Ingi Helgason is a Senior Research Fellow in the Interaction Design and Creativity group at Edinburgh Napier University. Her current research focuses on the experiential aspects of human interactions with data-driven technologies. Previously she has worked on European Commission research projects in the H2020, FP7 and FP6 frameworks, and on UK research projects, including the ENSEMBLE project funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)’s call for the Next Generation of Immersive Experiences. The project looked at how musicians can perform live together seamlessly as a group even though they are separated by distance, mediated through cutting-edge connection technologies.

Current projects:

Creative Informatics – delivered by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, Codebase and Creative Edinburgh. Funded by the Creative Industries Clusters Programme and managed by the Arts & Humanities Research Council as part of the Industrial Strategy. The programme is part of the City Region Deal Data Driven Innovation initiative. www.creativeinformatics.org

SpeculativeEdu – an educational, project funded by ERASMUS+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth, and sport, with the aim of strengthening speculative design education by collecting and exchanging existing knowledge and experience whilst developing new methods in the field of speculative design. www.speculativeedu.eu

My research interests include: creativity, interactivity, innovation, and technology-augmented public, shared and social spaces.

My Edinburgh Napier University page


Helgason, I., & Smyth, M. (2020). Ethnographic Fictions: Research for Speculative Design. https://doi.org/10.1145/3393914.3395872

Helgason, I., Smyth, M., Encinas, E., & Mitrović, I. (2020). Speculative and Critical Design in Education: Practice and Perspectives. https://doi.org/10.1145/3393914.3395907 

Lechelt, S., Elsden, C., Helgason, I., Panneels, I., Smyth, M., Speed, C., & Terras, M. (2019). How Can We Balance Research, Participation and Innovation as HCI Researchers?. In Proceedings of the Halfway to the Future Symposium 2019https://doi.org/10.1145/3363384.3363394

Smyth, M. & Helgason, I. (2019). DIY Community WiFi Networks: Insights on Participatory Design. In Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Paper LBW0249, 6 pages. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3290607.3313073

Smyth, M. Helgason, I. Kresin, K. Balestrini, M. Unteidig, A. B. Lawson, S. Gaved, M. Taylor, N. Auger, J. Hansen, L. K. Schuler, D. C. Woods, M. and Dourish, P. (2018). Maker Movements, Do-It-Yourself Cultures and Participatory Design: Implications for HCI Research. In Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Paper W32, 7 pages. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3170427.3170604

Smyth, M. & Helgason, I. (2017). Making and Unfinishedness: Designing Toolkits for Negotiation. Design Journal. 20(sup1), S3966-S3974. doi:10.1080/14606925.2017.1352899. ISSN 1460-6925.

Helgason, I., Petre, M., Linden, J., Dalton, N. (2016). Block 4: Evaluation, TM356 Interaction Design and the User Experience. Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.: The Open University.

Helgason, I., Smyth, M., Rosenbak, S., Mitrovic, I. (2015). Discourse, Speculation And Multidisciplinarity: Designing Urban Futures. In: Nordes 2015, Design Ecologies, Challenging anthropocentrism in the design of sustainable futures. Stockholm, Sweden: Nordic Design Research.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I., Mitrovic, I. (2015). City | Data | Future: Envisioning Interactions in Hybrid Urban Space. In: ACM Creativity and Cognition 2015. Glasgow, UK: ACM Digital Library.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (2015). Life at the Local Scale: An alternative perspective on the urban. In: Hybrid Cities – Data to the People. Athens, Greece.

Trigueiros, P., Smyth, M., Helgason, I., Gallacher, S. (2015). Making Places: Visualization, Interaction and Experience in Urban Space (edited focus section). IxD&A, Interaction Design and Architecture.

Smyth, M. Trigueiros, Helgason, I. Coelho, A. Gallacher, S. Burrows, A. Wunderlich, F. Penha, R. (2014). Making places: visualization, interaction and experience in urban space. In Proceedings of the 8th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Fun, Fast, Foundational (NordiCHI ’14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 813-816. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2639189.2654834

Mitrovic, I., Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (2014). city | data | future – Interactions in Hybrid Urban Space: The UrbanIxD Exhibition. www.urbanixd.eu

Helgason, I., Jensen, L., Rosenbak, S., Skrinjar, L., Smyth, M., Streinzer, A., Surawska, O., Wouters, N. (2013). From Urban Space to Future Place. www.urbanixd.eu

Smyth, M., Helgason, I., Brynskov, M., Mitrovic, I., Zaffiro, G. (2013). UrbanIxD: designing human interactions in the networked city. In: In CHI ’13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’13). (pp. 2533-2536). New York, NY, USA: ACM Association for Computing Machinery.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (2013). Tangible possibilities—envisioning interactions in public space. Digital Creativity, 24(1), 75-87.

Helgason, I., Smyth, M., Speed, C. (2012). Aspects of Lifelikeness: A Framework for Optional Interactions with Public Installations. Designing Interactive Systems DIS 2012, Newcastle, UK.

