Professor Toby Heys Head of SODA

Professor Toby Heys

I am the Head of the School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University. I have 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.


I am 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.

I work with the AUDINT research unit, which had its anthology Unsound:Undead published by Urbanomic in 2019. My monograph, Sound Pressure: How Sound Systems Influence, Manipulate and Torture was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2019. I am an affiliate member of Hexagram / CIAM (Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies Concordia University/Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Canada. I am also a member of The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review Associate College.