Professor Toby Heys is the Head of the School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has a cross-disciplinary and multi-sensory research and practice profile, which results in the production of mobile apps, software, installations, books, vinyl recordings, and immersive experiences.
Toby is currently the primary investigator on a number of projects including: An Innovate UK ‘Audiences of the Future’ project named ‘Audience with a Hero’ (funding – £1m) in collaboration with SME’s Forever Holdings and Bright White. This project uses virtual reality to develop and test new story-led production processes, to enable audiences to have the experience of meeting a ‘hero’ in virtual space, who will tell their personal story and answer questions in real-time; A Big Lottery funded project titled ‘Helping Young Carers Cope with Loneliness’ (funding – £83,000) in conjunction with the Gaddum Centre Charity. In partnership with the Gaddum this arts-based project involves working with a small group of young carers to co-create AI emotion-sensing music tools that express their experiences as a group and as individuals; An Arts Council funded touring project called Unsound : Undead (funding – £25,000), which is touring 5 UK galleries. The project explores the edges of human perception through the lens of wearable technologies and their relationships to conflicted states of being.
Toby works with the AUDINT research unit which had its anthology Unsound : Undead published by Urbanomic in 2019. His monograph Sound Pressure: How Sound Systems Influence, Manipulate and Torture was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2019. Heys is an affiliate member of Hexagram / CIAM (Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies Concordia University/Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Canada. He is also a member of The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review Associate College.