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Dr Simon Holland

Profile summary

Professional biography

Simon is a Senior Lecturer in Computing. He is Founder and Director of the Music Computing Lab, and a member of the Centre for Research in Computing and the Interaction Design Research Group. Simon’s research interests are in Music Computing, Digital Health and Human Computer Interaction. 

Research interests

Simon Holland founded and directs the Music Computing Lab, a research group in the Centre for Research in Computing.  His research focuses on the interconnected areas of Music Computing, Human Computer Interaction, and Digital Health. He has served as PI or Co-I on ten external research grants, totalling nearly £4.5 million, including Polifonia (EU, € 3,025,435.06), the HAPPIE Haptic Authoring Pipeline for Immersive Experiences (Innovate UK, £998,538), the AHRC  E-Sense Project on digitally enhanced senses, £200,000), the Haptic Bracelets (Goldcrest Trust),  the ESRC Older People and Technological Inclusion ESRC project, and the NATO Science Committee. He has published over 100 refereed research articles, and co-edited two seminal books on Music and HCI. He was co-author of Human Computer Interaction (Preece et al)— for many years the worldwide best seller in HCI. He was a founding member of the editorial Board of the Journal of Music Technology and Education. He was lead organizer of two international workshops on Music and HCI, the most recent at CHI 2016 in San Jose.  He has devised numerous human-centred computing systems and interaction techniques including Harmony Space, the Haptic Bracelets, the Haptic Drum Kit, the Audio GPS, and a new and highly expressive form of interaction, Direct Combination.  He has supervised 12 PhD students to completion, and examined 24 PhDs. He is currently co-Investigator on the Innovate-UK funded project, Happie - Creative touch, Design prototyping, and leads a research collaboration with PJ Care Neurological Care Homes.

He is lead Editor of  New directions in music and human-computer interaction. Eds. Holland S, Mudd T, Wilkie-McKenna K, McPherson A, Wanderley MM  Springer, London. ISBN 978-3-319-92069- 6 (2019).

Teaching interests

Simon has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Tutoring systems, Human Computer Interaction, Smalltalk, Object Oriented Programming and Design and Software Engineering. He was  been presentation chair of M868, and has taught on PMT80, PMT607, M868, M206, M255 M256, M250,  TM354, TM356  He is is currently teaching on TM255, Communication and Information Technologies, and TM356, Interaction design and the User Experience.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
CRC: Human Centred ComputingCentreFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Music Computing LabLabFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Pervasive Interaction LabLabFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology


Externally funded projects

CoA: HAPPIE Audience of the Future - Creative touch, Design prototyping
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Dec 202031 Mar 2021UK Research and Innovation

For distance learning students often it is difficult to facilitate creative studio-based activities in the same format as conventional universities. This can result in a short fall of distance learning students ‘maker-process’ skills and practice. The benefits of haptic technology for applied online education, such as e-crafts and e-design practice, is that it enables and enriches the student’s hands-on approach. Currently haptic technology is able to aid students’ interactions to 3D virtual environments. However, haptics that could afford greater sensory engagements with the maker-process with a fidelity akin to real-world is still to be developed. This project aims to embed haptics within a variety of ‘hands-on’ methods, designed by Open University (Engineering and Innovation school) academics. This will enable the development of a working haptic prototype which will focus on haptics and the ‘maker-process’ aiming to add value to core learning technology resources for undergraduate and post graduate programmes. In line with the OU’s ‘access to learning policies’ there is a greater onus placed onto inclusive learning, and the provision of accessible learning technology to include a variety of learners with a range of needs e.g. sensory impairment, motor skills etc… By increasing access to virtual immersive technologies a wider student body could be given access to engage with their own version of the maker-process using multimodal interactions.