Creative Computing Institute at University of the Arts London continues to grow - welcoming more students through a full initial portfolio of courses, continuing to pursue exciting and impactful research and expanding into new buildings - we are welcoming new members of staff to the institute.
With interests and backgrounds spanning game design, the internationalisation of code, spacial experience and more, find out more about the members of staff who have recently joined UAL CCI:
Dr Stella Doukianou
Stella became passionate about Game Design while she was studying for her Master’s in Design and Digital Media at the University of Edinburgh. During her master thesis, she focused on serious games, and along with a friend, designed and developed her first game. Since then, she decided to work in games and this journey led Stella to the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University where she did her PhD studies alongside working as a research consultant for different companies for immersive media, such as virtual reality.
Now, she has joined CCI as a Senior Lecturer on the BSc Creative Computing Course.
"I think being part of a diverse academic environment that is trying to build the connection between creativity and computer science is what I was looking for since I finished my core studies and CCI is a pioneer in this area. Also, the institute's research culture that I was hearing a lot about in academic cycles convinced me that it is the right place for me.”
Stella is interested in gamifying experiences with a focus on using VR/XR technologies, bringing together creativity and technology.
Dr Murad Khan
Murad Khan is Course Leader and Senior Lecturer on the Diploma and Graduate Diploma in Creative Computing at the CCI.
Before joining CCI, Murad was working as a Visiting Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, teaching on the MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy pathway whilst also working on his PhD from University College London.
“I came round to creative computing in a bit of a roundabout fashion,” says Murad. “Starting in Philosophy and then ‘stealing’ a fine arts education whilst my partner studied at Goldsmiths and I worked as a session musician. Eventually, I ended up at CSM for my MRes in Philosophy where I had the opportunity to learn Python and focus my research on machine learning, specifically looking its relationship to the philosophy of Spinoza through the lens of error correction.”
“Though I was always interested in computer science, I never really found a way to intersect my research with a creative practice until my 2018-19 residency on SPACE Studio's Art+Technology programme, where I worked with artist Shinji Toya to develop a reliable method to explore the problematics of racial classification in facial recognition systems.”
“The jumps in my background and research interests have meant that I've never really neatly fit into one department or discipline, but CCI stood out to me as a place where my research and practice could finally converge, and I was excited by the prospect of helping to build the kind of institution and courses I would have wanted when I was younger!”
Murad’s research explores the function and breakdown of predictive models in human cognition and machine learning systems, focusing particularly on contemporary research in cognitive neuroscience (predictive processing), studies of perception and adversarial machine learning to outline a philosophy of noise and uncertainty in the development of predictive systems.
Murad also leads the UAL Open Course, Computational Futures: AI and Machine Learning.
Kenneth Lim began his time at UAL doing a BA in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martin before going on to study MA in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art. He has now joined UAL Creative Computing Institute as an Associate Lecturer.
"My involvement in creative computing did not come from a formal education but rather the things that I did to support creating what I wanted to create while studying design during my degrees. I've been learning coding since a long time ago but it really is the combination of design/creativity with computing that really defined how I want to use this skill that I have.”
“I joined CCI relatively early on mainly because I see CCI as a great place to really focus on leading the development of creative computing as a field of study and research. CCI would be the institute that I would choose to do my degrees in were it to start a few years earlier as it fits so well with what I do, and being able to work here is the next best thing - if not better.”
Kenneth’s main interest is the open-source software community and the internationalisation of code, “which in simpler terms is how can we make computing accessible to a non-English speaking audience,” he says.
Jazmin was already working as an Associate Lecturer for the CCI before she took on her permanent role as a BSc Creative Computing Lecturer and in Digital Outreach recently. She previously worked at CCI alongside her roles as the Lead Digital Tutor for the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins and a freelance artist/workshop facilitator. She has previously written and delivered a Unit for the BSc in Creative Computing and has been establishing Tech Yard since 2019.
"My background in Creative Computing stems from my fine art practice that is concerned with the complexities within simulating culture and identity online. Alongside developing works, I led community workshops that married creative computing skills and critical discourse around internet inequalities - so when it came to founding Tech Yard and teaching at the CCI, I feel that I slotted right in.
“I love the way that the CCI unifies creative practice, technical skills and social/political studies. I feel that my practice and research complemented the institution and I felt that they could best support my growth. My current role at the CCI is really fulfilling, teaching on the BSc is rewarding and supports my career as an academic whilst the other part of my role dedicated to digital outreach allows me to continue to engage in the important community work that I love doing. The CCI has an extremely strong staff network, I feel privileged to be working alongside some of the world's leading technologists and artists.
“My main interests in creative computing are the endless possibilities! I enjoy sharing technical skills with people and watching them create the most wonderful products and experiences. My practice and research can be quite critical of technology however I am hyper-aware that technology can be an extremely liberating space and having the creative skills to support this liberation is essential. I also love how small and supportive the creative computing community is once you tap into it.”
Beginning her career in the design industry, having trained in interior architecture, Mahalia moved into creative computing when she witnessed he transformational way that computation was being used to shape the process of design and making. From there, she moved into digital and user experience design, before returning to academia in recent years to focus on key areas of interest and start creating the work that she really wanted to make.
Mahalia has now joined CCI as a Lecturer in Creative Computing. “Working at CCI really appealed to me because of the interdisciplinary approach and the exciting ecosystem of students and staff from a variety of backgrounds,” she says. "Additionally, the CCI’s social mission that centres around diversity and inclusion in technology is extremely important to me. Unfortunately, it is still very rare to work for companies or institutions that even explicitly address these issues as important things to tackle, so it feels special to be able to work in a place like CCI.
“Even though I have stepped away from architectural design in my career, it remains a central thread within my interest in the application of creative computing. I’m super interested in spatial experience and perception of our environments, recently I have been experimenting with mixed reality combining virtual spaces with physical embedded wearables and reflecting on how this can impact and shape our shared experiences with others.”
Dr Iulia Ionescu
Iulia recently joined UAL CCI as a Course Leader and Senior Lecturer on the MRes in Creative Computing.
She is an artist and technologist interested in the social phenomena that occur in the face of the increased presence of autonomy, automation and algorithmic living. Her research explores the space between the technical and social facets of AI Design and the co-construction of meaning in the human-AI interaction therein. She is particularly focused on the relation between anthropomorphic features and anthropomorphic perception in the design of AI systems.
Previously, she was a Lecturer in the Innovation Design Engineering and Global Design Engineering Programmes at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, as well as a lecturer in the MRes AI Design Pathway at the RCA. Together with Edology and the RCA, she has also collaborated on one of the first online classes on Designing Products and Services with AI, taught in various institutions such as Pearl Academy, India and UE Berlin. She has also been undertaking a Microsoft-sponsored PhD at the RCA on AI Design: particularly focused on the relation between utilising humanlike features when designing AI agents and their influence on human perception
"I joined the CCI because it's more in line with my research interests, it’s a vibrant community, with a bunch of amazing people and world-leading experts in the areas I’m also passionate about.
"I’m mostly interested in the social phenomena that occur in the face of increased autonomy and algorithmic living. There’s this gap between the technical approach to AI and its consequences on societal practices and my practice is mostly a critique of these digital social systems we’re building around ourselves. One of these systems I am passionate about is anthropomorphic (or humanlike) AI, which is what I have been exploring in my thesis."