Throughout 2018 I’ve been working on a collaborative project about interactive media and technology and public engagement with climate change. An artwork that has resulted from this collaboration – here and now – was shown as part of the Great Exhibition of the North during the summer. There will be another opportunity to see here and now at the Great North Museum: Hancock on the evening of 28th September, as part of their European Researcher’s Night that has the theme of Planet 2.0. Admission is free so, come along to see our work and many other interesting projects.
One of the projects that has followed on from the Sound Spaces project in Liverpool has been to undertake a similar creative project, focussed on a particular site, in collaboration with arts and humanities academics, creative businesses, and those associated with this site. In this case: the 14th Century Church of St. Andrew in Heckington, Lincolnshire and the team of parishioners pursuing Heritage Lottery Funding for its preservation and development; my previous collaborators John Bowers, Tim Shaw and Magnus Williamson; and the Liverpool-based creative business Draw & Code and architectural illustrator Allan T. Adams.
The church has exemplary medieval gothic architecture, a rich history, and particular, if not unique, spatial qualities. It is also a place of particular significance to the parishioners we worked with, and somewhere they want to encourage others to engage with and use as a cultural and social resource.
Across two weeks of intensive creative work on-site in Heckington, separated by three months of planning and development in between, my collaborators and I developed several artworks that engage visitors with the site, its history, and the community around it. This culminated in a public exhibition and performance on 29 April, with several artworks remaining in place for the coming few months.
We have only just begun documenting the work:
- A collection of photographs on Flickr;
- A short video explaining ‘Speculative Rood’ one of the artworks.
The exhibition has also attracted some local press attention.
This is an interactive artwork I made with Tim Shaw and was one of the several pieces that resulted from the Sound Spaces project with John Bowers and Stefan Kazassoglou. Sound Spaces was an investigation, through making, of various intriguing locations across Liverpool in 2015. One of the places we visited was Liverpool’s Old Dock, which is largely unseen to passersby being underground in the foundations of the Liverpool ONE leisure and retail development. Anyone can visit The Old Dock by booking onto one of the free guided tours offered by National Museums Liverpool, but I wondered whether 360-degree spherical photographs, layered with images and sounds evoking the site’s past and present, could engage passersby above ground. I worked with Tim Shaw to create a first prototype, which attracted sponsorship from Liverpool ONE to develop and install the piece for two years. The artwork went live in April 2017, some of the first visitors being a convention of Lord Mayors!
The piece is intended to be viewed on location in Liverpool ONE. But the image below gives a flavour of it.
I’ve just come back from an intensive four-day workshop at FACT in Liverpool, working with Kinicho (a company specialising in kinetic/3D sound engineering), three researcher-practitioner colleagues from Newcastle University (Tim Shaw, John Bowers and Tom Schofield), and several people who signed up for the workshop which was part of FACT’s Build Your Own programme of activities. We visited several fascinating spaces across the city to make various recordings, which we then used to produce several interactive works for public performance and demonstration. During this time I created an interactive, layered, series of spherical panoramic photographs which can be explored here: http://simon-bowen.com/soundlines/ (For extra interaction, use a smart phone or tablet…)
We intend to develop these works further for a public installation towards the end of October.
I was at a Skills in Action event in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago delivering a workshop on academic-industry collaborations with my Lancaster colleague, Naomi Jacobs. Whilst there we were there, Times Higher Education spoke to us about the creative and cultural industry collaborations we have been involved in. Read the full article here.
I appear in these videos about improving health and social care services using designerly ways of working. These “Better Services by Design” videos are from a project of the same name I was part of during my work with User-centred Healthcare Design. They explain the opportunities and benefits of using designerly strategies and methods in improving health services, with examples from the two projects we worked with during the project. There are six short videos, beginning with the introduction below (follow this link, to see all six):
I’m presenting at the Design Research Society (DRS) conference in Umeå, Sweden. Discussing a quandary of research through design – as a designer-researcher, how can I capture the how/why of my designing (for research into design methods) without interfering with the designing itself.
The paper is now available online, here: http://www.drs2014.org/en/presentations/161/
I’ve had an article published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies on the work I did on digital mementos during my PhD. It’s part of a special issue on designing for reflection on personal experience and describes the work I did with my colleague Daniela Petrelli (who is the second author) where I used critical artefact methods to design ideas for the digital equivalent of mementos with groups of would-be users. See my publications page for bibliographic details and a link to download the paper from ScienceDirect.