Helgason, I. (2012). Beat Haiku: Interactive Poetry Application. In: NordiCHI’12 Making sense through design. ACM 978-1-4503-1482-4/12/10: ACM Digital Library.

Helgason, I. (2011, September + October ). Demo Hour: Anthony Otten, Daniel Schulze, Mie Sorensen, Di Mainstone, Tim Murray-Browne . ACM Interactions Magazine, 8.

Helgason, I., Bradley, J., Egan, C., Paechter, B., Hart, E. (2011). This Pervasive Day: Creative Interactive Methods for Encouraging Public Engagement with FET Research . In: Fet 11 essence. Elsevier.

Helgason, I., Bradley, J., Egan, C. (2011, March). This Pervasive Day: Design and Development Case Study. Paper presented at i-Docs, A Symposium on Interactive Documentary, Watershed Media Centre / Bristol, UK.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (2011). Imagining urban interactions: strategies for exploring future design landscapes. In: Proceedings of British HCI. (pp. 41-45).

Smyth, M., Helgason, I., Mitrovic, I., Zaffiro, G. (2011). The City in Cinema: How Popular Culture can Influence Research Agendas. In: Fet 11 essence. Budapest.

Helgason, I. (2010). Interaction design: learning from new-media art. Paper presented at Irish Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Conference, Dublin.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (2010). Informing the Design of the Future Urban Landscape. Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems, Aarhus, Denmark, 2010, 438-440.

Benyon, D., Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (Eds.) (2009). Presence for Everyone – A short guide to presence research.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (2009). Fragments of Place :: Revealing Sense of Place through Shared Phone Images. In: Proceedings of ISEA 09. Belfast, UK.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I. (2009). The secret life of digital images revealed. PerAda Magazine.

Smyth, M., Helgason, I., Benyon, D. (2008). Fragments of Place. In: Bryan-Kinns, N., Lloyd, T., Sheridan, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of (re)Actor3, the Third International Conference on Digital Live Art. (pp. 35-36).


T317 Innovation: designing for change, Open University

TM356 Interaction Design and the User Experience, Open University

Interactive Media Design: School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University

Including teaching on modules: Experiencing the Digital City, Experiential Design, Practical Interaction Design, Honours Project supervision.

Full list of EU projects:

MAZI, Developing a DIY networking toolkit for location-based collective awareness. EU H2020, Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation, 2016-2018 www.mazizone.eu

UrbanIxD, Designing Human Interactions in the Networked City. Co-ordination Action under FP7, FET Open, 2013-2014 www.urbanixd.eu

AWARENESS, Co-ordination Action under FP7, 2010-2013  www.aware-project.eu

PerAda, Co-ordination Action under FP7 on pervasive adaptation, 2008-2011.  www.perada.eu

Peach, FP6 Co-ordination Action (CA) on Presence led by Starlab Barcelona, 2006 – 2009. www.peachbit.org


One of the organisers of This Happened Edinburgh, a series of events focusing on the stories behind interaction design.  This Happened Edinburgh

On the executive committee of the Create series of IxD conferences www.create-conference.org

Program committee of the BCS HCI conference for 2012. HCI 2012 conference, People and Computers

Steering Committee, Create11: interaction design symposium, London, June 2011 www.create-conference.org

This Pervasive Day, exhibition, Edinburgh International Science Festival, April 2011 www.thispervasiveday.com

Create10: interaction design conference, Edinburgh, June/July 2010 www.create-conference.org

Scottish Design Showcase Create09 conference, British Computing Society, London, July 2009


Making places: visualization, interaction and experience in urban space. In Proceedings of the 8th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Fun, Fast, Foundational (NordiCHI ’14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 813-816. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2639189.2654834

Future Interactions: Using Critical Design Approaches to Explore Urban Data Transactions. Nordichi 2012, Copenhagen Futureurbaninteractions.wordpress.com

Urban Friction: Interfacing With The City, FutureEverything Conference 2011, 12th May, Manchester, UK, futureeverything.org

The City in Cinema: How Popular Culture can Influence Research Agendas, FET Conference 2011, 5th May, Budapest, Hungary, wp.me/PA6Sd-3u

Informing the Design of the Future Urban Landscape, Designing Interactive Systems conference, DIS 2010, 17th August, Aarhus, Denmark, www.urbanixd.org

The Body and the Urban Space : designing for connection between the augmented human and the intensely technological environment. Taking inspiration from ethnographic design research methods, this workshop takes an experimental approach to the recording of human activities.

Create09, July 2009   PERADA Summer School, June 2009   FET 09, April 2009

Fragments of place: (interactive installation) exhibited at:

Create08 conference, British Computing Society, London, June 2008

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2008, The GRV, Edinburgh

(re)Actor3: the 3rd International Conference on Digital Live Art. pdf

Presence08: Oct 16-18th, Padova, Italy