Professor Karen Cham


I am Co-Director of The Behavioural Research Analytics in Neurotechnological Systems (BRAINS) Lab, a collaborative research and knowledge exchange facility concerned with ethical, inclusive and sustainable digital futures.I am an internationally recognised expert in human centred design for VUCA socio-technical scenarios at scale. My research is in human / machine convergence, the digital transformation of values and designing for behaviour change.

Previously, at the University of Brighton, I was cross University Professorial lead for ‘Connected Futures', a fifth of the University R&E strategy including Digital Economies; Immersive, Simulations & Virtualisation; Complexity & Design and Digital Health. This included two spin offs; EmERGE mHealth, a secure blood test App I scaled across five EU countries from a £7m H2020 project and CardMedic, scaled to 42,000 users in 8 months.

As part of Digital Economies, I was Academic Lead of Brighton Digital Catapult Centre and two innovation eco-systems for SMEs. Their £1.2m 5G Brighton test bed with 5GIC as a named part of the UK Govts 5G Strategy, where I was also a Member of UK5Gs SME Working Group formulating UK-wide policy and as Principal Investigator, the £1.3m ERDF ‘Data Research Innovation Value Accelerator' big data project with Gatwick airport in a B2B Data Innovation Lab funded by the Local Growth Fund. This lead to my £28m Impact Case Study "Transforming the digital economy by leveraging the value of data', putting the University second nationally for ‘Research Power'.

I have 35 years in human centred design (HCD) and technology innovation, transformation and computational design. Clients have included PlayStation, TopShop, Which? and Accenture My first website, touchscreen and AI were as an experimental artist and designer of experiential marketing and in 1996, I was the Princes Youth Business Trust regional delegate to the Youth for Europe innovators conference at the EU Parliament for my microbusiness model run by ISDN. In 1998, I lead the development of the first ever pan European website for Playstation2 as Senior Account Manager at RealTime Interactive at Evans Hunt Scott in Soho Square (now Havas Worldwide) and was later seconded to BT New Media.

My academic career started in 2000 with an AHRC PhD Scholarship to SIAD, now part of University College of the Creative Arts (UCCA). My first post was in 2004 at The Open University as a Central Academic in the Design & Innovation Dept under Prof Nigel Cross; 5* RAE and third in UK for design research after the RCA and Imperial. In 2005 I won an OU Teaching Award for creating and sustaining their first online learning community that to date has 25,000 alumni. As part of the Complexity & Design Research Cluster (Computational Design theme), I worked closely with the Knowledge Media Institute (KMI) under Professor Marc Eisenstadt on Early Careers work developing semantic computer vision ontologies for Content Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) that lead to my honorary affiliation to the Digital Imaging Research Centre (DIRC), one of the largest clusters of computer vision scientists in Europe at Kingston University in 2008. In 2009, I Lead a £100k HEFCE funded project with academics from across four faculties at Kingston for the DMK Masters suite of six course that runs as a micro studio to deliver live projects, currently 250 students 22/23.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a Women In Games Ambassador, sponsored by Google Women Tech Makers and a Non Executive Director and Trustee of NEST, the UK Govts £24bn pension with 12m users, the largest FinTech transformation of it's kind in the world.

Academic responsibilities

Professor of Augmented Intelligence, Digital Transformation & Design


  • PG Diploma in Qualitative Research Methods (2001)
  • NVQ3 Digitally Integrated Media (1995)
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art. Special Commendation in History & Theoretical Studies (1991)

Teaching and learning

I am interested in Supervising practice based work that contributes to the development of Industry 5.0 transformational, parametric and/or generative systems, particularly with regards human factors, ethics and instances of the singularity. Applications of cognitive systems design, machine learning, computer vision for new technologies such as BCI, 5G MEC, IoT complex deployments, in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous scenarios particularly welcome.

