ELSE welcomes 2021 university placements

Design talent from Northumbria University and The Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College

Two more interns are warmly welcomed into the ELSE fold this summer. Phoebe Lewis and Jack Polturak are the latest design talent to join the Academy of Experience Design.

Phoebe Lewis, 3rd year ‘Design for Industry’ student at Northumbria Uni

There was an immediate fit with Phoebe. As her design studies progressed, she found herself drawn more and more to human centred design. “I’m fascinated about how human centred design can be used to drive positive behaviour change and make people’s lives better.”Phoebe first heard about ELSE when our own, David Friedmann, shared his experience at a talk to fellow Northumbria students.

“As soon as I heard about what ELSE did and their specialism in changing behaviour through design, I knew I had to apply for their intern programme.” Phoebe continues, ”Now that I’m here, eager to learn from experienced designers and to be exposed to aspects of experience design that uni won’t teach me.”


Long distance hand holding

Close to Phoebe’s heart is a project she’s been nurturing, since before Covid hit. Her product is designed for elderly people who have had to part ways and are living far apart. The concept is one that struck a chord with ELSE. Her twin products simulate hand holding, so that people can experience the sensation of a loved one holding their hand. The relevance of this now has only increased.


Jack Polturak, 3rd year student at the Dyson School of Design Engineering

In his 3rd year at Imperial College London, Jack brings with him energy and a love of product design. “Previous internships I’ve done have been of a more technical and mathematical nature”, explains Jack. “One of the many things that appealed about ELSE was the opportunity to explore UX and UI more. I wanted to experience and learn about this work at an industry level, with real experts in this field.”  

“On this internship experience I’m excited to solidify my interaction design skills while expanding my knowledge of design systems. I’m also interested in understanding how the nature of client relationships affects design direction.”

Giving autonomy to Parkinson’s sufferers

Jack was responsible for the UI development on a uni project which aimed to give autonomy to sufferers of Parkinson’s disease. The concept product is a handheld device called “Oria” which acts as a personal assistant. “Oria is essentially an inclusively designed smartphone for a demographic with limited technological fluency,” explains Jack.  “The main priority of the UI was to be as intuitive as possible, and the design process required intensive user testing. I found this process incredibly rewarding as I was able to learn a lot about the behaviours of our user group in the context of interface navigation and use this information to see quantitative improvements in the UI design.”  

As ELSE learned about this project through interviews with Jack, it was clear he would be a great addition to the intern programme.

The Academy of Experience of Design

Through our relationships with some of the best Universities and design institutions, we have access to emerging design talent. As well as advising on courses, we deliver modules and lectures and run formal internship programs. Placements have joined us from Imperial College London, Brunel and Northumbria University.

If you are interested in a placement with us, get in touch. 

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(Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash)