Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice Senior Lecturer, Immersive Storytelling

Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice

Dylan Yamada-Rice is an artist and researcher specialising in storytelling and play. She works in a range of media including drawing, film photography and virtual Reality. Dylan studied Japanese Art History, semiotics and social science research methods before moving into experimental design. She obtained a BA in Art History and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London before going on to do postgraduate research in Japanese Art History at the University of Kyoto. She then went on to complete two Masters degrees in Childhood Education and Research Methods, before undertaking a PhD looking at children’s understanding of the visual mode within Japanese environments. This inter-disciplinary background has brought about a specialism in the role of culture in storytelling and use of emerging technologies, as well as how art and design practices can be combined with social science research methods to produce experimental means of collecting and analysing data. She has previously held academic posts at the University of Sheffield and in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art.

Email: d.yamada-rice@mmu.ac.uk


In addition to being a Senior Lecturer in Immersive Storytelling, Dylan also works as a Senior Research Manager for the digital games company-Dubit. In that role Dylan bridges research, product design and development for clients such as Lego, Duplo, Cartoon Network and CBeebies, as well as leads on collaborative research and development between industry and academia. Dylan also work as a consultant to industry. She was recently credited as the Educational Advisor on Foundling Bird’s new TV show, Moon and Me.


Dylan’s research sits at the intersection of experimental design and social sciences, focusing on digital storytelling, games and play on a range of platforms such as apps, augmented and virtual reality, as well as new content for television, all with an emphasis on media for children.


Nash, R., Yamada-Rice, D., Dare, E., Love, S., Main, A., Potter, D., Rodrigues, D. (2021) Using a collaborative zine to co-produce knowledge about location-based virtual reality experiences. Qualitative Research Journal, Vol.21 (2).

Yamada-Rice, D. (2021) Children’s interactive storytelling in Virtual Reality, Multimodality & Society, Vol. 1 (1), p.48-67.

Ikon, E., Wee, C., Dare, E., Lewis, M., Biderman, K.,  Gordon, L., Pochodzaj, J., and Yamada-Rice, D, ‘Exercises in Exorcism, Ways of Healing (through) Art Education’. In: Baier, W., Canepa, E., Golemis, H. (eds) (2021) Capitalism’s Deadly Threattransform!  London: Merlin Press.

Yamada-Rice, D., Dare, E. Main, A., Potter, J., Ando, A. Miyoshi, K., Narumi, T., Beshani, S., Clark, A., Duszenko, I. Love, S., Nash, R., Rodrigues, D., and Stearman, N. (2020) Location-Based Virtual Reality Experiences for Children: Japan-UK Knowledge Exchange Network: Final Project Report. Available online at: <https://ukjapanvr.wordpress.com/2020/06/13/nalprojectreport/>

Yamada-Rice, D. & Love, S. (2019) Designing tech for health: Developing a mixed reality playkit to help children who need an MRI Scan. RIAS Quarterly, Vol. 38 p. 57.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2019) Including Children in the Design of the Internet of Toys: In Mascheroni, G. & Holloway, D. (Eds) The Internet of Toys: Practices, Affordances and the Political Economy of Children’s Smart play.

Yamada-Rice, D., Rodrigues, D. & Zubrycka, J. (2019) Makerspaces and Virtual Reality, Chapter 5. In: Blum-Ross, A., Kumpulainen, K. & Marsh, J.(eds) Enhancing digital Literacy and Creativity: Makerspaces in the Early Years. Routledge.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2018) Licking planets and Stomping on Buildings: children’s interactions with curated spaces in Virtual Reality. Children’s Geographies, Vol.16 (5).

Yamada-Rice, D. and Marsh, J., (2018) Using Augmented and virtual Reality in the Early Childhood Curriculum. Printed Publication available online at:
<http://digilitey.eu/wpcontent/uploads/2018/06/DigiLitEY-Policy-VR.pdf >

Marsh, J. A., Plowman, L., Bishop, J, Lahmar, J and Scott, F, Yamada-Rice, D. (2018), Play and creativity in young children’s use of apps. British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol. 49 (4).

Yamada-Rice, D. (2018) Designing Play: young children’s play and communication practices in relation to designers’ intentions for their toy. Global Studies of Childhood, Vol.8, No.1. p. 5-22.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2017) Designing Play for Dark Times. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Vol.18 (2). p. 196-212.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2017) Using visual and digital research methods to capture young children’s interaction with and comprehension of images. In: Christensen, P. and James, A. (2017) Research with Children: Perspectives and practice, 3rd Edition, Routledge.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2017) Designing connected play: Perspectives from combining industry and academic know-how. In: Chaudron S., Di Gioia R., Gemo M., Holloway D., Marsh J., Mascheroni G., Peter J., Yamada-Rice D. Kaleidoscope on the Internet of Toys – Safety, security,
privacy and societal insights, EUR 28397 EN, doi:10.2788/05383

Marsh, J., Plowman, L., Yamada-Rice, D., Bishop, J. & Scott, F., (2016) Digital play: a new classication, Early Years an International Research Journal, Vol. 36 (3). p. 242-253

Marsh, J. and Yamada-Rice, D. (2016) Bringing Pudsey to Life: Young Children’s Use of Augmented Reality Apps. In: Kucirkova, N. and Falloon, G. (eds) Apps, Technology and Younger Learners. Routledge.

