Kate Devlin

Senior Lecturer, Senior Tutor
Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Kate Devlin

The Seconf International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots will be held on 19-20 December 2016 at Goldsmiths, Universty of London, UK. There will also be a sex tech hackathon at Goldsmiths on 17-18 December.

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. I am also the departmental Senior Tutor.

My research focuses on how we can apply knowledge of visual perception and cognition to areas such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assess how people interact with, and react to, technology. My current research is focused on cognition, sex, gender and sexuality and how these might be incorporated into cognitive systems. I have a background in both archaeology and computer science and have combined these with applied perception, focusing on digital cultural heritage.

I am an active campaigner for mental health awareness and also for raising the profile of women in computing.

My research is interdisciplinary, under the Goldsmiths' umbrella of Cognition, Computation and Culture, and I have published in all three of these areas. I apply knowledge of perception and the human visual system to assess how people perceive the world around them. This has led to projects in areas such as sensorimotor theory, colour and light perception, interaction design and accessibility - and sex robots.

The Brightness of Things book cover

Following my undergraduate degree in Archaeology from Queen's University, Belfast, I spent a couple of years working in a wide range of muddy trenches on rescue excavations in Ireland. Back to Queen's to undertake an MSc in Computer Science and Applications. A bit more digging, a short time as a programmer, a PhD in the Computer Science department at the University of Bristol, a post-doc in the Arch and Anth department, then a move to Goldsmiths.

I also focus on digital cultural heritage, especially representations of past environments. My work has involved travelling internationally to carry out data capture, such as laser scanning of archaeological sites and artefacts - usually those under threat of destruction. In 2014 I signed with Bloomsbury Publishing's Sigma label. My popular science book, The Brightness of Things: An Adventure in Light and Time is due out in 2017. This book explains why the way in which we understand archaeological sites and objects is often interestingly inaccurate. It examines our perception of past environments and explores the often surprising difficulties when it comes to deciding how the past might have looked.

I am currently supervising Tolga Arslan's PhD on colour and cognition, and Janet Gibbs' PhD on Sensory augmentation for gaming: a sensorimotor approach. I also supervised Karsten Seipp's PhD in interaction design on mobile devices, and Monica Moreno's MSc on Artificial Sexuality.

As a feminist, I strive towards highlighting the role of women in computer science and addressing sexism and the gender imbalance in the computing industry.

In 2013 I was one of 60 experts selected out of over 2000 applicants for training as an expert contributor and presenter at the BBC. I have taken part in BBC television and radio training at the BBC Academy and am part of the BBC's Expert Women database.


Feedback and consultation hours: Book a slot at https://katedevlin.youcanbook.me/

In academic year 2016-2017 I am teaching the following:

2014/15 TALIC Fellowship: Investigating good practice in learning and teaching for students with chronic mental health conditions.
2007/08 CELT Fellowship: Teaching Web 2.0 by doing Web 2.0

I am also a strong advocate for the legitimate use of biscuits as a teaching aid.

    Within Goldsmiths

    • Chair of the departmental Athena SWAN self-assessment team and member of the College's Athena SWAN self-assessment team.
    • Departmental Equality and Diversity officer
    • UCU branch Equality and Diversity rep and UCU caseworker


    • Member of the EPSRC Associate Peer Review College
    • Member of the EPSRC ICT working group on equality and diversity
    • Committee member of The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), the largest Artificial Intelligence Society in the United Kingdom.
    • Member of the steering committee for the newly-founded European Society for Cognitive Systems (arising from EUCog: European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems, Interaction and Robotics)
    • Member of the TeenTechCity steering committee.
    • Member of the Scholarship Committee for the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG)
    • Member of the advisory board of the London Charter

    Reviewer for:

    • EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, CHI, Journal of Archaeological Science, IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Digital Humanities (2009-present), Eurographics, Computers & Graphics, SIGGRAPH, IEEE Computer Graphics and Application, Electronic Visualisation & the Arts (EVA).


Research outreach and public engagement

My recent articles on Women in Computing

My recent articles on mental health