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SHICHAO ZHAO 

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I am an interdisciplinary researcher with a background including fine art, product design, human-computer-interaction and cultural heritage. I am also a traditional Chinese painter and calligrapher with exhibited work. I draw on multiple design methods to investigate how technologies and design methodologies can be used in cultural heritage contexts. My approach is informed by ethnographic and ethnomethodological traditions supported by the theoretical framework of Research through Design. 

During my masters, my research focused on the user experience of product design, and how Chinese traditional art could be integrated with technology. Research at the International Design Institute (Zhejiang University) enabled me to explore these themes with global companies (Casio, Philips, and Alibaba). My doctoral research (in partnership with the Shanghai Theatre Academy) explored the design of interactive technologies to support the cultural appreciation and experience of an important class of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage, Chinese puppetry. I developed a practical method of deconstructing elements from performances (dialect and gestures), and then created a foundational framework to assist non-Chinese communities better understand the cultural significance of these components. My work demonstrated the potential for interactive technology to enhance cross-cultural appreciation of, and engagement with cultural heritage.

 

Since 2020, I started a Postdoctoral Researcher position in Digital Archaeology and Heritage at Bournemouth University. My role was to contribute to exploring potential collaborative research opportunities and grants in different subjects and with multiple departments. After this, I was a Research Fellow in Participatory Research Communication Design in the School of Design at the University of Leeds. I utilised participatory action research (PAR) as the main method to explore the use of interactivity to reach out to different audiences and demonstrate how art-based projects tackle societal challenges through online exhibitions in a Horizon 2020 research project titled ‘Acting on the Margins: Arts as Social Sculpture (AMASS)’. Currently, I am a Lecturer in Innovation and Emerging Technology in the Innovation School at Glasgow School of Art.