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SpinPoi is run by Kate Riegle van West, an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in circus, digital art, and music. She has studied poi in a variety of ways over the past decade, such as opening a flow arts center in Chicago, creating the Orbitar (a digital poi musical instrument) during her master’s degree, and giving a TED talk on the potential value of poi.

She is currently conducting PhD research on the effects of poi on physical and cognitive function in healthy older adults at the University of Auckland. This research is the first to evaluate the health benefits of poi through a randomized controlled trial, and will hopefully pave the way for future rigorous flow arts research.

Kate has recently won first place in the international 3 Minute Thesis competition, and has received the Future Leader Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand.