Fiona French is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, with a PGCTLHE (Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education), an MSc in Internet Technology from 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. She is currently completing a PhD in Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) at The Open University, designing high tech systems for animals to provide sensory and cognitive enrichment. In a previous life, Fiona has worked as an interactive designer at Sky Interactive Productions, as a multimedia developer and language expert for Ideoform Language Project in Barcelona (Spain) and as an EAP and EFL tutor in Glasgow, Newcastle, London, Catania (Italy) and Kavala (Greece).
Recently, Fiona has been developing playful and aesthetically pleasing experiences for elephants – this is detailed in her blog.
Fiona is a member of the Media, Culture and Creative Technologies Research Group and the Learning Technology Research Group at London Met. Her research interests include ACI, HCI, location-based games, digital narrative and interactive fiction, physical computing, toy design and VR.
Fiona teaches game development skills, design and programming to Games Programming BSc (Hons) and Games Animation Modelling BSc (Hons) and effects students. As well as games and gamification to Digital Media MA students and artificial intelligence to a mixed cohort from the School of Computing and Digital Media. She organises the annual school summer show with her colleagues and regularly manages game jam events where professional developers, academics and students can network and share skills.
2020 – French F., Hirsky-Douglas I., Väätäjä, H. Designing Technologies for Playful Interspecies Communication. Virtual workshop in the ACI 2020 conference (November 2020).
2020 – French F., Mancini C., Sharp H. Eine Elefantenperspektive. Article in Tierstudien 18/2020. p111, eds Ullrich J. & Rieger S. www.neofelis-verlag.de ISSN: 2193-8504 / ISBN (Print): 978-3-95808-315-8 / ISBN (PDF): 978-3-95808-304-2
2020 – French F., Mancini C., Sharp H. 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
2019 – French F, Baskin S, Gupfinger R, Webber S, Zamansky A. ZooJamming: Designing Beyond Human Experience. Paper at ICGJ 2019 (International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events) March 2019, San Francisco, USA.
2018 – French F, Gupfinger R, Kendrick P. SoundJam 2018: Acoustic Design For Auditory Enrichment. Workshop in the ACI 2018 conference (December 2018, Atlanta).
2017 – French F, Baskin S, Cheok AD, Nannoni E, Wallace B, Zamansky A. ZooJam 2: Designing enrichment for farm animals. Workshop in the ACI 2017 conference (November 2017).DOI: 10.1145/3152130.3152154
2017 – French F, Mancini H, Sharp H. Exploring Research through Design in Animal-Computer Interaction. Paper at ACI 2017 (November 2017). DOI: 10.1145/3152130.3152147
2017 – French F, Mancini C, Sharp H. High tech cognitive and acoustic enrichment for captive elephants. Journal of Neuroscience Methods Volume 300, 15 April 2018, Pages 173-183.
2016 – French F, Webber S, Campbell M, Kingston-Jones M, Schaller D. Don’t Cut to the Chase: Hunting Experiences for Zoo Animals and Visitors. Workshop proposal in the ACI 2016 conference.http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2995257.3014066
2016 – French F, Mancini C, Sharp H. Exploring methods for interaction design with animals: a case study with Valli. Paper at ACI 2016.
2016 – Webber S, Carter M, Watters J, Krebs B, Mancini C, Sherwen, S., French, F., O'Hara, K. HCI Goes to the Zoo. Workshop in the 2016 CHI Conference.
2015 – French F, Mancini C, Sharp H. Interactive Toys for Elephants. CHI Play 15; Published in Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play.
2014 – French F, Mancini C, Smith N, Sharp H. Designing Smart Toys for the Cognitive Enrichment of Elephants. Presented at AISB 2014 (Artificial Intelligence for the Simulation of Behaviour, Symposium on Intelligent Systems for Animals).
- 2009 – Big Woolwich Txt Game – Commissioned by Stream Arts: participatory art and location-based gaming project, part of London 2012 Open Weekend.
- 2005-06 – Mobile Learning Adventure – Emerald funded project: prototype mobile learning apps for school children.
- 2003 – Animals on the Edge – sponsored by DfES and Nesta Futurelab: technology-enabled treasure hunt designed to facilitate teamwork.
- External examiner: Nottingham Trent University – Multimedia Engineering MSc, Multimedia Games Engineering MSc, 2010-2013.