Dr. Katharine S. Willis
Associate Research Fellow Graduate School Locating Media/Situierte Medien
Graduate School „Locating Media/Situierte Medien“
University of Siegen
Am Eichenhang 50
Phone: +49 271 / 740-3064
Mobile: +49 177 / 5436591
The physical geography of the city with its streets, squares and neighbourhoods is becoming overlaid with the media space of digital communication and information networks. This interdisciplinary research will investigate, primarily through quantitative social methods, the characteristics of these media places and the social behaviours associated with using locative media in urban public space. It will focus on the way in which we use physical settings as backgrounds for social encounters and investigate the role of meeting places and the sites for using locative media in two stages of work. The first stage of the research will use behavioural mapping methods to study the role and siting of meeting places with locative media in urban public space in two comparative settings. The second phase will use mental mapping techniques in conjunction with mobile in-situ interviews with local residents to uncover how they perceive and act on the spatial features and structure of their environment when they are interacting with media. The outcome of the research will be an understandingof the spatiality of locative media practices in urban public space and more generally the consequences for social cohesion.
2009: Dr.-Ing. (magna cum laude), Fachbereich Medien, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
2003: Master in Architecture (commendation), Bartlett School of Architecture, U.C.L., University of London, UK
1998: Diploma in Architecture (commendation), Bartlett School of Architecture, U.C.L., University of London, UK
1993: Bachelor BA (Hons) Architecture, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Fields of interest
Katharine Willis’s recent research studies the changes in everyday behaviours of people using locative media and is based on the premise that our spatial environment provides orientation and structure to our movements and actions. She has developed both a theoretical approach to understanding the characteristics of layered media spaces and also a series of inter-disciplinary methodologies for investigating the perception and experience of mobile and wireless technologies in urban public space. Katharine Willis’s academic career has been advanced in an interdisciplinary environment; she attained a doctorate (magna cum laude) in the Department of Media and Bachelor and Masters (commendation) in Architecture. She completed her doctoral research initially in the project ‘Spatial Cognition’ at the University of Bremen, and after this in the department of Media on a two year interdisciplinary MEDIACITY project at Bauhaus University Weimar (Urban Sociology, Media and Architecture), where she was an EU Marie Curie Research Fellow. Since 2008 she has worked on the interdisciplinary Locating Media Graduate School, FB3 ‘Mediawissenschaft’ at the University of Siegen, Germany.
Research Topic: The effect of the emergence of urban informatics on Urban legibility
This research is concerned with investigating the perception and experience of mobile and wireless technologies in urban public space.
Key Areas of Work
• Addressed the changing nature of visual perception on our interaction with mobile and wireless technologies in an urban spatial world.
• Conceptual approach to defining how perception and learning is changed through out interaction with mobile and wireless technologies.
• Innovative empirical studies on how mobile spatial technologies affect spatial knowledge acquisition in the environment (Willis et al. 2009c, Willis et al. 2009b, Willis 2009b), and the consequent change in the environmental image of urban public space.
This work was published in a number of book chapters: Willis, K. (2008). Spaces, Settings and Connections. In: Aurigi, A., De Cindio, F. (Eds). Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, pp. 9-27., and Willis, K. (2009). Information Places: Interfaces Between Physical and Digital Space. In: M. Foth (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City (pp. 206-218). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. It also formed the basis of the topic of the conference Mediacity 2008, Weimar Germany and the book published as an outcome of the conference: Eckardt, F./Geelhaar, J./Colini, L./Willis, K./ Chorianopoulos, K./Hennig, R. (Eds). Mediacity: Situations, Practices and Encounters. Berlin: Frank & Timme GmbH, pp. 9-26.
Research Topic: The changes in the nature of shared experience in the city as affected by the use of locative technologies
A second related area of work approaches the way that space is perceived and constructed through social behaviours with media. This considered the creation of social settings and ‘places’ through shared behaviour, the sociality of information creation, the types of exchanges as well as the content, its location, evaluation and use.
Key Areas of Work
• Developed a conceptual approach to understanding people to people interactions in urban space (Willis et al. 2010a).
• Defined the topic of ‘shared encounters’; the situated nature of social behaviour as affected by the use of urban informatics in the city.
• Reinterpretation of the concept of urban legibility (Lynch 1960) in the context of the use of mobile and wireless technology using mental mapping techniques and related methods from psychology (Willis 2008c, Willis 2007).
• Undertook qualitative observational methodologies in urban public space in a series of studies of how people used spatial characteristics to structure media use and also how they perceived behaviours with wireless media in spatial terms (Willis 2008b, Willis 2008a).
• Established empirically that mobile and wireless media were conceived in terms of social connections in the urban space and the possibilities for behaviour rather than the spatial characteristics and visual features of the environment.
