My name is Helen and I’m a multidisciplinary professional versed in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) approach. In 2018 I completed a PhD in Interactive Interface Design. The disciplines I worked with are:
User experience (UX)
Human Computer Interaction (HCI)
Rather than gaining an expertise in only one discipline, a multidisciplinary approach means that I can combine knowledge and methodologies from diverse fields of research, merging creativity with structured procedures.
Personal Project Portfolio
The aim of my research was to design and explore an agent that could be applied in shape-shifting, tangible, interface technology. These types of shape-shifting or morphing interfaces are ideally made up of many thousands of smaller parts working together.
If it sounds very much like science fiction, then that would be an accurate impression. Some of the most interesting technological developments initially began as an idea from someone’s imagination. In my case there are two main inspirations that most aptly explain what my research is about: Big Hero 6 (an animated film by Disney) and a hive of fire ants (solenopsis invicta).
The STEAM approach is a key aspect of my research and is evident in both the final product but also in the design process itself.
Art and creativity play a big role in my life and enable me to make the right decision at pivotal moments in my research, both academically and personally. I engage with projects varying from origami, 3D printing, and laser cutting( engraving, construction) and handcrafts of all types (lace & cable knitting, crocheting, sewing, batik, etc.).
Sorting and organizing data is of great interest to me. Ordering disorder is a continuous, cyclical process that’s fosters problem solving. Though it can be a challenge I have found it stimulates and promotes my creativity.
What is a Multidisciplinary Professional?
When someone says they’re a teacher, doctor, engineer, lawyer, material scientist, etc. everyone has a good idea what that person does. Being a multidisciplinary professional means having an expertise in developing a good, working knowledge in multiple, unique disciplines but that have some relation to each other. Sound familiar? If your mind is wandering towards the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ let me cut to the chase.
Whilst it is necessary to have experts, it is also necessary to train multidisciplinary professionals that can communicate between discipline boundaries. The understanding of knowledge must be deep enough to be able to use, apply and translate the knowledge correctly. It is important not to delve too deeply into one specific topic as it defeats the purpose of training a multidisciplinary expertise.
Handling knowledge in this manner is inextricably linked to developing good communication skills. This relates not only to interpersonal skills but also translating discipline specific knowledge into other different levels of comprehension, e.g. from a lab to a public environment. Because of the diversity in the knowledge, it is possible to learn how to adapt, combine and link knowledge. A skill that is fostered by this method is flexibility of perspective and seeing potential rationalizations.