Rachel Jacobs presenting at Nottingham Contemporary as part of the When The Future Comes event in 2018


Current Research Projects 2022

woman next to the Future Machine in Finsbury Park, London, November 2021

Future Machine Research with
Horizon Digital Economy

Developing new methodologies for researching audience interactions with the Future Machine . Developing the mobile phone app and bespoke QR code technologies at each place where the Future Machine visits as part of ‘When The Future Comes’. Studying Audience interactions with the physical machine, mobile phone app and QR codes.


nested objects - rainbow coloured measuring cups and three Babushka dolls (large, small and baby) to inspire the Little Earth's workshop

Republic of Learning
with Proboscis, Manifest Data Lab, Central St Martins (UAL)

Visiting Research Fellow at Central St Martins, completing the final online RoL workshop of this series and writing about the project.

cardboard prototype for a hand held interactive mirror

Reflections in the Mirror Space
Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub (TAS) and Horizon Digital Economy,
University of Nottingham

Collaborating with the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems for Healthcare Experiences team to explore the potential for embedding interactive mirrors into our homes to support healthcare and wellbeing. Designing a series of prototypes to be presented at public workshops and artistic experiences that encourage mental and physical wellbeing.

Research Projects 2021

Future Machine under the blossom tree, in full pink blossom, surrounded by grass, with building behind, in Christ Church Gardens in Nottingham

Future Machine Research with
Horizon Digital Economy

Developing an agile system that combines the physical Future Machine, the mobile phone app and bespoke QR code technologies at each place where the Future Machine visits. Studying Audience interactions with the physical machine, mobile phone app and QR codes.


A mobile created by a participant as part of a Republic of Learning workshop, with a face, a baby and materical attached to a coat hanger

Republic of Learning
with Proboscis, Manifest Data Lab, Central St Martins (UAL)

Visiting Research Fellow at Central St Martins and co-facilitating a new series of public Republic of Learning online workshops. Exploring different themes relating to the atmospheric commons, climate futures and what a return to some sense of ‘normality’ means.

a visualisation of the memory machine as a cake

Memory Machine 2.0
Mental Health Institute and Horizon Digital Economy,
University of Nottingham

Designing and building a prototype digital device that curates memories for personal reflection, education and reminiscence for dementia care. Co-facilitating the design process and 3 public workshops to test the prototype.

Research Projects 2019/2020

Climate Emblem - felt circle co-created by participants in the Republic of Learning festival, representing their concerns and thoughts about climate change

Republic of Learning 2019/20
with Proboscis, Make, Manifest Data Lab, Central St Martins (UAL)

A series of public workshops, research and sharing ideas about the impact of climate change. Developed with Proboscis and Manifest Data Lab as part of Rachel’s work as a Visiting Research Fellow at Central St Martins.


activities from the When The Future Comes event

Identifying the Ineffable
with University of Bristol

Co-Facilitator of an artist workshop exploring how a group of artists attune to the ineffable in the places where they they work with Prof Esther Eidinow, Department of Ancient History and Fourthland. Leading to ongoing conversations and an AHRC funding bid exploring the ineffable.

Halfway to the Future 2019
with the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham

Presenting the Future Machine artwork as part of the interactive art display at an HCI conference in Nottingham to celebrate 20 years of the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham.

Active Ingredient and Rachel Jacobs have been involved with academic research since creating the artwork Chemical Garden in 1999. Active Ingredient developed an ongoing collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham in 2005 as part of the development of their mobile phone art game ‘Ere Be Dragons.

In 2009 Rachel Jacobs joined the Horizon Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Nottingham to do a PhD in Ubiquitous Compunting for the Digital Economy, Her thesis – The Artists’ Footprint: Investigating the distinct contributions of artists engaging the public with climate data – was completed in 2013.

Dr Rachel Jacobs is now an Associate Researcher at the Mixed Reality Lab/Horizon Digital Economy Institute, University of Nottingham and Visiting Research Fellow at Manifest Data Lab, Central St Martins, University of Arts London.

