Yuan Gao


My research background is practice-led in the media field generally.

  1. Oct. 2021 – Sep. 2025    University of Leeds                  PhD in the School of Media and Communication

Practice-led Project: The Importance of Sound in Online Museums: Practice Research Experiments into Giving Virtual Exhibits Aura by Adding Dynamic Sound

This study explores the value of sound in the context of digitally created online museums. It will focus on industrial object collections to balance predominantly visual display methods, enrich cross-modal engagement for audiences (hearing and visual), and enhance auditory learning resource databases of industrial collections in online museums. Due to the pandemic, online museums have been established rapidly since 2019 (see an example of the British Museum: https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/). This study claims that the sound from workable collections is very important in enriching learning resources, enhancing the connection between space to space or present to past, and enabling visitors to hear the historical vitality of the collection in an on-screen environment. This research will contribute to recalibrating visually-led online museum display methods towards cross-modal engagement. It may also play a role in conceptualising the notion of digital aura based on the work of Walter Benjamin. All theories will be tested, generated and revised via a series of experimental practice models. Therefore, in this practice-led research and practice is the method through which meaning is made. The research result is expected to generate a new definition of aura, as well as provide new approaches for museums to the digital and immersive display of their collections.

Therefore, this practice-led study will focus on three approaches and seeks to:

1) Exploring whether visitors can perceive the vitality of workable collections via sound in an online environment and establish a connection with history, to redefine and create a definition of the aura for digital collections.

3) Explore and encourage the development of sound recording technology in online museums, to meet or keep pace with the latest developments in digital multisensory technologies.

  1. Sep. 2019 – Sep. 2020   University of Sussex                MA in Media and Communications

Dissertation: Public Debates about Automation: self-driving cars and the controversy about automation and unemployment

Main focus:

● Analysing the gap between the rating of automation and its actual use by taking the example of automated driving technology.

● Presenting the debates of scholars, as well as the general public's reaction, to the impact that the capabilities of automation may have on the labour market and society.

● Clarifying the difference between the reached level of automation and the public’s expectation.

Project: A Commentary on ‘Facial Recognition’ Project

Project webpage: https://sites.google.com/view/yuangao1/facial-recognition

Main focus:

● Analysing critically Facial Recognition use in society and everyday life based on compulsory course theory.

● Practising website-making methods of navigation, brief timeline section, hyperlinks, interactive map embedding, icon design, et al. functions.

● Data copyright and ethical practice with CC.

  1. Aug. 2017 – Sep. 2019   Anyang Normal University       BA in Radio and Video Programming

Project: Feature video of the first children’s balance bicycle designer of China (25mins, in Chinese)

This project mainly focused on the following:

● Planning the interview with the subject and the way to express his backstory, as well as the way to enrich the three-dimensionality of the subject.

● Creating the video and interview script after getting to know the interviewer well, determining the audience for the film, and scouting the location.

● The rhythm of the film editing and the dubbing.

The project draws on motorcyclists and children's bicycle designers to show that even though we have to work for a living, we don't have to give up our dreams and hobbies, and people around us are supportive in their ways. The project aims to inspire confidence and hope in young people struggling to make ends meet.

Research interests

My research interest is how sound impacts the cross-modal perception of history aura in online museums. Sound from collections themselves is neglected in online museums, and the forces closure of physical museums after COVID exposed this issue. Missing data of those workable collections that can only be operated and illustrated in the physical museums led to incomplete and visually privileged experiences in online museums. I aim to redress this by exploring the role of sound as an additional experience and building a trend of developing multi-sensory engagement in online museums. Sound is a very important sense in relation to experiencing multi-sensory perception and as a way of building a better understanding of physical collections. Moreover, sound from collections can also enrich the digital database of virtual museums.

Therefore, I am interested in using practical experiments as a basis for adding sound from collections themselves to online experiences, enhancing the learning and engagement experience, enriching sound databases, and exploring the capability of sound in providing a multi-sensory on-screen learning environment in online museums.


  • BA Radio and Audio Programming
  • MA Digital Media