Current Students

Belén Barros Pena

My PhD explores the design of financial technology and services for later life, in partnership with the Vulnerable Customers team at Santander UK.  Research has highlighted how payment methods mediated by digital technologies alienate older adults through a combination of accessibility barriers, problematic design affordances and value perceptions.  The dematerialisation and ongoing digitisation of payment systems can undermine the practices by which older adults keep control over their finances. It can also reduce the ability of older adults to mitigate the risks they take when entrusting others with financial matters. Furthermore, digital services are often perceived by older adults as representing an exploitative form of banking that is too focused on increasing shareholder profits, and on promoting spending rather than saving. My research aims to use participatory design and a lifecourse perspective of ageing to design more appropriate financial technologies with older adults. It will explore how technology could leverage the communal aspects of financial transactions, and the strengths of traditional forms of payment, to be better tied to the values and practices of older adults, and improve their access to financial services.

Supervisory Team: Prof. John Vines, Design (Northumbria), Prof. Lars Erik Holmquist, Design (Northumbria), Dorothy Liviabella, (Santander UK).

Start Date: October 2017.