Dr Kirk Woolford

Associate Professor of Creative Technologies

Medical Technology Research Centre

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Research Supervision:Yes

Kirk’s role includes strategic development of cross faculty research and innovation linking creative disciplines into areas of research within the greater university, and with partners in video games, screen media, and technology industries.


[email protected]


Dr Kirk Woolford is a pioneer in the field of Immersive Media, having created his first interactive works in the early 1990s, as a method of exploring cultures and technologies. Kirk has a hybrid background with nearly 40 years of industry and academic experience, co-founding video games and interactive media companies in New York, London, and Amsterdam, and working with clients including Adobe, BBC2, Channel Four, Economist Magazine, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, and Sky Television. He has raised over £5M in research and investor funding. His creative work has featured at international festivals and venues such as the Venice Biennale, ARCO Madrid, Art Cologne, P.S.1. (MoMA), Shanghai eArts, Ars Electronica, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, and broadcast in the UK (BBC & C4), Germany, Netherlands, Austria, USA, et al.

Most recently, Kirk has co-developed immersive performances with the Emmy-winning film composer Michael Price, music videos with Imogen Heap, created games and interactive elements for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, and developed games for stroke rehabilitation.

Kirk joins ARU after 6 years as Reader in Digital Media Arts at the University of Surrey. Prior to this, he held cross-disciplinary lectureships at the Universities of Lancaster & Sussex, and research posts in Germany and the Netherlands.

Kirk has published widely in movement and computing, digital humanities, creative technologies, performance technologies, serious games, and practice research.

Spoken Languages

  • American and British English
  • German
  • Dutch

Research interests

Kirk’s research focuses on the role of the individual creative practitioner within the creative industries and in transdisciplinary research: particularly in areas of health and wellbeing, intangible cultural heritage (aka performance), and application of creative technologies for understanding the values of natural environments.

  • Art/Technology collaborations
  • AR/VR/XR and Immersive Media
  • Visualisation and Simulation
  • Movement and Computing
  • Interactive Physiotherapy
  • Natural vs Mediated Environments
  • Values of Nature
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Digital Arts
  • Digital Humanities
  • Digital Photography
  • Practice Research
  • Creative Economies
  • Creative and Critical Practices
  • Non-textual research outputs

Areas of research supervision

  • Digital Media Arts
  • Serious Games
  • Immersive Performance
  • Interactive Media
  • Experience Design
  • Scenography
  • Data visualization
  • Medical Illustration
  • Creative and Critical Practices
  • Photography
  • Animation
  • Site-specific performance
  • Environmental Arts

Recently Completed practice-based PhDs:

  • Ian Grant, “Shadows, Touch and Digital Puppeteering: A Media Archaeological Approach”
  • Cecile Chevalier, “Cultural Memory, Identity and Body Dementia in digital culture”

Co-supervision and examinations:

  • “Making Reading Fleshly: Embodiment through movement, Emission and Mapping of Interactive art works”
  • “Utilising Medical Illustration to Improve Understanding & Communication of Pathogenesis of Rare Disease Systems.”
  • “The Subtle Body and its cathartic relevance in dance and performance art”
  • “Inherent Interaction in Software for Creative Practice”
  • “The Architecture of Engagement”
  • Analysis of Dance on Hand-held Devices, and the Extent to Which Digital Theoretical Writing Might be Brought to the Analysis of Cyberdance"
  • The dance theatre image: considerations and strategies for developing the body as an instrument of creative/subjective expression”
  • "Establishing a Critical Framework for the Appraisal of ‘Noise’ in Contemporary Sound Art with Specific Reference to the Practices of Yasunao Tone, Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda"
  • "Corporeality and the Knowledge of the Body as a Tool for Interdisciplinary Composition and Performance"
  • "The Death of Painting? Values in Contemporary Art"
  • "Realism in Contemporary Painting"


  • PhD on the basis of Published Works, University of Surrey: reCreate, reMove, and rePlace: Digital Media Arts in Academia
  • Master of Science: Design, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL
  • Bachelor of Science, Double Major: Computer Science/Mathematics and Humanities, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH)
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI)
  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College (2008-2016)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Research Council Funding:

  • Primary Investigator (PI), vRSP: virtual (Re)Sounding of Place” AHRC/EPSRC Next Generation of Immersive Experiences, AH/R010161/1, £59,347.63, 2018, PI: Kirk Woolford, CI: Tony Myatt, Industry Partner: Michael Price
  • Primary Investigator (PI), vRSP Follow-on AHRC Follow-on Funding Impact & Engagement, AH/S010610/1, £32,168, 2019, PI: Kirk Woolford, CI: Tony Myatt, Industry Partner: Michael Price
  • Primary Investigator (PI), Now/Then: Documenting, Publishing and Disseminating Objects & Experiences, AHRC Skill Development fund, AH/K004719/1, £3,000, 2013, PI: Kirk Woolford, CI: Cecile Chevalier
  • Primary Investigator (PI), Motion in Place Platform (MiPP), AHRC, Digital Equipment and Databases for Impact(DEDEFI), AH/H037675/1, £434,345, 2010-2013, PI: Kirk Woolford; CIs, Norman (Sussex), White (Sussex), Hedges (Kings), Bailey (Bedford)
  • Co-Investigator, Breakdown Harmonica, 2015-2016, AHRC Digital Transformations, AH/M010279/1, £39,251.35, PI: Erma Johnson-Jones, CI: Kirk Woolford
  • Co-Investigator, CREATOR: New Research Processes and Business Models for the Creative Industries, EPSRC, Joint RCUK Digital Economies cluster grant, £210,363, PI: Steve Benford (Nottingham); CIs: Foster (Sheffield), Woolford (Lancaster)

