Dr Heather McKinnon

Publications by year

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Areas of interest: Sustainable Interaction Design; More-than-Human Design; Design for Sufficiency; Everyday Mundanity; Resource Waste & Conservation; Sustainability;

BBus, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba; M.IDEA, University of Sydney

Dr Heather McKinnon (BBus, M.IDEA, PhD) is a Lecturer in Interaction Design at the Queensland University of Technology. Her current research interests lie in the cross section of urban informatics and sustainable interaction design, and focus on the innovation of sustainable design-led methodologies. After completing a Bachelor of Business at the University of Southern Queensland, Heather went on to complete her Masters of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts at the University of Sydney where she explored urban screens, responsive environments, tangible user interfaces, and interactive public art. She then went on to complete her PhD in the Urban Informatics Lab at Queensland University of Technology, focusing on design theory, modern mundanity, and environmental sustainability. Heather is currently teaching undergraduate courses in the School of Design and School of Information Technology

Thesis Title: The [everyday] future by design: Exploring Everyday Resource Waste & Frugaity within the Home

Situated within the areas of design theory & sustainability, this design-led research explores cultures of resource waste and frugality within the home. Within the context of everyday life lie the mundane, ordinary rhythms and patterns that make up our days. Many writers and theorists such as De Certeau, Perec and Lefebvre emphasise the value and potential that lies in the study of these mundane activities, suggesting that the critique of everyday life is vital to the continual questioning of our existence. This research seeks to address this space, focusing on everyday domestic resources – food, water, energy and general waste. This study seeks to explore the mundane realities of everyday wastefulness/frugality in detail, identifying opportunities for design. The research builds upon past design interventions, contextual examples, design philosophy and literature. Grounded in the concept of ‘design futuring’ and coupled with the critical area of ‘undesign’, this research uses design-led methods such as cultural probes and design artefacts to explore the home environment in greater detail.

Current Projects

Making seen what we can’t feel – thoughtfully designed UV sensors to protect Australians from the sun