For example :

  • digital transformation of values / policy / ideology / law
  • commercial applications of biometric interfaces 
  • psychometric hypernetworks in MNOs
  • social and cultural applications of Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies
  • 5/6G native user experience
  • human centred Mobile Edge Computing (MEC)
  • HCD and network slicing applications
  • cognitive / neural networks 
  • behavioural Internet of Things (IoT)
  • causal AI
  • intelligent personas
  • digital immortality
  • Internet of Mind (IoM)

Qualifications and expertise

  • (2005) The Open University Teaching Award, Creating & sustaining the first online learning community
  • (2009-15) Director of Studies, Digital Media Kingston Masters Suite of 6 courses. Two Special Commendations at Validation for interdisicplinary working and industry relations
  • (2009-15) Course Director, MA Games
  • (2021) 12 hour online CPD course as part of £1.3m ERDF research project 'Data Driven UXD & Geo-data Economies' for busineses including Vodafone, Tesco and IBM


My practice led research is in human centred design for complex technical transformations at VUCA scenarios and at scale by understanding how to leverage human agency via cognitive and behavioural affordances. My work investigates specifically how machine learning models might close the semantic gap in diverse forms of sentiment analysis for complex human/machine convergence to engineer whole systems change.

Stemming from my own commercial practice, this has involved a long term investigation into the social semiotics of the constructed image, advertising and brand in an algorithmic and networked context, informing novel methods in human factors, design for complexity, ML and AI.

These methods have thus far helped define workable human centred morphologies of, and topographies for, User Experience Design (UXD) vectors, grammars and architectures of digital artefacts, products, services and ecosystems by means of semantic analogies for corpus and systematic algorithmic formalisms.

Contributing to research in human factors across :

  • behavioural analytics
  • attribution metrics
  • cognitive machine learning
  • psychometrics
  • neuro-marketing
  • hybrid AI
  • neural networks
  • cognitive, emotional, social and cultural computing

My work is applied in transformational, parametric and/or generative systems for

  • eCommerce
  • computer games
  • digital health
  • innovation eco-systems
  • organisational agility
  • next generation wearables such as Brain Computer Interfaces

I have always been interested in the technicities of material culture : 

  • how visual meaning, values and affordances are designed, transacted and maintained through media technologies
  • how iconography, belief, ideology, narrative and mythology are designed, commodified and transacted in representational systems
  • the technical performativity of cultural capital
  • the relationship between asset, affordance, agency, end user engagement, behaviour and social impact

Specifically over the last 25 years, this has been in relation to digital transformation of values and complex human factors engineering. 

My first neuro-game & dementia tech in 2009 led to breakthrough cognitive UX design patterns based upon visual textual analysis paradigms. From that work, I developed "RhizoMetrics" TM (2014), a behavioural parametric design method that supports the development, monitoring and recalibration of behavioural affordances in any computational context.

 Using RhizoMetrics, I developed cognitive UXD paradigms for

  • nudge mechanics
  • neuro-navigation
  • neuro-transformation

to guide valuable and ethical singularities in IoT, robotics & immersive environments for Industry5.0 and beyond, as core to a fundamental Human / Machine Operating System - HM/OSS for which I am in the process of patenting a foundational neurosymbolic AI with support from Innovate UK.

My work has always generated personal, behavioural and socio-cultural data and insights, putting me at the fore of ethical debates over many years, and defining ethical parameters for designed User Experiences is a primary objective of my research.

Areas of specialism

  • Human Centred Design
  • Digital Transformation
  • Complex Systems
  • Behavioural Analytics
  • Human Augmentation


Number of items: 36.


Cham, Karen [Artist] and Johnson, Jeff [Artist] (2007) Matmos. (Collaborative sculpture).

Cham, Karen [Designer] (2007) The appliance of science. (Video installation).


Cham, Karen (2012) Changing the university genome : a case study of digital media Kingston. Networks, 17,

Cham, Karen (2007) Reconstruction theory : designing the space of possibility in complex media. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 3(2-3), pp. 253-267. ISSN (print) 1479-4713

Cham, Karen and Johnson, Jeffrey (2007) Complexity theory: a science of cultural systems? M/C Journal, 10(3), pp. 21-34.


