Lili Golmohammadi

Are you interested in participating in a study on digital touch communication and loneliness?

Contact: lili.golmohammadi.18@ucl.ac.uk (or complete the form at the bottom of this page).

I am looking for people aged 18-24 who are interested in exploring connections between emerging digital touch technologies, touch and loneliness.

Above: Examples of digital touch technologies for loneliness

What would this involve?

Participating in the study would involve you taking part in three weekly creative online workshops and carrying out one or two 10-minute activities in between (please see the timeline below). The three workshops are structured to help you think in stages: Workshop 1 will focus on exploring loneliness and discussing if and how touch may play a role. Workshops 2 & 3 will bring in digital touch technologies; you will be introduced to different examples, and have the chance to critique them. You will then be invited to imagine your own digital touch design by making a low-fidelity ‘prototype’, using everyday materials (such as paper, tape and recycling packaging):

Project overview
Above: project overview and timeline

The workshops are designed to be informal, fun and collaborative. You will be free to contribute as much or as little as you feel comfortable with, and can withdraw at any time. Each group will have around 4-5 participants. People who have taken part in previous workshops have said they’ve found them an enjoyable thing to do!

Why does this study matter and what are the benefits of taking part?

The physical, psychological and emotional benefits of touch for well-being, development, and feeling connected are well-documented. There is a clear potential value to bringing touch into the digital realm, especially in recent months where touching has been more prohibited and less available. At present, our everyday digital interactions mostly lack touch and tactile experiences and the commercial touch technologies that do exist are at a very early stage of development.

Volunteering to be part of this study will give you the opportunity to:

  • Learn more about digital touch technologies and contribute your voice to this still-developing field
  • Expand understanding of whether, and how touch technologies might play a role for different forms or contexts of loneliness
  • Inform more socially aware future engagement with loneliness and digital touch technologies by digital designers and researchers
  • Share your views and experiences on loneliness and touch, rarely explored outside of healthcare and lab-based contexts

When will the workshops run?

The workshops will run across September and October 2020: I work with each group to identify hours which suit everyone before setting exact dates and times.

If you would like to take part, or to find out more, please contact me at lili.golmohammadi.18@ucl.ac.uk, or include your details in the form below, and I will get back to you.

Pilot workshop:

The first workshop in this series, Mapping Loneliness and Touch, was piloted as an open-participation event at the Wellcome Collection Reading Room in London, November 2019. Those who took part said they found the exchanges a positive and enjoyable experience, which allowed them unexpected insights. Images from the event are featured below.

Mapping L + T Event Signs GifAbove: Images from the pilot workshop ‘Mapping Loneliness & Touch’, held at the Wellcome Collection, London, November 2019.
Mapping L + T GifAbove: Participants’ maps, framing touch in their experiences of loneliness. From the pilot workshop ‘Mapping Loneliness & Touch’, held at the Wellcome Collection, London, November 2019.