Fabrizio Galeazzi Associate Professor in Heritage and Creative Technologies & StoryLab Deputy Director

Fabrizio’s interdisciplinary research explores the combination of digital technologies and multimodal storytelling to develop heritage-led creative interventions for socio-cultural revitalisation and sustainable development. Fabrizio is particularly interested in evaluating the impact that the integrated use of 3D interactive visualisation, immersive narratives and participatory research might have on increasing adaptation and resilience to climate change and conflicts, as well as promoting heritage innovation, preservation and interpretation.

Violeta Tesnova
Violeta Tsenova Research Fellow

Violeta specialises in critical heritage and participatory research, combining methodologies from public history practice, research through design and speculative design to explore power-dynamics in collaborative cultural heritage projects and the function of design artefacts in transforming cultural venues. Her research interests lie in participatory design and the use of creative technologies for capacity building within varied community settings through the (co)creation of design tools and immersive experiences. Violeta is StoryLab’s Research Fellow working on storytelling and 360 filmmaking for XR (extended reality).

Jemily Rime Research Fellow
Jemily Rime is a musician and audio researcher, finishing a PhD in the Music Computing and Psychology lab at the University of York, working with XR Stories and BBC R&D. Her research focuses on the production of personalised and immersive audio using AI-driven tools for podcasts. Jemily is a singer, bassist, and composer, and studied Physics at King’s College London (2018).
Chris Nightingale Creative Technologist & Research Assistant
Chris is StoryLab’s in-house real-time 3D developer, focusing on the practical development of experimental VR and XR projects such as Immersive Antarctica. Chris generalises across the development spectrum, including 3D asset creation, level design, UX, and program scripting.

Chris studied at Durham University as an Electronic Engineer, with a keen interest in product design, games design and the transportation sector. Alongside his studies, he has turned a long-held hobby interest in games design and development into freelance work, and is now enjoying translating a range of skills into the unique and impactful environment of StoryLab.

Emily Campbell Business Manager

Emily works with StoryLab’s Director, staff, students and external partners to support the smooth running of StoryLab and its projects. Emily began her career working as a theatre set designer and scenic artist, before working as a producer of performance and events in outdoor and non-traditional settings, and as a consultant in a public art commissioning agency. More recently she has held senior management positions in an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a national arts education charity.

Emily Godden 2023
Emily Godden Senior Lecturer and Research Associate

Emily researches the impact XR storytelling can have on our attitudes towards the environment and how these experiences can support micro restorative experiences. Working with hacker and maker methodologies applied to heritage and the environment Emily will be working within a site-specific context focussing on the location of Dunwich also known as the lost city.

Lesley Johnston KTP Research Associate

Lesley is a Narrative Designer working with the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and Storylab. Her interests lie in Virtual Heritage, exploring methods to document and share material culture and intangible heritage. Lesley’s research focuses on blending XR (extended reality) technologies with archival content and storytelling to enable meaningful and emotive heritage-based experiences.

Current PhD Researchers

Christine Atieno
Christine Atieno

A practice-based research exploring the utilisation of XR and Immersive storytelling experiences pertaining to the transnational African cultural heritage

Christine’s research investigates the transnational utilization of XR and immersive storytelling, specifically pertaining to African cultural heritage. Her approach involves conducting in-depth case studies that employ XR and Immersive modalities to showcase traditional African storytelling on a global platform.

Holding a degree in Documentary Film and TV Studies from the University of Wales, Newport and working within the media industry for over a decade, Christine has cultivated a diverse professional background. Her experience spans the UK as well as East and West Africa, encompassing various roles in independent and corporate media. Her skills include media consultancy, independent filmmaking, teaching film and TV, commercial video editing, theatre production, and film festival curation.

Jennifer Dathan

Investigating the resilience potential of heritage in response to climate change-related conflict in UK-based Syrian refugees

Jennifer joined ARU in September 2020 as a PhD student on the Vice Chancellor’s Studentship ‘Investigating the resilience potential of heritage in response to climate change-related conflict in UK-based Syrian refugees’. The project is focused on understanding how heritage can enhance adaptation in response to climate change, conflict and migration.

Emily Godden

The Lost City: A practice-based investigation into environmental storytelling reclaiming stories, landscapes and technologies to hack the heritage of Dunwich

Emily researches the impact XR storytelling can have on our attitudes towards the environment and how these experiences can support micro restorative experiences. Working with hacker and maker methodologies applied to heritage and the environment Emily will be working within a site-specific context focussing on the location of Dunwich also known as the lost city.

Rebecca Lee

Immersive storytelling, ‘re-constructing’ or ‘re-inhabiting’ places, with and for audiences of the future: The use of emergent technologies to embed fragile, intangible cultural heritage in local landscapes.

