Interface is a major interdisciplinary research project into the history and meanings of the human face. Based in the History Department at King’s College London, Interface collaborates with leading international researchers across the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. It also centres the value of lived experience as a way of understanding the impact of medicine, science and technology on users and their families. This expertise is represented in the Interface Advisory Board.
Professor Fay Bound Alberti
Fay is the Interface lead and in 2019 became one of the first UK Research and Innovation Future Fellows. Fay works on the histories of medicine, gender, emotion and the body. Her books include Matters of the Heart: History, Medicine and Emotion (2010) and This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture (2016) and A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion (2019). In 2023 she became Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for Technology and the Body at King’s College London. Fay has worked at a senior level in funding, as Head of Philanthropy for the Arcadia Fund and Head of Medical Humanities Grants for the Wellcome Trust.
The Advisory Board
Professor Richard Ashcroft
Richard Ashcroft is Professor of Bioethics at City, University of London, where he is Executive Dean of the City Law School. Professor Ashcroft has worked for more than 25 years on ethical issues relating to medicine and public health, with a particular interest in the ethics of medical research. He trained in History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, and has worked at the universities of Liverpool and Bristol, Imperial College London, and Queen Mary, University of London, before joining City in 2019. Richard is Chair of the Advisory Board.
Professor Joanna Zylinska
Joanna Zylinska is a writer, artist and Professor of Media Philosophy + Critical Digital Practice at King’s College London. She is the author of a number of books – including AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams (Open Humanities Press, 2020), The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) and Nonhuman Photography (MIT Press, 2017). Joanna is also involved in more experimental and collaborative publishing projects, often on an open-access basis. Her own art practice involves experimenting with different kinds of image-based media. She is currently researching perception and cognition as boundary zones between human and machine intelligence, while trying to map out scenarios for alternative futures. Her latest book is The Perception Machine: Our Photographic Future Between the Eye and AI (MIT Press, 2023).
Dr Jaz Gray
Jaz Gray, PhD is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Pepperdine University and an international public speaker. She believes that story transforms the soul. She is a narrative researcher with expertise in entertainment and patient narratives who is interested in both how people in marginalized communities can use narrative to develop resiliency and how the media production process can be used to empower those communities. After earning a bachelor’s with a concentration in Journalism from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s in Television, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University, she spent several years working in one of the most appearance focused industries in the world – Hollywood (Los Angeles, CA). She worked for companies including TV network BET and film studio Paramount Pictures. During that time, she co-founded the studio’s first ad hoc committee to address health-related diversity among employees.
Jaz has had nearly 50 surgeries for a rare craniofacial disability. In addition to teaching, she speaks, moderates panels, and leads workshops on a range of topics including the power of stories, media representation, health equity, empowerment, healthy self-image, patient-centered care, and resilience. Her work is centered in service. Her nonprofit Jaz’s Jammies has collected over 17, 000 of pairs of pajamas for sick and displaced children and organized volunteer opportunities for over 8,000 people.
Dr Anna Ciaunica
Dr Anna Ciaunica is a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal; and Research Associate at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, the UK. Before that she was Research Associate at the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London; and postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She obtained her PhD from the University of Burgundy, Dijon, France.
Anna is currently PI on three interdisciplinary projects looking at the relationship between self-awareness, embodiment and social interactions in humans and artificial agents. Her approach is highly interdisciplinary, using methods from philosophy, experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, phenomenology and arts. More recently, Anna has deepened the concept of minimal selfhood in utero developing as a process of co-embodiment and co-homeostasis. Apart from the numerous scientific papers published, Anna is currently working on a book: ‘From Cells to Selves: the Co-Embodied Roots of Human Self-Consciousness’.
She is also coordinator of the Network for Embodied Consciousness, Technology and the Arts (NECTArs) – a collaborative platform bringing together artists, researchers, stakeholders, policy makers and people with lived experiences, aiming at fostering creative solutions to timely questions such as self-consciousness and (dis)embodiment in our hyper-digitalized and hyper-connected world.
Professor Sir Simon Wessely
Simon Wessely is a psychiatrist and epidemiologist. He started his psychiatry training at the Maudsley in 1984, and joined King’s College School of Medicine, as it was then called in 1991. He has been at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, ever since.
He did pre-clinical at Trinity Hall Cambridge, with a BA in History of Art, and then BM BCH at University College Oxford. His Masters and Doctorate are in epidemiology.
He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2021 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).
His is the first ever Regius Chair to be appointed at KCL, and the first Regius Chair of Psychiatry in this country. He established the King’s Centre for Military Health Research in 1996, and remains the Co-director, and since 2013 has been the Director of the PHE NIHR Health Protection Unit for Emergency Response and Preparedness, which has been very active during the COVID-19 crisis.
He is a Past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Society of Medicine. Between 2017 -19 he led the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, which paved the way for new legislation in 2022.
As of Jan 2021 he has 850 professional publications,. >41,000 citations: H index 100 (Scopus), 138 (Google).
Robert Chelsea is the first African American recipient of a full face transplant, and acts as a specialist consultant for the AboutFace project. He received his transplant in 2019, after a car accident in 2013 left him with burns covering 60% of his body and face. Robert works to raise awareness and participation of organ and tissue donors. He is a public speaker, sharing his story of hope and survival and overcoming adversities. In 2018, Robert established the Robert Chelsea Foundation.
Dame Anne Marie Rafferty
Anne Marie Rafferty, RN DB FRCN FAAN FMedSci, is Professor of Nursing Policy and Past President of the Royal College of Nursing. She is a historian, health workforce and policy researcher. She was seconded to the Department of Health to work with Lord Ara Darzi on the Next Stage Review of the NHS and awarded a CBE for services to healthcare in 2008. She served on the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery 2009-10 and been recipient of various awards including Nursing Times Leadership Award (2014) and Health Services Journal Top 100 Clinical Leaders Award in 2015. She holds fellowships from the Royal College of Nursing, American Academy of Nursing and was elected into the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2019. She co-lead a Student Commission on the Future of the NHS supported by NHS England and was a member of the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales, which reported in 2018. She was appointed member of the NHS Assembly in 2019.
Professor Nichola Rumsey, OBE
Nichola is Emerita Professor of Appearance Psychology, University of the West of England, where she founded the Centre for Appearance Research in 1992 and was its Co-Director until 2018. She has attracted over £9m in funding to support research on appearance and has published widely in the field. Nichola was a member of the RCS Expert Groups on Face Transplantation from 2003-2004 and 2006-7. She has led several EU funded projects and was the Chair of COST Action IS1210 “Appearance Matters” from 2013-2017. Nichola has been elected an Honorary Life Member of the South African Burns Society, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain & Ireland (CFSGBI) and was appointed OBE in 2016 for services to people with disfigurement. Nichola now works as a Consultant Research Psychologist and is developing training and clinical aids designed to improve standards of patient care in the cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery sectors.