Cham, Karen and Johnson, Jeffrey (2020) Designing the future : a handbook for effective innovation : computation, complexity & globalisation. Springer. (In Press)

Book Section

Cham, Karen (2017) Consumer as producer; value mechanics in digital transformation design, process, practice and outcomes. In: Shiach, Morag and Virani, Tarek, (eds.) Cultural policy, innovation and the creative economy. Palgrave McMillan. pp. 61-81. ISBN 9781349951116

Cham, Karen and Webley, Stephen (2016) Designing for the play instinct : gamification, collective voodoo and mumbo jumbo. In: Dymek, Mikolaj and Zackariasson, Peter, (eds.) The Business of Gamification : A Critical Analysis. Routledge. pp. 182-207. (Routledge Advances in Management and Business Studies) ISBN 9781138824164

Heath, Terry, Cham, Karen and Yates, Carl (2014) Inside the minds of gamers. In: Garner, Cathy , Bolfek-Radovani, Jasmina , Fogg, Helen , Riedel, Jana , Ternouth, Phil , Briscoe, Gerard , Dima, Mariza , Shiach, Morag and Virani, Tarek, (eds.) London creative and digital fusion. London, U.K. : London Fusion. pp. 54-57.

Cham, Karen (2011) Architecture of the image. In: Dunn, Stuart , Bowen, Jonathan P. and Ng, Kia, (eds.) Electronic visualisation and the arts: proceedings of EVA London 2011, BCS London, 5 Southampton Street, London 6-8 July 2010. Swindon, U.K. : BCS. pp. 117-183. ISBN 9781906124885

Mytilinaiou, S, Cham, Karen and Hutchison, Christopher (2011) Experience design, interactive art environments and the sense of becoming. In: IEEE, (ed.) Mixed and augmented reality - arts, media, and humanities (ISMAR-AMH), 2011 IEEE International Symposium. IEEE. pp. 91-98. ISBN 9781467300575

Cham, Karen (2010) The art of complex systems science. In: Alexiou, Katerina , Johnson, Jeffrey and Zamenopoulos, Theodore, (eds.) Embracing complexity in design. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 121-142. ISBN 9780415497008

Cham, Karen (2009) Aesthetics and interactive art. In: Bentkowska-Kafel, Anna , Cashen, Trish and Gardiner, Hazel, (eds.) Digital visual culture: theory and practice. Bristol, U.K. : Intellect Books. pp. 15-21. ISBN 9781841502489

Conference or Workshop Item

Cham, Karen (2021) 5G enabled mobile AI and human centred edge services : (that chipset thing). In: 5G Briefing 2021; 16 - 17 Nov 2021, Frankfurt, Germany. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2020) Digital transformation of a pandemic. In: AHT2020 : how appropriate healthcare technologies contribute in a public health emergency; 11 Sep 2020, Held online. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2019) Cognitive UX design : engineering behaviour change. In: The BAD (Behaviour & Design) Conference 2019; 20 Jun 2019, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2019) 5G accelerated complexity, human centred networks & data driven transformation ‚Äč. In: Digital Transformation World 2019; 14-16 May 2019, Nice, France. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2019) UXD 4.0 : Designing the human experience of data rich complexity in pervasive XR. In: UXinsight 2019; 03-04 Apr 2019, Utrecht, The Netherlands. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2018) Designing change : NeuroMedia as a metanoic practice. In: Semiofest 2018; 24-27 Oct 2018, Mumbai, India. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2018) Neurogaming & emotional singularities. In: Develop:Brighton Conference; 10-12 Jul 2018, Brighton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2017) Bankrupting gamification : when a method becomes mythologised. In: Gamification Europe 2017; 28-29 Nov 2017, Brighton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2017) Models from complexity science. In: UX Brighton 2017; 03 Nov 2017, Brighton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2016) Prototyping the Internet of Place : designing for human centred complexity - data driven UX of loT and smart cities. In: DRHA16 : Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts Conference; 04 - 07 Sep 2016, Brighton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2015) NeuroMedia : towards defining brain computer interface (BCI) content. In: Gaminomics : Adventures in Games and Gamifications; 11 Jun 2015, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Heath, Terry, Krause, Sven and Cham, Karen (2014) Unlocking the minds of gamers. In: Innovation Powerhouse; 15 Nov 2014, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen and Ibi, Andrew (2014) Design by spambot : can social interaction be successfully integrated into high end fashion design processes? In: DRHA2014 : Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts Conference; 31 Aug - 03 Sep 2014, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2014) Virtually an alternative? The medium, the message and the user experience ; collective agency in digital spaces and embodied social change. In: 5th LAEMOS Colloquium on Organization Studies Constructing Alternatives: How can we organize for alternative social, economic, and ecological balance; 02 - 05 Apr 2014, Havana, Cuba. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2011) The convergence of complex systems science and art practice in the computational arts. In: Rewire 2011: the fourth international conference on the histories of media art, science and technology; 28-30 Sep 2011, Liverpool, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Cham, Karen (2011) The cybernetic interface to the human bio computer. In: Virtual Futures; 18-19 Jun 2011, Coventry, U.K..

