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Many Makings in Heckington St. Andrew’s Church

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.

Speculative Rood, part of the illuminations exhibition

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:

The exhibition has also attracted some local press attention.

Moving on to Pastures New(castle)!

This week I joined Culture Lab at Newcastle University, who engage in a broad range of research into human-computer interaction and digital creative practice (basically they do lots of cool stuff that pushes the boundaries of where and how digital media and technology can support everday life). I’m part of the Digital Interaction research group, working in the Creative Exchange project.

cx_logoCreative Exchange (CX) is an Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project exploring the potential of “digital public space” – i.e. the idea that anyone can now be a media producer, any time and any place (rather than just broadcasting corporations, publishers etc.). CX is based on knowledge exchange collaborations between academics, creative industry partners and the public focused as a series of PhD projects at three Universities (Lancaster, Newcastle and the Royal College of Art). As the Research Associate for the Newcastle cluster, my role is to plan and deliver the knowledge exchange research agenda through supporting the 9 PhD students in Newcastle.

There’s a huge variety of work both in CX and Culture Lab, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in!

Dr. Simon Bowen

Simon at a Pop-up Lab during Metro Futures Screenshot from Layers of the Old Dock the "here and now" interactive artwork, peppered moth visualisation

I am a design researcher, designer, and photographer based at Open Lab, Newcastle University where I develop and coordinate design research projects, supervise PhD students, and teach interaction and participatory design.

My research concerns design making (sometimes called designerly thinking) as a means of collaboration and innovation, which I have investigated in a range of settings including academic-industry knowledge exchange, health and social care, and community- and citizen- led public services (‘digital civics’).

My design work includes interactive media, speculative designs and design fictions, public services, digital games, and web sites for various contexts including cultural heritage, health and social care, mindfulness and technology use, and technologies and media for personal remembering.

My photographic work includes landscape, architecture, and travel. And, since 2015, I have been exploring the potential of panoramic and spherical photography.

Lastly, I don’t ‘blog very often but you will find the occasional news item or opinion posted below.