Fiona French

Dr Fiona French is an Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Digital Media. She is course leader for BSc Games Programming and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Her research focuses on the field of Animal-Computer Interaction.

Fiona French, a female lecturer with a short bob, gazes at the camera.

More about Fiona French

Fiona has a PhD in Computing from The Open University (User Experience for Elephants: Researching Interactive Enrichment through Design and Craft). She also has an MSc in Internet Technology from the University of Greenwich, an MA in Media Technology from the University of Newcastle, and an MA in Arts and Social Sciences from the University of Aberdeen.

Fiona teaches classes related to the design and creation of playful interactive experiences, in particular games and toys. She's the course leader for BSc Games Programming, and manages various modules, including Artificial Intelligence, AI for Games, Game Design and Development, Augmented Toy Development, Games and Gamification, Creative Technology Project and Research-Related Learning. She is very enthusiastic about cross-disciplinary collaborations, sharing skills and developing novel interactive experiences that incorporate a range of sensory modalities.

Fiona researches how playful technology can be used to support the welfare and enrich the lives of all animals. She regularly organises ZooJam workshops at the annual Animal-Computer Interaction conference, where people form small teams, discuss species-specific design briefs and devise exciting tech-enabled solutions. She founded the Multispecies Interaction Design research group in 2021, and is currently involved in projects with elephants and a range of nocturnal species.

Find out more about her research with different animals (including humans) on Fiona's blog.

  • French F, Levi D, Maczo C, Simonaityte A, Triantafyllidis S, Varda G. 2023. Creative Use of OpenAI in Education: Case Studies from Game Development. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2023; 7(8):81. Open Access. 
  • French, F., Mancini, C., Martin, C.F. 2022. Sensory Jam: Exploring Other Sensibilities - beyond human senses and aesthetics. Workshop paper at the Ninth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, Dec 5-8, 2022, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. 
  • French, F., Terry, C.; Huq, S.; Furieri, I.; Jarzembinski, M.; Pauliukenas, S.; Morrison, N.; Shepherd, K. 2022. Expressive Interaction Design Using Facial Muscles as Controllers. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2022, 6, 78. Open Access. 
  • French, F. 2022. Expanding Aesthetics. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Vol. 9, 2022. Open Access. DOI=10.3389/fvets.2022.855087 ISSN=2297-1769 
  • French, F., Williams, L., Coe, J., Fernandez, E., Martin, C., Single, L. 2021. ReptileJam: Designing Enrichment for Reptiles in Captivity. ZooJam workshop at Eight International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI'21), Nov 08-11, Bloomington, Indiana, USA. 
  • French F., Hirsky-Douglas I., Väätäjä, H., Chisik, Y., Karl, S., Kasuga, H., Mangat, M., Nannoni, E., Paci, P., Pons, P., Vilker, D., Zamansky, A. 2021. Ethics and Power Dynamics in Playful Technology for Animals: Using speculative design to provoke reflection. Academic MindTrek 2021, June 1-3, Tampere, Finland. ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-8514-5/21/06. 
  • French F., Mancini C., Sharp H. 2020. Eine Elefantenperspektive. Article in Tierstudien 18/2020. p111, eds Ullrich J. & Rieger S. ISSN: 2193-8504 / ISBN (Print): 978-3-95808-315-8 / ISBN (PDF): 978-3-95808-304-2
  • French F., Mancini C., Sharp H. 2020. More than Human Aesthetics: Interactive Enrichment for Elephants. Paper at DIS 2020 (Designing Interactive Systems). July 2020, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Honorary Mention and Diversity and Inclusion Award.
  • French F, Baskin S, Gupfinger R, Webber S, Zamansky A. 2019. ZooJamming: Designing Beyond Human Experience. Paper at ICGJ 2019 (International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events) March 2019, San Francisco, USA. 
  • French F, Gupfinger R, Kendrick P. 2018. SoundJam: Acoustic Design For Auditory Enrichment. Workshop paper in the ACI 2018 conference (December 2018, Atlanta). 
  • French F, Mancini C, Sharp H. High tech cognitive and acoustic enrichment for captive elephants. 2017. Journal of Neuroscience Methods Volume 300, 15 April 2018, Pages 173-183. 
  • French F, Mancini H, Sharp H. 2017. Exploring Research through Design in Animal-Computer Interaction. Paper at ACI 2017 (November 2017). DOI: 10.1145/3152130.3152147 
  • French F, Mancini C, Sharp H. 2016. Exploring methods for interaction design with animals: a case study with Valli. Paper at ACI 2016. DOI: 
  • French F, Mancini C, Sharp H. 2015. Interactive Toys for Elephants. CHI Play 15; Published in Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play. 
  • French F, Mancini C, Smith N, Sharp H. 2014. Designing Smart Toys for the Cognitive Enrichment of Elephants: Presented at AISB 2014 (Artifical Intelligence for the Simulation of Behaviour, Symposium on Intelligent Systems for Animals). 
  • French F, Baker C, Raskob E, Rothwell N. 2012. The Life Project. Paper at Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012). DOI: 10.14236/ewic/EVA2012.21

Fiona's full list of publications are available on the London Met repository.

  • 2009 Stream Arts commission for London 2012 Open Weekend: 'Big Woolwich Txt Game' - location-based public engagement game
  • 2006 Emerald Funding: 'Mobile Learning Adventure' - to engage schoolchildren with sporting activities
  • 2003 Arts Council funded environmental awareness community project: 'Gunpowder Park'
  • 2003 Nesta Futurelab and DfES funded 'Animals on the Edge' - mobile treasure hunt
  • Member of Animal Welfare Research Network, Interdisciplinary Engagement Officer on ECR committee (since 2022)
  • Member of Association for Study of Animal Behaviour
  • Animal-Computer Interaction Conference 2023 – Organising Committee Member: Workshop Co-Chair

Dr Fiona French
Associate Professor in School of Computing and Digital Media