UCLIC - UCL Interaction Centre


UCLIC's History

UCLIC is a successor to the Ergonomics Unit, which was founded in the mid-1960s as an intercollegiate organisation with its UCL roots in Engineering. The concerns at this time were focused on the physical environment (heat, lighting, stress). As interests shifted more towards the cognitive, the Ergonomics Unit moved to be associated with the Psychology Department, under the leadership of John Long, and flourished until John's retirement in 2001.

Black and white image showing MSc group trip down a mine in the sixities

As interests shifted more to interaction with computer systems, so the focus of research and teaching shifted towards HCI. So it was a natural development, on John's retirement, for Computer Science to become involved. And so in 2001, UCLIC was born, initially under the Directorship of Harold Thimbleby. Ann Blandford took over as Director in 2004 and then in 2011 Yvonne Rogers succeeded her. UCLIC moved, physically, from a leased office block near Tottenham Court Road to the main campus in 2008, where it was co-located with Computer Science. There has been another move since then, along with some parts of Computer Science to a recently refurbished building, just around the corner on Gower Street. Research, teaching and interactions with industry are all flourishing.

In 2011, we celebrated 10 years of UCLIC with a networking event for past and present students, workers and friends of UCLIC, that was aptly named 'UCLIC@10'. Rachel Benedyk provided much entertainment on the night with her potted history of UCLIC! You can read more about the event in our 2012 newsletter and see how UCLIC has progressed since then in more recent newsletters.

UCLIC turned 21 in 2022! We celebrated this coming of age with a series of special events, such as fun get-togethers, Professor Duncan Brumby's inaugural lecture, and Professor Ann Blandford's Festschrift, among others. On 7 July 2002, Graduation Day, a giant 21st inflatable and white balloons personalised with UCLIC’s iconic logo greeted students, staff, former colleagues, alumni and collaborators in the stylish environment of the North Orangery, Wilkings Building. Attractively displayed were also copies of the new issue of UCLIC News, a poster selection with UCLIC’s past and present achievements, and a range of eco-sustainable freebies, such as ‘oaky cork' wireless chargers and reusable biodegradable coffee cups. The event was a celebration of our newly-graduated MSc students as well as an opportunity to share ideas and memories, while reflecting on UCLIC's milestones over the past 21 years, looking forward to the future and relaxing over a glass of wine.

A number of current PhD students presented demos of their cutting-edge research to a totally bowled-over audience: