Active Minds Workshop

Queen Elizabeth Teaching and Learning Centre, Glasgow
July 18-19 2018.

A free workshop exploring human computer interaction, mobile health, mental health, and physical (in)activity.


The workshop took place in July 2018. Below is a video made about the event, and a narrative report.

Video Report
Interview with Rohan Gunatillake
Summary Report

Active Minds was a two-day event focusing on how issues of mental health, accessibility, and neurodiversity intersect with technology and physical activity. The event had speakers from diverse areas. The keynotes were:

  • Dr. Gavin Doherty (Trinity College Dublin) Talk title: Designing better e-Health interventions.
  • Dr. Tadaaki Furuhashi (Nagoya University, Japan) Talk title: Hikikomori and “human movement consultation” [talk summary]
  • Dr Anja Thieme (Microsoft Research). Talk title: Design for Health and Wellbeing: How Technology can Meaningfully Assist People and why we should Extend their Unique Abilities
  • Dr William Simm (Lancaster University): Talk title: Co-creating empowering technologies for health self-management.

The keynotes discussed relevant work from different perspectives, including Computer Science, Psychiatry, Health Informatics and industry research. Each keynote talk was followed by a question and answer session.

We also had ten short talks about diverse issues. Topics and disciplines covered ranged from dentistry and its occupational mental health risk, technology design for depression, HCI and AI, lived and caring experience of psychosis and digital design for and with young people. Each speaker was also invited to sit on a panel for a discussion session with the audience.

In addition to the talks and discussions, we had a discussion session in which we arranged the attendees into small groups and asked them to consider three questions: “If you were to spend three years doing a PhD in this area, what would it be on?”, “if you were to spend 6 months do a collaborative project, what would it be on and who would it involve?”, “If you were to work on a community initiative, what would it be and why?” This sparked interesting discussions with groups, and between groups at the end with diverse ideas being proposed.

We also arranged for posters and demos to be presented, including a demo by a local NHS team.

To conclude the event we organised a public lecture by Rohan Gunatillake to talk about his experience and insight into developing technologies for mindfulness that are used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Drawing on examples from professional athletes to ordinary everyday life, his lecture made a very fitting ending to our event that technology, mental wellbeing and a range of human movements each had a unique role to influence each other and to contribute to our overall wellbeing and quality of life.

To support networking and discussion we organised several coffee breaks, and an evening meal in the West End of Glasgow.

The impacts of this work are still emerging, and include:

  • We brought together 75 people including academics, industry professionals, health professionals, charity workers and members of the public with lived experience of mental health issues to discuss topics related to the concerns of the EPSRC Get A Move On+
  • We organised a publicly accessible event at an NHS Hospital
  • We have changed the views of people on the relevance of mental health to the area of technology and physical activity and enabled people to see connections and parallels across different areas.
  • A grant application between several attendees will be made in late 2018 on issues relating to the workshop.

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