Job title: Programme Director, Design Informatics

Role: Director of Inspace

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2971


Office address: Informatics Forum, 1.52

Research outputs: Dave Murray-Rust on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dave Murray-Rust is a Senior Lecturer in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He has a MEng in Information Systems (Cambridge), MSc in Informatics (Edinburgh) and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Music (Edinburgh). His work is concerned with ways that people, data and things interact. He is researching questions such as: How can we ensure that there is space for people within computational systems, preserving privacy, choice, identity and humanity while making use of possibilities of computational coordination and personal data? How can we understand the “social machines” – large-scale human-computer collective systems – that are a manifestation of the algorithmic society that we are heading towards? How can we work with things that have an increasing sense of agency, from sensing to responding to shaping the world around them? In practice, this relates to: IoT, personal data, human data interaction, physical computing and manifesting data.

His artwork relates to the research questions, and explores interactions between people, matter and computational systems. His work has been shown internationally, in particular Lichtsuchende, which has been exhibited at ZKM (Exo-evolution exhibition, 2016), the New Technology Art Awards (Ghent, 2015), Edinburgh Science Festival (2017). He is also Director of Inspace, a public engagement space where data meets culture.

Current funded research includes: Chatty Factories (EPSRC - developing continuous digital ethnography), GeoPact (EPSRC/Interreg - location based smart contracts), VisHub (EPSRC - visualisation for early career researchers).

​Dave Murray-Rust is Programme Director for the Design Informatics MA and MFA.​

He runs courses on:

  • Design with Data (MSc, group design around IoT and data materialisation)
  • Data Science for Design (MSc, introduction to programming and data science in a social context)
  • Connected Things (undergraduate, introduction to IoT)

My wide ranging set of research interests can be summed up as investigating human-algorithm interaction: how do people interact with computational systems at scales from small and personal to societal and global. I’m most interested in where we need to develop new ways of thinking to account for the dizzying variety of human experience within digital architectures to build systems that are humane and supportive.

Current projects:

  • Chatty Factories: how can we use continuous digital ethnography based on IoT data to understand the ways in which people use objects, and derive design insights from data. (EPSRC EP/R021031/1)
  • GeoPact: how can we bring location into smart contracts in a secure and privacy preserving manner?
  • Lichtsuchende: using a simple robotic society to explore how designers and visitors experience embodied algorithms
  • Data Experiences: exploring how data gives rise to experiences, through data visualisation, data comics, physicalisation and Inspace - an emerging hub where data meets culture.
  • Experiential AI: how do we use creative practice to better understand artificial intelligence, as publics, practitioners and researchers?
  • Social Machines: how do we understand the large scale computational systems that people live and work within

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

Accepting applications.

​Human data interaction

  • Social machines
  • Personal data (privacy, security)
  • Digital ethnography
  • Blockchains and DLTs
  • Internet of Things