This topic has to date resulted in a CHI07 workshop, and an edited book: Willis, K., Chorianopoulos, K., Struppek, M., Roussos, G. (Eds) (2010). Shared Encounters. New York: Springer; a Mobile HCI2009 workshop: Willis, K., Cheverst, K., Mueller, C., Abend, P., Neufeldt, C. (2009). Community Practices and Locative Media. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services. Bonn, Germany. New York: ACM, pp. 1 -4.; and a series of conference publications.
WS 2010/2011 Bachelor, University of Siegen, Germany
SS 2010 Bachelor, University of Siegen, Germany
WS 2009/2010 Bachelor and Masters, University of Siegen, Germany
SS 2009 Mediaspace, Bachelor, University of Siegen, Germany
WS 2007/2008 Bachelor, University of Weimar, Germany
SS 2007 Information Places, Bachelor & Masters, University of Weimar, Germany
WS 2006/2007 Space and Place, Bachelor & Masters, University of Weimar, Germany
Conferences and Workshops
Co-organiser, Locative Media, Presence and Memory Workshop, Communities and technologies Conference 2011, Brisbane, Australia, June 2011
Moderator Mediacity 2010, Bauhaus University of Weimar, Germany, 28-30 October 2010
Organiser Performing Places workshop at EASST 2010, September 2010, Trento, Italy
Organiser Locative Media and Community Practices Workshop, MobileHCI09, Bonn, Germany, 15 September 2009
Paper 5th IET International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE09), July 21st 2009
Co-organiser MEDIACITY Conference, University of Weimar, January 2008
Organiser Shared Encounters Workshop, CHI2007, April 28 – May 3, 2007, San Jose, USA
Panel presentation, Atmosphere 2011: Mediated Cities, University of Manitoba, Canada, 4th February 2011
Invited Presentation, Vermessung des Urbanen 3.0, Ev Akademie Tutzing, Germany, 14 January 2011
Presentation, Hyperkult 2010, July 2010, Lueneburg, Germany
Paper, Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia 2009, Cambridge, UK, 22 November 2009
Presentation, Raum als Interface Panel, GFM Conference, Wien, Austria, 1 October 2009
Presentation Shift Festival, Graz, 27 October 2007
Paper, 3rd IET International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE07), September 2007
Presentation, Locative Media Summer Conference, Siegen, Germany, September 3 to 5, 2007
Presentation, Branded Meeting Places Symposium, University of Edinburgh, 25-26 June 2007
Lecture, Department of Computer Science, University of Lancaster, UK, June 2007
Paper Performing Places Conference, Helsinki, 7-9 November 2006
Paper British HCI Conference 2006, 11 September 2006
Paper EASST Conference, Lausanne, Switzerland, 24-28 August 2006
Paper Urban Spaces and Private Quarters Panel at Conference for Technological and Aesthetical, Darmstadt, Germany, 12 October 2005
Edited volumes (books and journals)
Willis, K./Chorianopoulos, K./Struppek, M./Roussos, G. (Eds) (2010). Shared Encounters. New York u.a.: Springer.
Eckhardt, F./Geelhaar, J./Colini, L./ Willis, K./ Chorianopoulos, K./ Hennig, R. (Hrsg.) (2008a). Mediacity: Situations, Practices and Encounters. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
Willis, K./O’Hara, K./Giles, T./Marienek, M. (2010a). Sharing Knowledge about Places as Community Building. In: Willis, K./Chorianopoulos, K./Struppek, M./Roussos, G. (Eds). Shared Encounters. New York u.a.: Springer, pp. 291 – 308.
Willis, K./Hoelscher, C./Wilbertz, G. (2009c). Understanding Mobile Spatial Interaction in Urban Environments. In: Minker, W./Weber, M./Kameas, A./Hagras, H./Callaghan, V. (Eds). Advanced Intelligent Environments. Dodrecht/London: Springer 2009, pp. 61-68.
Willis, K. (2009b). Wayfinding Situations. In: Eckhardt, F./Geelhaar, J./Colini, L./ Willis, K./ Chorianopoulos, K./ Hennig, R. (Hrsg.) (2008). Mediacity: Situations, Practices and Encounters. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
Willis, K. (2009a). Information Places: Interfaces Between Physical and Digital Space. In: Foth, M. (Ed). Urban Informatics. Baltimore: ICS Global, pp. 206-218.
Willis, K. (2008c). Spaces, Settings and Connections. In: Aurigi, A./De Cindio, F. (Eds). Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, pp. 9-27.
Willis, K. (2007a). Situated Interactions: Spatial Setting and Mobile and Wireless Technologies. In: Encyclopaedia of Mobile and Wireless Communications. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Page, pp. 613-621.
