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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. My approach is informed by ethnographic and ethnomethodological traditions supported by the theoretical framework of Research through Design. I have considerable experience of how research can be integrated with practice.

 

My research masters 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 digital technology to enhance cross-cultural appreciation of, and engagement with cultural heritage.

 

I have continued to pursue these themes, most recently using novel mobile and gesture-based interactive technology installations to capture non-verbal emotion and storytelling from the act of producing Chinese painting and calligraphy. I am currently exploring how technology might be used to enhance the cross-cultural experience in the city of Suzhou with the Government of Jiangsu Province, China.