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StoryFutures: Human-centred Systems Design for Audiovisual Production Industry

Applications are invited from candidates wishing to join an innovative three-year programme of interdisciplinary PhD study. The Studentship is available as full-time, for the period of three years. Successful applicants will receive an annual maintenance stipend of approximately £17,009 (2019-20, inclusive of London Weighting) paid monthly in advance for the duration of the award plus paid tuition fees at the current RCUK rate for full-time students.

The PhD project is part of StoryFutures: Gateway Cluster Partnership for Audiovisual Digital Creativity, a creative industry research and development programme funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The overall aim of the programme is to define and develop the next-generation storytelling approaches, exploring the opportunities offered by the latest developments in the immersive technologies of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). The StoryFutures consortium gathers more than 35 academic and creative industries organisations based immediately to the west of London. Further information about StoryFutures can be found at: www.storyfutures.com.

PhD Project Description:

The PhD project will undertake a human-centred systems design approach in designing a set of digital tools aimed at improving the productivity of the audiovisual production workflows.

The research and design work will involve: i) the ethnographic analysis of the current state-of-the-art production processes and practice, taking into account the human stakeholders, technology and data flows; ii) the process and experience mapping, with the view of identifying the opportunities for the production productivity gains and iii) the conceptual design, prototyping and evaluation of the new digital tools. The research will be largely qualitative in nature and involve the use of creative participatory methods.    

The project work will be carried out in close collaboration with Pinewood Studios, DNEG (Double Negative), Evolutions and Imaginarium - the key London-based audiovisual production companies, and the StoryFutures team at Royal Holloway, University of London - the lead institution for the StoryFutures consortium.

The PhD project will be supervised by Dr Vanja Garaj and Dr Arthi Manohar of the Department of Design, Brunel University London. For an informal discussion, please contact Dr Vanja Garaj (01895 266 964, vanja.garaj@brunel.ac.uk).  


The successful candidate will have an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree in Design, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction or other related subjects. The experience in participatory design methods and/or design/led user research methods is essential. The knowledge of Systems Design, Service Design, UX Design, UI Design, Data Visualization and/or the software tools such as Unity and/or Unreal Engine is desirable.

How to apply

You should submit all of the documents listed below by 16:00 on Friday, 29 November 2019 to cedps-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk. Interviews will take place in December 2019 and the successful candidate is expected to start their PhD on 01 February 2020.

  • Your up-to-date CV;
  • A one-page statement setting out why you are a suitable candidate (i.e.: your skills and experience);
  • A copy of your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • Contact details for TWO academic references. If two named academic referees are staff from Brunel, one of them must be independent, i.e. not involved in the supervision of this PhD project;
  • Evidence of English language skills to IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent, with the minimum of 6.0 in all sections), if appropriate.