Dr Nigel Newbutt

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  • Qualifications:BSc (1st Class Hons), MA, PGDip, PhD, FHEA, FRSA
  • Position:Senior Lecturer/Senior Researcher in Digital Education
  • Department:Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries, and Education (ACE)
  • Telephone:+4411732 87881
  • Email:Nigel.Newbutt@uwe.ac.uk
  • Social media: LinkedIn logo Twitter logo

About me

I hold a BSc (Hons) in Digital Media, coupled with an MA in Higher Education and a PhD examining the role and potential of virtual reality technologies for autistic children. 

From 2001 – 2004, I gained industry experience working in animation, TV and digital media industries; working with a range of clients and on a diverse set of projects.  This has been coupled with experience of designing, validating and running programmes of study at UK and Irish Universities since 2005.  I have held a Senior Lecturer role since 2007 and also been appointed to roles at University College Dublin (Research Manager and College Lecturer) and UWE (Associate Head of Department).    

My current role as Senior Lecturer / Researcher involves 50% protected time for research (until 2021) to help develop digital education agendas in the department in addition to accelerating
my resaerch agenda/foci.  

Since 2007, I have developed an active and growing research profile including presenting at conferences, article publication, book chapters and awards for my work. In recognition for my work in assistive technology contexts, I was recently (2019) appointed Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Enabling Technologies, a Journal that seeks to "provide a strong, insightful, international, and multi-disciplinary evidence-base in health, social care, and education".

My current role at UWE, in the Department of Education and Childhood, involves helping to develop and expand the digital education agenda.  In doing so, I will help to deliver the BA (Hons) Education award in addition to undertaking research in schools involving the use of technology (specifically VR). 

I have received funding (internally and externally) to help support my research. For example, I recently completed an EPSRC Fellowship (over 6-months) at Michigan State University (College of Education) investigating the acceptance and role of virtual reality technology used by people on the autism spectrum.  Other research includes the role that virtual environments can play to develop communication and social skill opportunities for young people with autism. Current lines of enquiry involve the use of head-mounted displays in autistic children in schools.  

Some recent research​ (2018) was featured on BBC Somerset Breakfast that explored the use of VR by autistic pupils in a school; audio link here​ and video link here.  In addtion, BBC Click featured some of the VR work in April 2019, as part of the National Autism Awareness month (16 mins. into this clip).

A brief clip of some of the EPSRC-funded work (with MSU) can be seen here and link to the MSU news item, here​.

UWE press release of the project here.​

Area of expertise

Digital media, technology, digital mediated communication, virtual reality technologies (VRTs), education, autism, research methodologies

Publications

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