Karen Martin

I’m Karen Martin, a researcher whose work focuses on practices of participation and design strategies to encourage civil engagement within the urban environment. I’m interested in how technology will alter these practices and engagement.

My EngD thesis, The role of uncertainty in the design of informal space, explored these interests in detail. I completed the EngD in March 2016.

From 2010 – 2014 I worked as a researcher at the Centre for Architecture and the Sustainable Environment at the University of Kent. Alongside my research post I was unit tutor to Unit In-between at Plymouth School of Architecture from 2011-2013.

In 2010, I co-founded Makerhood with Kristina Glushkova. Makerhood is a community interest company (CIC) that supports makers in the London borough of Lambeth and promotes economic and social sustainability within our neighbourhood.

Previously, I was a project assistant at Proboscis, an artist-led social practice based in London.

Prior to this, I worked as a research assistant at Media Lab Europe in Dublin where I was part of the Everyday Learning research group drawing on constructionist theories to explore how technology might support learning.

From 1998-2002 I was a web developer, mostly I worked for Syzygy, an agency building websites for clients including Boots, Mazda and Dixons, but I also did freelance work.

Before all of this, I trained as a dancer at Northern Ballet School.

Employment and professional experience


  • EngD Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation: The role of uncertainty in the design of informal spaces
    University College London, (2005-2016)
  • MSc Virtual Environments – DISTINCTION
    Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, UCL, 2002-2003
  • BA(Hons) Interactive Arts (2:1)
    University of Wales, College Newport (1993-1996)
  • Dancers’ course
    Northern Ballet School (1989-1990)

Workshop organisation


Book chapters

  • Designing Visible Counter-Terrorism Interventions in Public Spaces (Dalton, B., Martin, K., McAndrew, C., Nikolopoulou, M. and Triggs, T.) in Stedmon, A. and Lawson, G. (eds), Hostile Intent & Counter-Terrorism: Human Factors Theory and Application Ashgate In press
  • Making Glue: Participation in Everyday Computing (Martin, K.) In Willis, K. S., Roussos, G., Chorianopoulos, K. and Struppek, M. (eds), Shared Encounters Springer 2009

Journal papers

  • Shaping pedestrian movement through playful interventions in security planning: what do field surveys suggest? (Nikolopoulou, M., Martin. K. and Dalton, B) Journal of Urban Design 21(1):84-104 2016
  • Art as a means to disrupt routine use of public space? (Martin, K., Dalton, B. and Nikolopoulou, M.) Special Issue of Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 2013
  • Sensory Threads (Joe Marshall, Demetrios Airantzis, Alice Angus, Nick Bryan-Kinns, Robin Fencott, Frederik Lesage, Karen Martin, George Roussos, Jenson Taylor, Lorraine Warren, Orlagh Woods) Leonardo 43(2):196-197 2010
  • Urban Social Tapestries (Alice Angus, Dikaios Papadogkonas, George Papamarkos, George Roussos, Giles Lane, Karen Martin, Nick West, Sarah Thelwall, Zoetanya Sujon, Roger Silverstone) IEEE Pervasive Computing 7:44-51 2008
  • Underground Aesthetics: Rethinking Urban Computing (Brewer, J., Bassoli, A., Martin K., Dourish, P. and Mainwaring S.) IEEE Pervasive computing 6(3) July-September, 39-45 2007

Conference papers, extended abstracts & position papers

  • Developing a neighbourhood locative media toolkit (Willis, K., Corino, G. & Martin, K.) Proceedings of the 4th Media Architecture Biennale Conference: Participation MAB ’12 2012
  • Sensory Threads: Perceiving the Imperceptible (Nick Bryan-Kinns, Demetrios Airantzis, Alice Angus, Robin Fencott, Giles Lane, Frederik Lesage, Joe Marshall, Karen Martin, George Roussos, Jenson Taylor, Lorraine Warren, Orlagh Woods) Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Intelligent Environments 2009
  • Seeding without leading: making space for participant contribution in design elicitation techniques. (Ann Light, Pam Briggs, Karen Martin) Proceedings of the 22nd British HCI Group Annual Conference on HCI 2008: People and Computers XXII: Culture, Creativity, Interaction – Volume 2, BCS HCI 2008
  • Participatory Sensing for Urban Communities (Airantzis, D., Angus, A., Lane, G., Martin K., Roussos G. and Taylor J.) International Workshop on Urban, Community, and Social Applications of Networked Sensing Systems – UrbanSense08 2008
  • Undersound and the above ground (Arianna Bassoli, Johanna Brewer, Karen Martin, Iacopo Carreras, David Tacconi) Mobile Music Workshop, 2008
  • Situating Inbetweenness (Bassoli, A., Brewer, J. and Martin, K.) in MEDIACITY. Situations, Practices and Encounters ed. Eckhardt, F., Geelhaar, J., Colini, L., Willis, K. S., Chorianopoulos, K. and Hennig, R. 2008
  • Imaging Social and Spatial Relationships Under the City (Martin, K. and Bassoli, A.) Position paper for workshop Imaging the City, ACM Conf Human Factors in Computing Systems 2007
  • In-between Theory and Practice: Dialogues in Design Research (Bassoli, A., Brewer, J. and Martin, K.) ACM Conference of Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI 2007
  • Community-based public authoring with mobile chemical sensor networks (G. Lane, C. Brueton, D. Diall, D. Airantzis, N. Jeremijenko, G. Papamarkos, G. Roussos, K. Martin) International Conference on Intelligent Environments 2006
  • Engaging with a situated display via picture messaging (Karen Martin, Alan Penn, Lesley Gavin) Extended Abstracts Proceedings of the 2006 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2006


  • Digilounge Dance & Technology Residency, Essex Dance, Chelmsford (2004)
  • Lab Culture Residency, PVA Media Lab Bridport (2002)
  • ‘Flying by Wire’ Internet Residency, ArtSway Sway Hants (1998)
  • Body Ornament Touring Exhibition, North West Arts (1996-1997)