University Funding:

  • Primary Investigator (PI), Motion Base: Motion Analysis initial support for commercialization of research and development of a prototype stroke rehabilitation game, £50,326, PI Woolford, University of Sussex, Enterprise Development Fund (2012-13)
  • Primary Investigator (PI), Rings Around interactive installation, £5,876, Creative Campus Initiative, U. Sussex & Brighton University (2009)
  • Co-Investigator, STAGE: Platform for STrategic Alignment with the Games and Entertainment Industry, University of Surrey, Cross-Faculty Research Fund, with matched industry funding, Joint Centre for Vision, Speech, and Signal Processing (CVSSP, School of Engineering and, Physical Sciences) and Digital Media Arts (School of Arts), £5,000 University of Surrey, £2,000 CRS (Industry sponsor) (2015)
  • Co-Investigator, Observing Nature, Performing Ecology, Lancaster University seed funding Grant, Observing Nature, Performing Ecology £3,500, with Richard Bardgett (Environmental Science) and Carl Lavery (Theatre Studies)
  • Named Researcher, Going Digital: A Creative introduction to digital humanities research skills, AHRC Skill Development fund, £59,900, PI: Pamela Cox (Essex), Consortium for Humanities and the Arts - South-East England (CHASE) (2012-13)

Selected recent publications

Journal Articles:

Claire Nee, Martin White, Kirk Woolford, Tudor Pascu, Leon Barker & Lucy Wainwright (2014): New methods for examining expertise in burglars in natural and simulated environments: preliminary findings, Psychology, Crime & Law, DOI: 10.1080/1068316X.2014.989849

Woolford, K., Dunn, S, (2013) “Experimental Archaeology and Serious Games: Challenges of Inhabiting Virtual Heritage”, ACM Journal of Computing and Cultural Heritage, 6, pp 16:1–16:15. doi:10.1145/2532630.2532632

Woolford, K. (2013) “New Photography: A Perverse Confusion Between the Real and the Live”, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Vol. 19, No. 3, Leonardo Electronic Almanac. Leonardo/ISAST, pp. 88–107. ISBN 978-1-906897-22-2

Woolford, K, Blackwell, A, Norman, S, Chevalier, C. (2010) “Crafting a Critical Technical Practice”, Leonardo, MIT Press, vol 43, pp. 202-203. (ISSN:0024-094X, doi:10.1162/leon.2010.43.2.202)

Norman, S, Blackwell, A, Woolford, K, (2010) “Gesture and Embodied Interaction: Capturing Motion/Data/Value”, Leonardo, MIT Press, vol 43, pp. 198-199. (ISSN:0024-094X, doi:10.1162/leon.2010.43.2.202)

Woolford. K. (2006) “Will.0.w1sp (‘willo-wisp’), Performance Research, 11(4), pp.30–38. DOI: 10.1080/13528160701363309

Book Chapters:

Woolford K, Dunn S., (2014) "Micro-Mobilities and Affordances of Past Places", Past Mobilities: Archaeological Approaches to Movement and Mobility, Leary, J., ed. Ashgate Publishing: Farnham, pp. 113-128. ISBN: 978-1-4094-6445-7

Dunn, S, Woolford, K., (2013) “Reconfiguring experimental archaeology using 3D reconstruction”, Electronic Visualisation in Arts and Culture, Springer Verlag 2013 pp 277-291, DOI:10.1007/978-1-4471-5406-8_19 Woolford, K., (2008) “Recognising Ourselves: Will.0.w1sp, Mirror Neurons, and Biological Motion”, TeDance: Perspectives on Technologically Expanded Dance, ed. Daniel Tércio, Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, pp. 121-129. (ISBN: 987-972-735-160-2)

Atzori, P and Woolford, K. (1997) “Extended-Body: Interview with Stelarc”, Digital Delirium, eds. Arthur Kroker, Marilouise Kroker, St. Martin's Press, 1997, pp 194-199.

Conference Proceedings:

Beaumont, N. (ed), Woolford, K., et al (2020), “Demystifying Interdisciplinary Working (in Valuing Nature)”, Valuing Nature Paper VNP25.

