Project Introduction

In today’s developed societies we all own an unprecedented amount of “stuff” and nothing is more representative of this than our attitudes to the mobile phone. The increasing demand for smartphones in developed societies and the huge market for mobile phones in the developing countries have led us to ask the following questions:

  • Do you know what's in the stuff you use every day?
  • Do you know where the chemical elements in your things come from, how they're extracted and how much is left on our planet?
  • How often do you discard something rare and precious without even realising it?
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Project Summary

What’s In My Stuff? sets out to explore and to try and answer some of the above questions. The project seeks to engage with the public and explore the relationship between people and their gadgets. In doing so it hopes to raise public awareness of some of the emerging issues around critical materials supply, recycling and sustainability.

What’s In My Stuff? uses an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together scientists and artists in order to explore effective ways of engaging with the users of everyday technology to both seek their views and inform them of the key issues.

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The Research Team

What's In My Stuff? is a Sheffield Hallam University, Engineering for Life research network project, sponsored by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) and Harsco Metals. It is a collaborative project between Dr Hywel Jones and Dr Karen Vernon-Parry from the Material and Engineering Research institute (MERI) and Maria Hanson, Reader in Metalwork and Jewellery in the Art and Design Research Centre (ARDC).

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