Willis, K. (2007). Sensing Place: Mobile and Wireless Technologies and Urban Space. In: Frers, L./Meier, L. (Eds). Encountering Urban Places − Visual and Material Performances in the City. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, pp. 155-170.
Willis, K. (2010). Hidden Treasure: Sharing Local Information. In: Aether Journal of Media Theory, Volume 5a, March 2010.
Willis, K./Hoelscher, C./Wilbertz, G./Li, C. (2009b). A Comparison of Spatial Knowledge Acquisition with Maps and Mobile Maps. In: Special Issue of Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 33 (2), pp. 100-110.
Mody, R./Willis, K./Kerstein, R.(2009d). WiMo: Location-based Emotion Tagging. In: Proceedings of the 8th international Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, Cambridge, United Kingdom, November 22 - 25, 2009. ACM, New York, NY, pp. 1-4.
Willis, K./Cheverst, K./Mueller, C./Abend, P./Neufeldt, C. (2009a). Community Practices and Locative Media. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services. Bonn, Germany. New York: ACM, pp. 1 -4.
Willis, K. (2008a). Information Places: Defining Settings for Locative Media. In: Proceedings of Intelligent Environments, Barcelona, Spain. IOS Press, Amsterdam, Netherlands, pp. 349-354.
Willis, K./Holescher, C./Wilbertz, G. (2007b). Understanding Mobile Spatial Interaction in Urban Environments. In: Proceedings of 3rd IET International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE07), Ulm, Germany, pp. 61-68.
Willis, K./Chorianopoulos, K./Struppek, M./Roussos, G. (2007). Shared Encounters. In: CHI '07 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, San Jose, CA/New York: ACM, pp. 2881-2884.
Chorianopoulos, K./Willis, K./Colini, L./Teran, M. (2006). Dousing for Dummies: Methods for Raising Public Awareness of Invisible Communication Networks. In: Adjunct Proceedings of British Human Computer Interaction conference 2006, 11-15 September 2006, London.
Li, C./Willis, K. (2006b). Modeling Context Aware Interaction for Wayfinding Using Mobile Devices. In: Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Helsinki, Finland, Vol. 159. New York: ACM Press, pp. 97-100.
Giles, T./Marienek, M./Willis, K./Geelhaar, J. (2007). Hide and Seek. In: Poster Proceedings of Fifteenth ACM International Conference on Multimedia, Augsburg, Germany.
Li, C./Willis, K. (2006a). Dynamic Aspects of Interaction in Wayfinding Tasks. In: Poster Proceedings, Spatial Cognition Conference, Bremen, Germany.
Willis, K (2010a). Being in Two Places at Once: The Experience of Proximity with Locative Media. In: Haupts, T./Mueller, C./Abend, P.(Hrsg.) (2010). Medialität der Nähe. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.
Willis, K./Cheverst, K. (Guest Editors) (accepted for publication in 2009). Locative Media and Communities. In: Special Issue of International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.
Struppek, M./Willis, K. (2007). Botfighter: A Game that Surrounds You. In: Borries, v. F./Walz, S.P./Böttger, M. (Hrsg.). Space Time Play. Basel: Birkhaeuser, pp. 226- 227.
Willis, K./Hoelscher, C./Li, C. (2007a). Differences in Spatial Knowledge for Maps and Mobile Maps. In: Frings, C. et al. (Hrsg.). Proceedings of Cognitively Adequate navigation Systems Workshop, KogWis 07, Saarbrucken, Germany.
Willis, K. (2006). Identity in Spatial Settings as Mediated by Mobile and Wireless Technologies. EASST Conference, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Willis, K. (2005d). Space/Place: Urban Public Space and New Media Technologies. International Conference: Technisierung/Ästhetisierung - Technological and Aesthetic (Trans)Formations of Society, 12–14 October 2005, Darmstadt, Germany.
Willis, K. (2005c). Situated Cognition in the Use of Mobile Devices for Wayfinding Tasks. In: Mobile Maps 05 Workshop at Seventh International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services 2000, Salzburg, Austria.
Willis, K. (2005b). Mind the Gap: Mobile Applications and Wayfinding. In: Workshop for User Experience Design for Pervasive Computing, Pervasive 2005, Munich, Germany.
Willis, K. (2005a). Passing Through: Perception of Place and Mobility. Cruising Country Conference, Sydney, Australia.
Akademie Schloss Solitude Stipendium
DAAD Doctoral Scholarship 2006
Program Committee member: CHI2009, IE2010, LocWeb 2009
Reviewer Geography Compass, GIS Science CAME workshop 2006, IJHCS