Community Displays in Wray

My PhD research at Lancaster University centered on the design and deployment of public situated displays in Wray, a small village in North West England.

This research had two strands:

  1. How can public digital displays support village community?
  2. How can we work with individual communities to develop technologies that are sensitive to local concerns?

We worked closely with residents over four years to iteratively develop public displays, beginning with the Wray Photo Display, a very simple prototype designed to act as a technology probe, which eventually led to WrayDisplay, a fully-featured digital noticeboard. Over this time, displays were deployed in the village’s shop, community centre, café and pub, where the were used to collect thousands of photos covering all aspects of village life. Particularly successful was the collection of historical photos of Wray, many of which were made public for the first time via the display.

Although active research on the project concluded in 2010, we continue to reflect on our experiences in Wray, particularly the process and ethics of handing over a research prototype to the community in a sustainable manner. Aspects of this research have also fed into the subsequent SHARC project at Lancaster, exploring the use of technology for shared curation of local history.

Key Publications

Taylor, N., Cheverst, K., Wright, P. and Olivier, P. (2013). Leaving the wild: lessons from community technology handoversProceedings of CHI 2013, ACM, 1549–1558. doi:10.1145/2470654.2466206(Honorable Mention Award)

Taylor, N. and Cheverst, K. (2012). Supporting community awareness with situated displaysIEEE Computer 45(5), 26–32. doi:10.1109/MC.2012.113.

Taylor, N. and Cheverst, K. (2010). Creating a rural community display with local engagement. Proceedings of DIS 2010, ACM, 218–227. doi:10.1145/1858171.1858209.

Taylor, N. and Cheverst, K. (2009). Social interaction around a rural community photo displayInternational Journal of Human–Computer Studies 67(12), 1037–1047. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2009.07.006.

Taylor, N., Cheverst, K., Fitton, D., Race, N.J.P., Rouncefield, M. and Graham, C. (2007). Probing communities: study of a village photo display. Proceedings of OZCHI 2007, ACM, 17–24. doi:10.1145/1324892.1324896(Runner-Up, Best Paper)

Funding Details

Funded by a Microsoft Research European PhD Scholarship. Oct 2007–Sep 2010.