Creating Knowledge Conference – Digital Media, Education and Society

Jonathan Herring – Faculty of Science Technology and Arts
Photography in the Retail Space

The research photographs to be presented were taken in different retail spaces, exploring landscapes in the urban environment. The images document the culture of capitalism today and are focused on consumerism in the retail spaces found at social geographical locations. Different genres have been used as the method for producing these photographs that have been disseminated across various websites and gallery exhibitions, and these spaces have different audiences affecting the reading of the critique manifest. The deconstruction of space by Henri Lefebvre breaks down the photograph, and Photograph as Paradox by Thierry de Duve will be discussed in the presentation. The use of different exposure times including time exposure and snapshot, and the mood affect manifest in the readings of the image influence how the photograph is evidenced and functions. Methods construct the critique, and an analysis of the photograph reveals these practice methods. The research photographs question the reality of consumerism within the highly image-produced retail spaces. The different critiques of consumption question reality as these spaces are increasingly a part of consumer capitalism as evidenced in the research practice.

Joan Rodriguez-Amat, Alexander Kalashnikov, Hongwei Zhang – Faculty of Science Technology and Arts
Automated recording and processing of student attendance data using cloud-based spreadsheets and a low-cost custom RFID reader

Recording students’ attendance encourages them to attend, and is compulsory for some groups of students (e.g., Tier 4 visa and degree apprenticeships students). Moreover, an extensive dataset, collected in the UK, evidences strong correlation between the attendance and attainment [1].

At SHU we commonly use paper registers that are similar to using paper cheques for shop purchases. The collected records require manual processing and verification, and some entries can be tampered with.
There is a possibility to record the attendance using the contactless student ID cards. Some UK HEIs deploy an institution-wide infrastructure with networked contactless readers but this infrastructure is expensive to set up and maintain.

We focused on a cheaper approach by developing a custom contactless reader [2] as commercially available ones would cost well over £100 because of security and tamper proof constraints. The custom reader did not access any secure information, which addressed both cost and privacy concerns. We later found that some inexpensive card readers, available commercially, could be used with the developed custom PC back end software for automated processing of the attendance data copied into Excel spreadsheets.

Recently we utilised built in Excel capabilities (function MATCH) for processing the recorded attendance data. This enabled storing the spreadsheet in the cloud and accessing it by three members of staff, who conducted different teaching sessions.

Overall we successfully used individual contactless readers for recording attendance of medium sized student groups (20-70+ students) since 2017, and this approach was welcomed by both the students and colleagues.

[1] The link between absence and attainment at KS2 and KS4, 2012/13 academic year. Research report by Department for Education, Feb 2015. Available online on
[2] KALASHNIKOV, Alexander, ZHANG, Hongwei and ABRAMIUK, Misko (2018). Automated recording and processing of lecture attendance data using RFID student cards. In: Proceedings of the VI international scientific conference advanced information systems and technologies AIST-2018. Sumy, Ukraine, Sumy State University, 81-84. Available online on

Vicky Heap, Jess Jowers, Laura Martin and Jaime Waters – Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Visualising the Criminological Research Methods ‘Journey’

Research skills and practice are core components of the undergraduate criminology programme. There is a clear progression of taught modules through the three levels of study, from Graduate Research and Development 2 at level 4, through DeConstructing Research at level five, to the 40 credit Dissertation at level six. As members of the module teaching teams, we recognise that students do not always understand the value of the research knowledge and skills they are learning and may not see the interrelatedness of the modules nor the cumulative picture.

We are engaged in a project to produce infographics to support the provision of research methods teaching. There will be an overarching infographic that charts the relevance of research methods across all levels, with a particular focus on incremental development and application of these skills. There will then be separate visuals for each of the modules mentioned above, outlining the associated competences as well as their wider application. The Dissertation infographic in particular will highlight progression opportunities into post graduate study and those for levels four and five will signpost student researcher projects and collaborations with staff.

As the institution strives to become the leading applied university, promoting the value of research methods and opportunities to students is becoming increasingly important. It is hoped that a creative, visually impactful approach will strengthen student engagement as well as promoting the overall programme of research education within the subject group. These infographics could also be utilised by other departments as templates to map their own research methods approaches.

Alessandro Di Nuovo – Faculty of Science Technology and Arts, Department of Computing
Programming intelligent robots that care for humans

Recent advances in computing technology and novel artificial intelligence algorithms enable investigation on social applications of robotics, such as the education of children and the care of the elderly. The investigation has the objective to create robots capable of human-like social interaction while exploiting their computational capability for data collection and processing.

Current Social Robots are still very far from those envisioned in science fiction novels, indeed there are only few success cases outside the University labs. Nevertheless, the scientific literature shows the tremendous potential of robotic systems to provide individualised assistance to some classes of people, e.g. children with autism, elderly with dementia.

The talk will present examples from current research projects of Sheffield Robotics at Sheffield Hallam University in the area of socially assistive robotics.

This will show the current state-of-the-art, increase the awareness of benefits and limitation, and discuss the potential breakthroughs and implications for professionals in several disciplines. The talk will also emphasise responsible user-centred research with the aim to empower people rather than substitute them.