Woolford, K., (2017) " Breakdown Harmonica: Extending Laban Notation with Video Game Development Tools", Proceedings of the 2017 International Workshop on Movement and Computing (MOCO '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, DOI=10.1145/3077981.3078051.

Woolford, K., (2015) "Defining accuracy in the use of Kinect v2 for exercise monitoring", Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Movement and Computing (MOCO '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 112-119. DOI=10.1145/2790994.2791002

Woolford, K. (2014) "Capturing Human Movement in the Wild", in Proceedings of the 2014 International Workshop on Movement and Computing (MOCO '14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Pages 19-25 DOI=10.1145/2617995.2617999

England, D., Spence, C. Latulip, C., Edmonds, E., Candy, L., Bryan-Kinns, N., Schiphorst, T., Woolford, K. (2014) "Curating the Digital: Spaces for Art and Interaction", CHI '14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 21-24. DOI=10.1145/2559206.2559222

David England, Jocelyn C. Spence, Celine E. Latulipe, Ernest A. Edmonds, Linda Candy, Thecla Schiphorst, Nick Bryan-Kinns, and Kirk Woolford. (2014). "Art and interaction SIG: cataloging the digital arts", Proceedings of the extended abstracts of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI EA '14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1115-1118. DOI=10.1145/2559206.2559210

Dunn, S, Woolford, K, “Reconfiguring experimental archaeology using 3D reconstruction”, EVA London 2012 Electronic Visualisation and the Arts, Computer Arts Society, British Computer Society, 2012, pp. 172-178. ISBN 978-1-780171-59-3

Dunn, S, Woolford, K, et al, “Motion in Place: a Case Study of Archaeological Reconstruction Using Motion Capture”, Revive the Past: Proceedings of the 39th Conference in Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Amsterdam University Press, 2012, 98-106.

Woolford, K., Guedes, C, “Echo Locations”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, ACM SIGGRAPH 2008 Talks, 2008, article 17. (ISBN: 978-1-60558-343-3, doi:10.1145/1401032.1401055)

Woolford, K., Guedes, C, “Particulate Matters: Generating Particle Flows from Human Movement”, Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Multimedia, ACM MM,07, 2007, pp 691-696.

Peer Reviewed/Juried Practice Outputs

Woolford, K., (2019), “Immersed in Nature: an immersive review of Virtual/Augmented Reality apps”, Valuing Nature, Royal Society, London

Woolford, K., Myatt, T., Price, M., (2018), “virtually (Re)Sounding Place (vRSP)”, AHRC Next Generation Immersive Experiences Showcase, York

Woolford, K., Myatt, T., Price, M., (2018), “virtually (Re)Sounding Place (vRSP)”, CVSSP/EPSRC/UK Acoustics Network (UKAN) Audio Day, Guildford, UK

Guedes, C., Woolford, K, (Oct 2018), “Jinn”, Festival Internacional de Marionetas do Porto 2018 (International Puppetry Festival), Rivoli National Theatre, Portugal, Oporto, Portugal, Live Music/Dance performances

Guedes, C., Woolford, K, et al (Oct 2018), “Jinn”, The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi, New York University Abu Dhabi Live Music/Dance performances

Woolford, K, (Jul 2017), “Jinn-Ginnaye”, 2017 International Workshop on Movement and Computing (MOCO '17). Goldsmith’s College, University of London, motion capture site-specific VR/AR Installation, University of Surrey

Woolford, K. (Oct 2014), “Moments in Place: Abu Dhabi”, ISEA 2014, augmented reality animations

Woolford, K (2013) “Moments in Place”, Brighton Digital Festival, Brighton UK, September 1-30, 2013

Woolford, K (2013) “Kusho: written in the air”, co-commission from Brighton Digital Festival and Brighton Japan Festival, Brighton UK, September 13-17, 2013

Woolford, K, Guedes, C., Burfen, J.M., et al. (2012) “Concerto X: Guimarães” (Created real-time graphic and photographic visuals for Live performance with 17 piece orchestra before an audience of 800), Guimarães European Capital of Culture, PT, 1 October, 2012

Woolford, K, (2011) “But Still, They Move: Kineasthic Response to Photographs” (Photography exhibition, 12 images and conference participation), Kinesthetic Empathy: Concepts and Contexts, University of Manchester, UK, March 8-10, 2010

Woolford, K, Guedes, (2009) “Echo Locations” (Interactive Installation, 2,500 viewers), Commissioned by Frog Design and University of Texas Austin for South by Southwest Interactive (SxSWi), Austin, TX, USA, 14 March, 2009

Woolford, K, Guedes, (2008) “Echo Locations” (Interactive Installation, Juried show, 35,000+ viewers), Slow Art - Evolve, ACM SIGGRAPH 08, Los Angeles, US, August 11-15, 2008

Woolford, K, Guedes, (2008) “Grass Traces” (interactive CGI installation) ton de video 08, Festival Internacional de Video Acert, Tondela, PT, 30 Apr- 3 May 2008