Her research combines artistic and scientific processes, exploring artists working with climate data, developing data experiences through socially engaged and environmentally engaged arts practices, within and alongside Human Computer Interaction (HCI). She regulary collaborates with climate scientists and has published her research in arts and humanities, HCI, climate science and social science journals and conferences.

Rachel’s current research explores how environmental and socially engaged artworks can impact on our connections and relations to nature, community and wellbeing. Working with interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Nottingham, the British Antarctic Survey and Prof Esther Eidinow from the University of Bristol she is studying the impact of her latest artwork – Future Machine – exploring the importance of ritual, ineffability and place in our ability to respond to risk, uncertainty and environmental change. This research is proposed to take place over at least 10 years, to explore how engagements with longitudinal artworks such as Future Machine can help support resilience in these uncertain times.

2019 Republic of Learning Workshop Series, Bookleeter

2019 Jacobs R., Marland, P. and Benford S,. In Walking, Landscape and Environment. Routledge. pp. 168-186

Jacobs, R., Abbott, F., Urquhart, L. and Price, D., 2019. Performing the future: an artist-led project engaging with risk, uncertainty and environmental change. Journal of Risk Research, pp.1-15.

Jacobs, R., Schnädelbach, H., Jäger, N., Leal, S., Shackford, R., Benford, S. and Patel, R., 2019, May. The Performative Mirror Space. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-14).

Jacobs, R. and Leal, S., 2018. Digital Participation Through Artistic Interventions. In Digital Participation through Social Living Labs (pp. 37-54). Chandos Publishing.

Vallejos EP, Baker C, McGarry J, Joyes E, Carletti L, Bartel H, Jacobs R, Gale-Feeny A, Higginbottom R. What is home? An art-based workshop to explore the physical, relational and wellbeing properties of Home. Journal of Applied Arts & Health. 2017 Dec 1;8(3):341-55.

2017 Jacobs R, Howarth C, Coulton P. Perspectives on Scale: Art/Science
Collaborations Across the Local and Global, Forests and City, Communication and Collaboration on Climate Change Special Issue, The International Journal on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

2016 Jacobs R, Benford S, Luger E, Howarth C. The Prediction Machine: Performing Scientific and Artistic Process. InProceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems 2016 Jun 4 (pp. 497-508).

2015 Benford S, Greenhalgh C, Anderson B, Jacobs R, Golembewski M, Jirotka
M, Stahl BC, Timmermans J, Giannachi G, Adams M, Farr JR. The ethical implications of HCI’s turn to the cultural. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI). 2015 Sep 8;22(5):24.

2014 Coulton, P., Jacobs, R., Burnett, D., Gradinar, A., Watkins, M. and Howarth,
C., 2014, November. Designing data driven persuasive games to address wicked problems such as climate change. In Proceedings of the 18th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Media Business, Management, Content & Services (pp. 185-191). ACM.

2013 Jacobs R, Benford S, Selby M, Golembewski M, Price D, Giannachi G. A
conversation between trees: what data feels like in the forest. InProceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2013 Apr 27 (pp. 129-138). ACM. (Honourable Mention Award)

2016 Jacobs R. The Artists’ Footprint. Leonardo. Oct;49(5):461-.

2014 Jacobs R. The Artists’ Footprint, PHD Thesis, University of Nottingham

2012 Blum J. Flintham M. McAuley D. Jacobs R. Watkins M. Lee R. Shackford R.
Selby M. Leal S. Giannachi G. Timestreams: Supporting Community Engagement in the Climate Change Debate, Digital Futures Conference (Best Paper Award)

2011 Jacobs R. Giannachi G. Benford S. Performing Natures’ Footprint, VISUAL
AND PERFORMING ARTS, Edited by Stephen Andrew Arbury, Aikaterini Georgoulia, Athens Institute for Education and Research