Dr Kevin Walker


  • Kevin Walker
  • Area

    School of Communication


    Head of Programme

  • Kevin Walker is a researcher, designer, writer and artist working at the boundaries of the digital and physical –specifically in curation and computation in physical spaces, grounded in cognitive and cultural theory. Author of Hackers & Slackers (2012), co-editor of Interior Futures (2019) and Digital Technologies and the Museum Experience (2008), his background is in journalism, art and design, interactive media and anthropology.

  • Biography

  • Kevin Walker studied journalism and media before moving into art and design. He obtained a BA in Anthropology and Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992, and then worked in radio and television. He gained a Masters in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University, focusing on physical computing, applying this subsequently as Senior Software Designer for Exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

    Since then Kevin has continued to design museum exhibits and media as well as produce artworks, and work with artists to help them realise their technical ambitions. Kevin moved to London in 2003 to pursue doctoral research in Museums and Technology, completing a PhD in 2010. Simultaneously he participated in funded research projects involving sensor networks, mobile technologies and science education. Before coming to the RCA, he served as Course Director of the MRes in Information Environments at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, and worked as an artist.

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  • Practice

  • Kevin Walker’s artistic practice has encompassed digital minimalism, digital/physical installations, traditional drawing and painting. His LED piece Space Station was installed at Old Street underground station in 2013–14. In 2012 he held a gallery residency and exhibited work in a group exhibition, and in the Bristol Shakespeare Festival. He also worked on two theatre pieces for the Future Cemetery project, collaborating with writers to bring stories to life at Arnos Vale Cemetery.

    In his design practice, Kevin creates interactive exhibits and installations, web sites and undertakes technology consultancy. Clients have included Centre Pompidou, British Library, V&A and Samsung. Several installations and web sites have won various awards.

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    • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

    • Exhibitions & installations

      Space 2016, London 2016

      Possessed Objects, London 2014

      Queen's State Apartments, London 2014

      Space Station, London 2013-14

      Trace, Bristol 2012

      Selected publications

      Uribe Forés, M. and Walker, K. (2019) The relational surface. In Harriss, H., Brooker, G. and Walker, K. (Eds.) Interior Futures (in press)  

      Walker, K. (2018) Investigative design: Materiality, systems, critique. Beyond Change: SDN Design Research Summit, 8-10 Mar 2018, Basel  

      Walker, K. (2018) A systems approach to design innovation. Cumulus Conference 11-14 Apr 2018, Paris.  

      Fass, J. and Walker, K. (2016) Decomputing the Pigeon Sensorium. Animal-Computer Interaction conference, Milton Keynes.

      Ferrarello, L. and Walker, K. (2016) The form of sound through hybrid materials. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH, 24 Jul 2016, Los Angeles, USA.

      Walker, K. (2016) Resonance research: Sonic reverence, social relevance. Resonate, 14 Apr 2016, Belgrade.  

      Walker, K., Smith, O. and Tacchini, F. (2016) Sonic presence and spectral technology. The Power of Presence, 8 June 2016, Kyoto.

      Walker, K. and Fass, J. (2015) De-Computation: Programming the world through design. NORDES, June 2015, Stockholm, SE.

      Claisse, C. and Walker, K. (2014) Big Dada: From visualisation to experience. Death of the Desktop workshop at VIS 2014.

      Walker, K. and von Ompteda, K. (2014) 'PhysicSpace: from quantum to human scale', in IEEE VIS 2014 Arts Program, Paris, November 2014

      Walker, K., Hogg, S. and di Duca, D. (2013) 'Mechanics of wonder: scripting visitor experiences with technology'. NODEM Conference, Stockholm, December 2013

      Von Ompteda, K. and Walker, K (2013) 'Critical Visualisation in a Museum Context'. NODEM Conference, Stockholm, December 2013

      Walker, K. and Craft, B. (2013) 'Data, representation and aesthetics', in: Zhou, C. (ed.) Information in Style. Beijing: ADPP

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    • Awards and Grants

    • Community data journalism

      (AHRC 2013 –14) RCA, Guardian, Changify
      This project investigates the visual storification of quantitative and qualitative data from young people and local businesses using participatory design of a community installation/intervention, linked to a mobile/online platform.

      Methodological Innovation in Digital Arts & Social Sciences (MIDAS)
      (ESRC 2013 –14) LKL, RCA, UAL, Brunel
      The project aims to map, exploit and extend  synergies between the digital arts and social sciences to develop an innovative methodological framework capable of capturing a more holistic understanding of embodiment. 

      Low Tech / High Tech
      (UAL 2013 –14) LCC, CSM, Chelsea, RCA 
      Funded community of practice between myself & other artists at London College of Communication, Chelsea College of Art and Central St Martins School of Art, around the theme in the title, resulting in exhibited work and a publication.

      (EPSRC 2013) RCA, Imperial, TfL
      Pilot project manifesting urban digital data in physical forms. This was run as a 6 week project between RCA MA students and Imperial College researchers; and a separate design intervention partly funded by Transport for London resulting in permanent installations in Old Street underground station, London.

      (AHRC/NESTA/ACE 2012) Spike Island, Lighthouse, Site Gallery, Caper, University of Warwick

      This project, funded by NESTA, Arts Council England and AHRC, aimed to bring computational thinking, agile methodology, physical computing and arts analytics to a diverse arts organisation. See the project blog here

      Designing With Intent: influencing behaviour in transitional spaces 
      (EPSRC 2011) UAL, Kings College London, MoD
      This project aimed at influencing behaviour in the transitional spaces between physical and digital.

    Selected work

    Publications & exhibitions


    Research interests

    Current and recent research

    My research draws from science, journalism and artistic research to investigate how technology mediates human communication and experience. Specifically, this combines concepts from systems thinking and investigative journalism to critically explore technologies including networked sensors and machine learning in relation to meaning making by humans and machines in physical spaces.


    Research students