Our team

  • Damian Murphy

    Damian Murphy, Director

    Damian is a leading researcher in Audio and Music Technology at the University of York, with his work on virtual acoustics, auralisation and audio signal processing placing him in over a hundred leading journals and conferences. His creative work has appeared in galleries and festivals of international reputation: these specialisms combine in his role as the University of York’s Research Theme Champion for Creativity.


  • Marian Ursu

    Research and Development Lead Co-Director

    Marian leads multi and interdisciplinary research in Computer Sciences and Artificial Intelligence within creative industries, including Film, Television, Theatre, Art and Design. He began working on the development of Creative Computing as a new area of research at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is now Head of Interactive Media in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York, and Director of DC Labs where major projects include developing tolls for Object Based Media Broadcasting.


  • Andrew Higson

    Academic Partnerships and Skills Co-Director

    Andrew was one of the first generation of students to undertake a PhD in Film Studies in the UK, at the University of Kent. He joined the University of York in 2009 as the Greg Dyke Chair in Film and Television Studies and was previously Professor of Film Studies at the University of East Anglia. Andrew has published various papers since 1989 on national and transnational cinema as well as papers on the British heritage film, on the British new wave, on silent cinema, on Channel 4 television and on film acting. More recently, he served for four years as a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Postgraduate Panel for Visual Arts and Media.


  • Emma Brown

    Programme Manager

    Emma has worked at the University for over a decade, and in her previous role supported academics to engage with industry, and to understand what external organisations need form academic research. She has supported the transfer of academics’ knowledge and research through spinning out, licencing, collaboration and networking. Emma has also worked with numerous academics to frame what benefits the research can bring and the best route to engage external organisations. Prior to working at the University, Emma worked with blue chip companies in retail and logistics, spanning process and system development, new concepts and product development. She has managed large multi-partner projects, including IP arrangements.


  • Hugo Heppell

    Hugo has more than 25 years’ experience in the film and television industries. After co-producing La Belle Epoque, written by Francois Truffaut and Jean Gruault, he joined Open City Films and set up Down to You (Miramax), Chuck and Buck and Series 7: The Contenders. In 2003 Hugo became Head of Production at Screen Yorkshire, and was executive producer on This is England and This is England ’86. He is now Head of Investments at Screen Yorkshire, sourcing projects for investment, negotiating funding deals and has creative oversight of the projects that receive investment.

  • Kate O Connor

    Industry Partnerships Co-director

    Kate is Chair of the BFI Research Committee and member of the BAFTA Learning and New Talent Committee. In January 2015 Kate established a successful consultancy practice specialising in education, training and skills in the creative industries and works with a range of clients in the UK and internationally. In November 2016 she was appointed Executive Chair of the newly formed Animation Council, now officially part of the UK Screen Alliance representing key screen sectors including animation, VFX, studios, post production and facilities.

  • Harriet Finney

    Harriet is Director of External Affairs and sits on the BFI’s executive board to guide policies, strategies and public affairs aims set out by the organisation’s five year film plan. She previously held the position of deputy CEO at the Creative Industries Federation. Harriet’s priorities include delivering the BFI’s new skills strategy, promoting the BFI Diversity Standards initiative to the wider industry, and devolving more funding across the UK’s regions.

  • Joe Rees-Jones

    Creative Technologist

    Joe graduated from the University of York Music Technology BSc and MSc by Research in Music Technology, investigating the implementation of spatial audio in video games. Joe joined the Audio Lab as a PhD student to develop his research, including an award-winning investigation into the impact virtual reality could have on community singing and mental well-being.


  • John Rose-Adams

    R&D Project Manager

    John’s role is to identify and nurture projects with commercial promise. He’s here to make sure the projects XR Stories support are the absolute best they can be.

    John joins XR Stories following on from 10 years of working in higher education, leading on strategic projects, research and development, research projects and programmes and managing programmes of academic consultancy. He is often seen running very short distances, running a small upholstery business, and running out of time.


  • Caroline White

    Creative R&D Partnerships

    Caroline works closely with industry and academic partners to drive the growth and innovation of Yorkshire’s creative cluster. Her role is to identify businesses and work with them to shape projects that can enable the businesses to grow.

    Caroline has over 14 years’ experience of the creative industries, initially as a designer and then as part of several large economic projects supporting games, technology and screen businesses. Her achievements include securing investment, building projects and managing partnerships. For several years, she has helped support several immersive SMEs across the North-West and worked with larger partners such as CISCO, BT, BBC and City Football Group to shape their commercial immersive strategies.