Dr Nigel Newbutt

Profile Photo
  • 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 Media Technology, 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 held roles at University College Dublin (Research Manager and College Lecturer) and UWE (Associate Head of Department).    

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 am module leader on BA (Hons) Education delivering digital learning modules.  This is in addition to undertaking research in schools involving the use of technology.

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 along with the co-design of a robot in schools for autistic pupils (more here

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. 

A summary 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 loading Publications loading...

Back to top