Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




James Fathers


Digital Self-Expression;Embodied Interaction;Enactive Cognition Theory;Neurodiversity;Participatory Action Research;User Interaction Design


This thesis explores user interaction design for self-expression using an enactive approach to understand and enhance the ways in which people interact with digital media. The research investigates the applicability of Enactive Cognition Theory within interaction design, particularly focusing on voice and movement to create more intuitive and engaging experiences for community actors with diverse abilities. This study, employing participatory action research methodology, suggests a reevaluation of traditional user interaction paradigms which typically prioritize conventional inputs. The development process includes the cyclical phases of planning, action, observation, and reflection. It incorporates both direct user feedback and iterative design improvements, culminating in digital applications that support expressive, embodied self-expression through customized voice and movement recognition technologies. The applications were co-designed with a creative arts therapist, student assistants, and the All Star C.A.S.T. (Community Actors and Students’ Theater) group. This collaborative effort has shown great promise in improving engagement and self-expression among neurodiverse users. The approach highlights the need for flexibility, inclusiveness, and adaptability in design, suggesting a shift towards user interfaces that better resonate with human cognitive and sensory experiences.


Open Access



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