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Dr Violeta Tsenova

Research Fellow

StoryLab

Faculty:
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Location:
Cambridge
Research Supervision:
Yes

Dr Violeta Tsenova is a participatory design researcher with expertise in cultural heritage, public history, interaction design and film. Her research focuses on community-led interpretations, immersive experiences, and storytelling for transforming cultural venues.

[email protected]

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Background

Violeta specialises in critical heritage and participatory research, combining methodologies from public history practice, research through design, speculative design, and analytical approaches to explore power-dynamics in collaborative projects and the function of design artefacts in transforming cultural venues. She joined StoryLab in 2024 as a Research Fellow working on storytelling and design for immersive experiences.

Violeta obtained her PhD from Newcastle University (2022). Her PhD investigated the intersections between Human Computer Interaction and heritage interpretation when designing for multiple perspectives. “Designing with Genius Loci” is Violeta’s proposed approach that offers guidance and considers how more typical discourses of the past influence how divergent perspectives are presented in design artefacts.

She then worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher on the Public History as the New Citizen Science of the Past (PHACS) project at Luxembourg University. She co-led the Participatory Public History Lab collaboration with the House of European History, Brussels, devising public history methodologies for participatory interpretation of part of the museum’s collection.

In 2019 Violeta carried out an Arts and Humanities Research Council placement with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, NYC, USA. She worked closely with the museum’s Interaction Lab – a research and development unit – on the prototyping of new digitally mediated experiences that capture socially-generated knowledge and index it, creating another set of pathways through the physical museum that could also contribute to online collections.

Spoken Languages

  • Bulgarian
  • English

Research interests

  • Critical heritage
  • Research through design
  • Participatory design
  • Resilient communities
  • Design feminisms
  • Creative technologies
  • Storytelling
  • Exhibition design and scenography
  • Immersive experiences design
  • Museums and cultural venues (collaborations and transformation work)

Areas of research supervision

  • Critical heritage
  • Museums and cultural venues
  • Community-led interpretation design
  • Participatory design
  • Storytelling
  • Creative technologies
  • Design methods (research-through-design)

Qualifications

  • PhD in Critical Heritage and Interaction Design, Newcastle University, UK (2022)
  • MSc International Heritage Visualisation, The Glasgow School of Art, UK (2017)
  • MA (undergraduate) Digital Media and Information Studies/ Film and TV Studies, University of Glasgow, UK (2015)

Memberships, editorial boards

Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Public History, Queen’s University Belfast

Selected recent publications

Tsenova, V., Wood, G. and Kirk, D. (2023) 'Loci Stories: Exploring Design for Polyvocality'. In: Byrne, D., Martelaro, N., et al. (Eds.) (2023) DIS '23: Proceedings of the 2023 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference. New York: Association for Computing Machinery. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1145/3563657.3596114

Tsenova, V., Wood, G. and Kirk, D. (2022) 'Designing with Genius Loci: An Approach to Polyvocality in Interactive Heritage Interpretation', Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, 6(6), pp. 41. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/mti6060041

Tsenova, V. (2021) 'Storybase: Towards Cultural Transformation Driven by Design'. In: Shehade, M. and Stylianou-Lambert, T. (Eds.) (2021) Emerging Technologies and the Digital Transformation of Museums and Heritage Sites: First International Conference, RISE IMET 2021, Nicosia, Cyprus, June 2–4, 2021, Proceedings. Cham Springer, pp. 235–253. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83647-4_16

Tsenova, V., Wood, G., Dolfini, A., Tindley, A. and Kirk, D. (2020) 'Un-authorised View: Leveraging Volunteer Expertise in Heritage'. In: Bernhaupt, R., Mueller, F., et al (Eds.) (2020) CHI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York: Association for Computing Machinery. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1145/3313831.3376558