Design School

School staff

Dr Kerstin Leder-Mackley

Photo of Dr Kerstin Leder-Mackley

Research Associate

Kerstin joined the Loughborough Design School as a Research Associate on the RCUK-funded HotHouse project in December 2014. She works with Dr Val Mitchell and an interdisciplinary team of researchers to study domestic hot water consumption now and with a view towards possible futures. Building on her earlier work on the LEEDR project, Kerstin draws on sensory-ethnographic research with 20 family households to explore how hot water use is embedded in everyday life and in relation to existing and emerging heating and hot water systems. A key aim is to allow ethnographic knowledge to meaningfully inform an interdisciplinary methodology that includes numerical modelling as well as the creation and analysis of future scenarios.

Between 2011 and 2014, Kerstin worked as Research Associate in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. Alongside Prof. Sarah Pink, she was chiefly responsible for the visual- and sensory-ethnographic research on LEEDR: Low Effort Energy Demand Reduction. In her role, Kerstin contributed to the creation of an online dissemination platform, Energy and Digital Living, directed by Sarah Pink in collaboration with the Design+Ethnography+Futures programme at RMIT University, Melbourne.

Prior to her position at Loughborough University, Kerstin was a Research Fellow at the School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University. As part of TOTeM (Tales of Things and electronic Memory), she studied the social implications of tagging technology within the emerging Internet of Things.

Originally from Germany, Kerstin graduated with a BA Honours in Film and Television Studies from Aberystwyth University in 2003. She was one of the first successful candidates on the Masters in Audience and Reception Studies at Aberystwyth University (2003-2004). Her interest in audiences and emotional responses to the media led to her doctoral thesis, ‘Audiences talking “fear”: a qualitative investigation’, published online in 2009.

Kerstin is the LDS School Representative on the LURSA committee (Loughborough University’s Research Staff Association), having previously served as the Association’s joint Chair (2013-2015). She is an Editorial Associate of Participations: International Journal of Audience and Reception Studies.

Kerstin has contributed to 14DSP851 - Design Research Methods at Loughborough Design School.

She has taught in the areas of film and television studies, audience and reception studies and qualitative research methods at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Aberystwyth University, and on the BA in Communication, Media and Culture at the Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes. During her time at Brunel University, she assessed student work on the BSc in Multimedia Technology and Design.

Kerstin is interested in the study of people, media and technologies, and sustainable futures. Her research spans a range of areas, including:

Digital media and technologies

Sensory and visual ethnography

Interdisciplinary methodologies

Human computer interaction

Material culture

Domestic energy consumption

Hot water futures

Sustainable design

Media audiences

HotHouse: Hot water provision in homes - consumption, storage and lifestyle

HotHouse builds on the data and research methods developed on the LEEDR project to explore existing and possible futures of domestic hot water consumption. It combines ethnographic research, future scenarios and numerical modelling and simulation techniques in order to situate family homes, their hot water systems and domestic routines now and in a series of future scenarios that will be developed in conjunction with Forum for the Future.

The project is working with a number of organisations to guide the work (see Project Partners) and will provide insights on the future impacts on daily hygiene routines, new hot water consumption and whole house simulation models.

LEEDR: Low Effort Energy Demand Reduction (2010-2014)

The interdisciplinary LEEDR project, based at Loughborough University, was jointly funded by the UK Research Councils’ Digital Economy and Energy programmes (grant number EP/I000267/1). The project combined energy monitoring data with in-depth qualitative social research to inform digital design interventions for more sustainable living. For further information about the project, collaborating research groups and industrial partners, please visit

  • Pink, S and K Leder Mackley (2014) Reenactment methodologies for everyday life research: art therapy insights for video ethnography, Visual Studies, 29(2), 146-154.

  • Pink, S, Leder Mackley, K and R Moroşanu (2013) Hanging out at home: laundry as a thread and texture of everyday life, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Published online before print, doi: 10.1177/1367877913508461.

  • Leder Mackley, K and S Pink (2013) From emplaced knowing to interdisciplinary knowledge: sensory ethnography in energy research, Senses and Society, 8(3), 335-353.

  • Coughlan, T, Leder Mackley, K, et al (2013) Current issues and future directions in methods for studying technology in the home, PsychNology, 11(2), 159-184, .

  • Pink, S and Leder Mackley, K (2013) Saturated and situated: expanding the meaning of media in the routines of everyday life, Media, Culture and Society, 35(6), pp.677-691.

  • Pink, S, Leder Mackley, K, Mitchell, V, Hanratty, M, Escobar-Tello, C, Bhamra, T, Moroşanu, R (2013) Applying the lens of sensory ethnography to sustainable HCI, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 20(4), 1-22.

  • Barthel, R, Leder Mackley, K, et al (2013) An internet of old things as an augmented memory system, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 17(2), 321-333.

  • Pink, S and Leder Mackley, K (2012) Video and a sense of the invisible: approaching domestic energy consumption through the sensory home, Sociological Research Online, 17(1),