Cham, Karen (2011) A proposal for an aesthetics of engagement in intelligent environments. In: SciT'11: Multidisciplinary Approach to Designing Intelligent Environment in conjunction with IE'11: 7th International Conference on Intelligent Environments; 25-28 Jul 2014, Nottingham, U.K..

Cham, Karen (2011) A semiotic systems approach to user experience design. In: 1st International Conference on Semiotics & Visual Communication: from theory to practice; 25-27 Nov 2011, Lemesos, Cyprus..

Cham, Karen (2008) Reality jamming : beyond complex causality in mediated cultural systems. In: International Symposium on Electronic Art; 25 Jul - 3 Aug 2008, Singapore.


Cham, Karen [Designer] (2019) Bag engine : Shaope grammars and mass customisation. Digital platform.

Cham, Karen [Designer] (2019) Digital Research and Innovation Value Accelerator (DRIVA) Arts. Digital platform.

Cham, Karen [Designer] (2014) Artellite. Digital platform.

Moving Image/Broadcast

Cham, Karen [Artist] (2006) National grid. (Digital video).

This list was generated on Tue Apr 16 06:25:38 2024 BST.

Business, knowledge transfer and international

I am a human centred industrial designer who works with technology; expert in R&D for ‘Next Gen'; delivering creative innovation in complex technical scenarios; leading on complexity and design methods for socio-technical outcomes at scale; creative industries / STEM convergence in industrial and teaching, research and enterprise transformation.

My expertise is  in designing for persuasion, emotion & trust (PET) in User Experience Design (UXD) and I have worked in e-commerce, games, e-health, e-learning, heritage & the arts, FinTech and military & defence with iOS, Android, Windows, Cloud, Xbox, Playstation & Drones; MIDI, haptics, holography, stereoscopy and AR/VR; applied sensor technologies, biometrics (inc. eye tracking, facial recognition, EEG, EMG, GSR), computer vision, machine learning, predictive analytics, big data and automatic signal recognition and I have ten years working with Brain Computer Interfaces. 

By means of experiential marketing and then eCommerce, I started my first digital business in 1996 and won EU recognition for the micro-business model I devised outsourcing production worldwide via ISDN from two PowerMac 8500s with 16MB RAM as the PYBT regional delegate at the Youth For Europe Conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels. I went on to lead first wave digital transformation from print to digital at Realtime Interactive, part of EHS advertising agency in Soho Square, alongside Malcolm Garrett (1998). Process innovations, for example for the first ever pan-Eurpoean website for Playstation2 (1999), included maintenance contracts and a paid problem definition phase to account for a high level of innovation (now ‘Sprint0' in Agile Development) went on to contribute to ‘FULCRM', a global user centred design innovation service at Havas Worldwide.  

With a background in experimental electronic arts and design, my first bid was to Arts Council England New Collaborations Fund in 1991; commissioned artworks include my first website for Boddingtons Manchester Festival in 1994 (FACT) and touchscreen narrative alongside Jane & Louise Wilson (LFVU) in 1995, interactive game (HTBA) 1995 and A.I. 1997 (LJMU) alongside Sean Cubitt as part of the seminal TechnoCultures One. Exhibitions include Video Positive at Tate Liverpool (1998), MicroTel Voluptous Blinking Eye Teletext intervention on Nederland Channels 1, 2 & 3 (2006) and Big Screens, across ten cities in Russia (2005).

Professional practice, knowledge exchange and impact

Social media