The DeathTech Research Team is a group of anthropologists, social scientists and human-computer interaction specialists based at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. The team have been studying questions at the intersection of death, technology, and society for more than a decade.
Professor, History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Melbourne
Michael Arnold’s on-going research activities lie at the intersection of contemporary technologies and daily life; for example, studies of digital technologies in the domestic context, online memorials and other technologies associated with death, social networking, community informatics, and ethical and normative assessments of technologies.
Professor of Anthropology, School of Social and Political Science, The University of Melbourne
Tamara Kohn’s current research focuses on creative practice, death studies, mobility and leisure, methods and ethics, and the anthropology of the body and senses, based on fieldwork in the US, Japan and Australia.
Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne
Martin Gibbs is a member of the Human-Computer Interaction research group. Martin is currently investigating how people use a variety of interactive technologies, such as video games, community networks and mobile phones, for convivial and sociable purposes in a diverse situations (intimate strong-tie relationships, local neighbourhoods, work-based occupational communities, online computer games).
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Associate Professor in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology, Oxford University
Elizabeth Hallam’s research and publications focus on the anthropology of the body; death and dying; material and visual cultures; human anatomy; three-dimensional models, especially in medical education; making and design; mixed-media sculpture; history and anthropology; experimental research with images and texts; fieldwork, archive and museum-based research mainly in the UK, along with recent multi-sited research begun in Australia, Singapore and the USA.
Senior Lecturer, Media and Communications, the University of Melbourne
Bjørn Nansen’s research focuses on emerging and marginal forms of digital media use in everyday life, using a mix of ethnographic, participatory and digital methods. His current work explores changing home media infrastructures and environments, children’s mobile media and digital play practices, technologies for death and memorialising, and the digital mediation of sleep.
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PhD Student, Media and Communications, The University of Melbourne
Samuel Holleran’s PhD examines public participation in the reimagination of urban burial sites. He is also an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose work examines the power and politics imbued in urban design. In particular, he is interested in the use of everyday objects in cities, like street furniture, parks, and signage. He has worked as an art director, researcher and educator in the field of civically-engaged design with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) in New York City and the Chair for Architecture & Urban Design at ETH-Zürich.
Research Fellow, School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne
Fraser Allison is a research fellow in the Human-Computer Interaction research group. He studies the design and user experience of technologies for leisure and commemoration, with a focus on natural user interfaces, complex user experiences and the ways in which people draw meaning from technologically mediated activities.
Melbourne Postdoctoral Fellow, The University of Melbourne
Hannah Gould is a socio-cultural anthropologist working in the areas of death, religion, and material culture. Her research is focused on how the deceased are memorialised and materialised in everyday life, with a regional focus on North-East Asia.
Industry Research Partners
Deb Ganderton (Vale)
The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust
Deb Ganderton (vale) was the CEO of The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT) from 2019 to 2022, and a leading figure in the Australian deathcare industry. GMCT manages 19 cemeteries and memorial parks across Melbourne, with two brand new sites under development on Melbourne’s urban fringe. GMCT’s 650 hectares of heritage parklands are visited by almost two million people each year.
Jed R. Brubaker
Associate Professor of Information Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Jed Brubaker’s research the intersection of technology and mortality. Using empirical, community-based, and design methods, his current research focuses on end-of-life planning, management of post-mortem data and accounts, and digital legacy and storytelling.