Rebecca’s practice-based PhD focuses on the re-inhabiting/re-animating of tangible heritage landscapes, with intangible stories from multiple voices, across various times. The research explores the development of a visitor-driven system that can be employed across multiple sites, without homogenising the experience, offering immersive and site/story specific visits.

Jack Rutherford

Exploring ‘forced displacement’ through co-creation of an extended reality experience. A practice-based research project contributing to Storytelling and Workflow in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.   

Jack’s research area is focussed on Storytelling, Workflow and Language in the 4th Industrial Revolution. He is exploring unique storytelling opportunities for empathetic audience experiences by prototyping immersive filmmaking, on the themes of forced displacement, embedded within interactive virtual reality environments.

Linda Burdick (Lautrec)

A Case Study of a Co-Created Digital Storytelling project on Hidden Teacher Bias Against Higher Education Students from the MENA Region

Linda’s practice led research is interdisciplinary seeking to analyse a co-created digital storytelling project that addresses higher education teacher bias against students from the MENA Region. The research connects DST research with the social psychology of prejudice and multicultural education. She will be creating a film to document the experience.

Past PhD Researchers

Hind Al Ghalayini (2019-2022) Let’s Talk About Death: A Practice-led Examination of Picture Books for Muslim Children in Addressing Bereavement and Loss in Saudi Arabia

Sara Elias (2017-2022) Narrating Female trauma and recovery on film (practice led)

Christopher Cox (2017-2021) Representations of Slavery, Family History and Intergenerational Accountability

Undergraduate Researchers

Mete Polat (2023) Computer Games Art

Alex Sole-Leris (2023) Film Production

Agata Kazmierczak (2021-2023) Film and Television Production

Ugne Jurgaityte (2021-2022) Film and Television Production

Yegor Chmilewsky (2021-2022) Film and Television Production

Liam Conway (2021-2022) Digital Media Production

Marcin Maciolek (2022) Digital Media Production

Honorary Research Fellows

Shreepali Patel Former director of StoryLab Research Institute

Shreepali Patel is Professor of Film and Screen at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. She is former BBC producer/director, filmmaker, story consultant and writer, and is co-founder of BAFTA and Emmy award-winning Eyeline Films with 25 years of worldwide industry experience, over 50 broadcast documentaries and dramas and 12 BBC Radio 4 documentaries.  Her practice-led research focuses on investigating and creating deeply connecting immersive storytelling experiences within complex environments and to surface diverse voices.

Alex Rühl

Alex Rühl is an award-winning virtual reality creator and Head of Immersive Technologies at PwC. Since starting her VR career in 2015, she’s written, directed and exec produced several original pieces including her most recent work Rock Paper Scissors which had its world premiere at Venice Film Festival in 2022 (first VR piece funded by BFI Network). A notable figure in the XR industry, she has received industry recognition for her work in immersive storytelling (The Drum’s 50 under 30, Women of the Future Awards, Pioneers of XR Award) and is a global keynote speaker on the topic of the metaverse (TEDx, BFI, Adobe, Royal Television Society & more).

Brian Woods

Brian is a BAFTA award-winning British documentary filmmaker, who founded True Vision, an independent production company, which concentrates mainly on human rights-related subjects. Through the company he has been awarded or nominated for several international awards, including six US Emmies, a BAFTA, two US Peabodies, The Amnesty International Documentary Award, two One World Awards, and three Monte Carlo TV Festival Awards. The company’s films have been commissioned by the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and HBO, and have been shown around the world.

Chris Cox

Chris’ background is in photography and film. After nearly 30 years as freelance documentary cinematographer, Chris chose to change direction and focus his creative energies on research and the written word, resulting in an MA in Creative Writing (scriptwriting) and a practice PhD.

Visiting Scholars

Aya Musmar (2022)

Aya is an Assistant Professor in Architecture and Feminism, University of Petra, Amman. Her transdisciplinary research investigates humanitarian response in refugee camps analysing them as spatial phenomena that embody unjust politics. She is interested in exploring how architectural research and pedagogies can bear testimony to social injustice.

Advisory Board

Asha Eason, Lead of Immerse UK (Innovate UK KTN)

Gamal Abdelmonem, Chair in Architecture at the School of Architecture, Design and Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University

Amy Mitchell, Partnership Development Manager, at Research and Innovation Development Office, ARU

Fiona Chesterton, Writer and Consultant

Alan Blackwell, Professor of Interdisciplinary Design, University of Cambridge

Felicity Colman, Associate Dean: Research, University of the Arts, London

Colin Burrows, Special Treats Productions