Drawing out interaction: Lines around shared space.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Despite advances in image, video, and motion capture technologies, human interactions are frequently represented as line drawings. Intuitively, drawings provide a useful way of filtering complex, dynamic sequences to produce concise representations of interaction. They also make it possible to represent phenomena such as topic spaces, that do not have a concrete physical manifestation. However, the processes involved in producing these drawings, the advantages and limitations of line drawings as representations, and the implications of drawing as an analytic method have not previously been investigated. This thesis explores the use of drawings to represent human interaction and is informed by the prior experience and abilities of the investigator as a practising visual artist. It begins by discussing the drawing process and how it has been used to capture human activities. Key drawing techniques are identified and tested against an excerpt from an interaction between architects. A series of new drawings are constructed to depict one scene from this interaction, highlighting the contrasts between each drawing technique and their impact on the way shared spaces are represented. A second series of original drawings are produced exploring new ways of representing these spaces, leading to a proposal for a field-based approach that combines gesture paths, fields, and human figures to create a richer analytic representation. A protocol for using this approach to analyse video in practice is developed and evaluated though a sequence of three participatory workshops for researchers in human interaction. The results suggest that the field based process of drawing facilitates the production of spatially enriched graphical representations of qualitative spaces. The thesis concludes that the use of drawing to explore non-metric approaches to shared interactional space, has implications for research in human interaction, interaction design, clinical psychology, anthropology, and discourse analysis, and will find form in new approaches to contemporary artistic practice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Healey, Patrick G. T., Supervisor, External person
  • White, Graham, Supervisor, External person
Award date5 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • gesture
  • drawing
  • shared space
  • gesture space
  • topic space
  • graphical research methods

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