The Centre for the New Midlands has appointed Faye McCabe as its first Research Fellow, to support its mission to create new research and help shape a ‘better’ West Midlands region.


Formed shortly before the March 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, the West Midlands based think tank has developed its work across its two initial workstreams (‘Housing and Communities’ and the ‘Digital environment’) and the appointment of Faye is a significant step in the organisation’s commitment to create new research which focusses on the West Midlands region.  The creation of opportunities for Early Career Researchers to showcase their work has always been a guiding principle for the only independent think tank to serve the West Midlands region and Faye’s appointment is likely to be the first of several from across the region’s higher education institutions.


Faye McCabe

Faye, who will be supervised by Professor Bob Stone (the Centre’s lead on eXtended Realities within its Digital workstream), is a PhD student member of the Human Interface Technologies Team at the University of Birmingham, where she graduated with a BEng in Computer Systems Engineering in 2017. Her research is in the field of Human Factors and human-centred design.  Her PhD focuses on future maritime platforms, and how autonomy could be introduced and interfaced with in order to create dynamic and trust-rich human-machine teams. Her thesis posits how trust can be fostered through multi-modal interaction and interface design.  Faye has worked on VR, AR and MR projects in education, heritage, and healthcare, and is hoping to expand into bringing the rich history of the Midlands to life by creating digital, shareable experiences for everyone to enjoy and learn from.


Chris Smith, Founder and Managing Director of the think tank commented,


“I am delighted to be welcoming Faye as the first, of what I know will be many, outstanding Research Fellows to join us here at the Centre for the New Midlands.  I am delighted that we will be able to share Faye’s talent, expertise and new research with our audiences to help shape a ‘better’ region”.


Professor Stone added,


“Faye was a natural choice for this appointment.  Although her primary focus is completing her PhD in the coming months, her participation in other projects, especially those in the field and involving interaction with members of the public and schoolchildren, will be invaluable.  From climbing over an old Russian submarine in the River Medway, to scanning long-abandoned historical sites in the West Country, Faye already has a portfolio of experience relevant to this post.


Building on our projects in the field of Virtual Heritage in the southwest, we’re hoping to engage with a wide range of organisations, schools and individuals, demonstrating the power and impact of using interactive XR and creative media technologies to expose key historical and educational assets of the Midlands and, importantly, to inspire the next generation of creative media specialists”.