Nutbrown, C., Clough, P., Levy, R. Little, S., Yamada-Rice, D. Bishop, J., Lamb, T., (2016) Families’ roles in children’s literacy, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Vol.15. (35).

Marsh, J., Plowman, L., Yamada-Rice, D., Bishop, J.C., Lahmar, J., Scott, F., Davenport, A., Davis, S., French, K., Piras, M., Thornhill, S., Robinson, P. and Winter, P. (2015) Exploring Play and Creativity in Pre-Schoolers’ Use of Apps: Final Project Report. Available at: <www.techandplay.org>

Yamada-Rice, D. (2015) Semiotic Landscapes: Cultural
affordances of texts in and of Japanese landscapes. In: Pahl, K. & Rowsell, J. (eds) (2015) Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies. Routledge.

Yamada-Rice, D. & Stirling, E. (2015) Visual Methods with
Children and Young People. Academics and Visual Industry in Dialogue
. London: Palgrave.

Yamada-Rice, D., Procter, L., Stirling, E. & Almansour M. (2015) Review: Margolis & Pauwels (eds) (2011). The Sage Handbook of Visual Research Methods, Visual Communication, Vol. 14. (2).

Yamada-Rice, D. (2014) The Semiotic Landscape and Three-Year-Olds’ EmergingUnderstanding of Multimodal
Communication Practices, Journal of Early Childhood Research, Vol. 12, (2), p. 154-184.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2014) Using Multimodal Social Semiotic
Theory and Visual Methods to Consider Young Children’s
Interaction with and Comprehension of Images. SAGE Research Methods Cases Collection.

Levy, R., Yamada-Rice, D. and Marsh, J. (2013) Digital literacies in the primary classroom. In: Hall, K., Cremin, T., Comber, B. and Moll, L. (eds) (2013) International Handbook of Research in Children’s Literacy, Learning and Culture. Wiley-Blackwell.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2011) New Media, evolving multimodal
literacy practices and the potential impact of increased use of the visual mode in the urban environment on young children’s learning. Literacy, Vol. 45, (1), p.32-43.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2011) A Comparative Study of Visuals in the Urban Landscapes of Tokyo and London, Visual Communication, Vol. 10, (2,) p.175-186.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2011) The Benefits of Sign Language in the International Preschool Curriculum. In: Murphy, E. (ed) (2011) Welcoming Linguistic Diversity in Early Childhood Classrooms. Multilingual Matters. p.112-124.

Yamada-Rice, D. (2010) Beyond words: An enquiry into
children’s home visual communication practices. Journal of
Early Childhood Literacy,
 Vol.10, (3), p. 341–363.

Research Funding

Countermeasures: Giving children better control over how they are observed by digital sensors.
PI Angus Main, and Co-I Dylan Yamada-Rice, RCA, John Potter, UCL.
EPSRC via the HDI Network £50k

2010- 2021
VR and Mixed-Realities Play Kit to Prepare Under 10s for an MRI Scan
PI Yamada-Rice, RCA & Dubit, Co-I Jill Thompson & Penny Curtis, University of Sheffield, Steve Love, GSA and Helen McQuillian, Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Trust
Innovate UK £389k

Location-based Virtual Reality experiences for children: Japan-UK knowledge exchange network
PI Yamada-Rice and Co-Is Angus Main and Eleanor Dare, RCA, John Potter, UCL, Steve Love, GSA, Ando, Hashilus, Kei Miyoshi, Location-based VR Association Japan, Narumi, University of Tokyo

Sweet Dreams: R&D project creating a theatrical performance about the benefits of sleep.
PI Wendy Harris, Tutti Frutti, Co-I Yamada-Rice, RCA & Dubit, Sheffield Children’s Hosptial NHS Trust
Wellcome Trust and Garfield Weston Foundation

Makerspaces: Enhancing Digital Literacy and Creativity (MakEY)
PI Jackie Marsh, University of Sheffield, Co-I Yamada-Rice, Dubit and multiple academic and industry partners

Children and Virtual Reality: emerging possibilities and challenges
PI Yamada-Rice, Dubit

Designing the Internet of Toys: play and communication practices in relation to designers’ intentions for their smart-toy
PI Yamada-Rice

Exploring Play and Creativity in Pre-schoolers’ Use of Tablet Apps
PI Jackie Marsh, University of Sheffield, Co-I Dylan Yamada-Rice, University of Sheffield, Lydia Plowman, University of Edinburgh, Cbeebies and Dubit

Co-production of a blueprint for the inclusion of children in digital game design
PI Yamada-Rice, Co-I Pete Robinson, Dubit
IIKE-funded industry sabbatical

Developing videogames and play for hospitalised children
Co-I Dylan Yamada-Rice

Videogames network exhibition, AHRC Creative Economy Showcase