Our team

The majority of the XR Stories team is based at the University of York. The team includes staff across the broad spectrum of research and development, admin and professional services, creative technology and academic research. 

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. [email protected]

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 tools for object-based media broadcasting.  [email protected]

Emma Brown – Programme Manager

Emma has operational oversight for the day-to-day running of XR Stories and the associated project, SIGN. Emma leads planning, and oversees that XR Stories meets defined goals on time and within budget. 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 from 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 the benefits their research can bring and to figure out the best route to engage external organisations with this research.  [email protected]

John Rose-Adams – Creative Producer

John leads the R&D team and works closely with industry and academic partners to drive the growth and innovation of Yorkshire’s creative cluster. He has worked in higher education for over 10 years, leading strategic projects, research and development, research projects and programmes, and managing programmes of academic consultancy. [email protected]

Joe Rees-Jones – Creative Technologist

As Creative Technologist, Joe offers research and technical support to XR Stories-funded projects, as well as providing expertise on state-of-the-art immersive technology at the King's Manor creative lab. Joe graduated from the University of York Music Technology BSc and PhD in Music Technology, investigating the implementation of spatial audio in video games. Joe joined the Audio Lab at the University of York 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 wellbeing. [email protected]

Emma Willingham – Creative Media Labs Project Manager

Emma is a proactive Project Manager working within XR Stories and is the lead of the ERDF funded Creative Media Labs project. She is responsible for the operational management of the project, integrating robust processes, and developing budget and output forecasts in line with project risks. With her background in academic publishing, Emma has implemented agile workflows and new training while actively managing a team to achieve daily targets across a portfolio of over 50 journals. She brings an understanding of prioritising at short notice and adapting for effective problem-solving. Emma is keen to encourage strong team support and communication and aims to deliver a project that is pivotal for screen storytelling experiences.

Dan Norman – Creative Media Labs Administrator

Dan has a background in film and TV, and comes to XR Stories after working with the University of York's Research Theme Champions. He is a part of the Creative Media Labs team, assisting supported businesses, tracking outputs and preparing progress reports. He is responsible for compiling financial claims and procuring lab equipment.

Sue Edmunds – Communications Specialist

Sue is a marketing and communications professional with experience working in the higher education and private sectors. As Communications Specialist for XR Stories and XR Network+, Sue collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to create accessible and compelling communications across multiple channels.

Nina Willment – Research Associate

Nina is an economic and cultural geographer with expertise in digital labour and work in the cultural and creative industries. She graduated with a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London, where her thesis examined the working lives and workspaces of freelancers within the creative economy. Nina has also worked on various research projects including work on VR concerts, just transitions to decarbonisation and creative responses to industry resilience post-COVID-19. She specialises in a range of research methods, including online research methods such as netnography and qualitative methods such as interviews, visual methodologies and participatory approaches.

Sophie Palmer – Administration Manager

Sophie is the Administration Manager for XR Stories, and for the closely aligned SIGN project. Sophie leads a team of four administrators in the support of the two projects. Applying skills and knowledge from six years of experience in University project support, her role at XR Stories is to create, manage and review administrative systems for recording and maintaining project data, and to manage expenditure in line with University and funding body policies. She enjoys providing admin support to project stakeholders and using cloud-based technology to implement administrative systems which facilitate collaborative working by the project teams.