Ushering in summer research activities (weeks ending 01062012 08062012 15062012)

Weeks 143-145 of the DCRC have been rather busy with the annual array of double-marking, meetings and paperwork necessary to finalise marks and awards for this academic year. Equally, members of the centre have been involved in planning for a new academic year, a partial change of surroundings – as Media Practice and Culture moves to the Bower Ashton campus, and planning some upcoming events. DCRC researchers have contributed to the celebrations of Watershed’s 30th birthday, the Sheffield DocFest, embarked upon residencies and prepared for a summer of international travel.

On 31st May, in week 143, Constance Fleuriot presented some of the outcomes of the Keeping in Touch, Connected Communities, project with Roz Hall, formerly of Knowle West Media Centre, at the Communicate! event, held by the Support Hub. The talk focussed on digital inclusion through socially engaged practice, the powerpoint slides are available on the Support Hub website.

On 7th June Charlotte Crofts’ Projection Hero was featured in the Watershed’s 30th Birthday celebrations with a specially commissioned interface allowing users to choose between three strands of Watershed’s programming, Bristol Stories, Electric December and DepicT! Tarim, Media Playgrounds, designed the control system and worked with Watershed’s Paddy Uglow to design the new interface, which showed the versatility of the playground system, which is based on Tarim’s pttp protocol (which stands for Power to the People, see a recent talk at the Pervasive Media Studio). The possibility of developing a new mini ‘flea pit’ is being investigated due to popular demand. As part of the curation of the exhibit Watershed designed usherette costumes, complete with ice cream tray and pill box hat which Watershed staff sported whilst selling confectionary and demonstrating the installation.

Between the 12th and 13th of June, Professor Jon Dovey, Senior Research Fellow Mandy Rose and PhD candidate Tomas Rawlings all contributed to the Sheffield DocFest. On the 12th of June Mandy Rose facilitated a session on crowdfunding, with filmakers including Jeanie Finlay (Sound it Out) and Jennifer Fox (Flying). On the 13th of June Tomas convened a session (How to exploit the feedback loop) on the possible crossover of development methods from interactive media development to film-making, to which Jon Dovey contributed.

Between weeks 143-145, as well as finalising assessments, Patrick Crogan has been very busy with presentations and publications. Patrick has completed proof corrections for an article in a special issue of New Formations concerning the work of Bernard Stiegler. Patrick is working on several presentations he will be delivering while in Australia between late June-early July: on military robotics development and the goal of achieving operational autonomy in the near future; on Bernard Stiegler’s theory of cinematic and post-cinematic media, and on the various interweaved threads of simulational technoculture, at the heart of his recent book Gameplay Mode. Patrick will be presenting at the annual Society for Animation Studies conference in Melbourne, at the Australasian Association of Philosophy conference in Wollongong, and has been invited to speak at the University of New South Wales, at Swinburne Institute of Technology, and at the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney. In between he hopes to catch a game of proper footy (rugby league).

As a part of the AHRC Connected Communities-funded project Community Media-Spheres and the Creative Citizen, the DCRC is conducting research in coordination with hyper-local community media project South Blessed. The DCRC are pleased to be working with UWE colleague Shawn Sobers and to announce the appointment of long-term DCRC collaborator Emma Agusita as a Research Associate for the project. More information about this project will be made available in the near future.

Yvonne Buchheim’s research into Stage Fright has resulted in an investigation into the psychology of public singing. She has embarked upon a residency at the Psychology Department of the University of Bath and the resulting artwork will be exhibited at Institute of Interdisciplinary Arts (ICIA) in November 2012. The residency aims to explore how interactive technology might encourage self-expression and help to overcome doubt, shame and embarrassment. This follows from the publication of the Song Archive Project book, where chapters were themed on embarrassment and musical taste with contributions from behavioural and musical psychologists. The current research explores the psychology of public singing through an investigation of the fields of emotion communication, decision making and Neuroimaging and will encompass tests at the psychological technology lab in the university. The residency is part of the artist-in-residence programme of the ICIA and is supported by the DCRC.

Recently, Sy Taffel has been articulating some of the principal themes of his PhD research at conferences and in publication. In week 143, Sy gave a paper entitled ‘The Material Impacts of Virtual Images’ at the Beyond Representation: Humans Photography and Computers conference at London South Bank University. More recently, Sy’s essay ‘Ecologies of Machines: Commodities and Contribution’ has been published in Nyx.

At the end of week 145, Design Wales made available videos of the talks for their event ’10 things I learnt’, for which Research Fellow Sam Kinsley gave a talk entitled ’10 things I learnt about anticipating technology futures’. The video of Sam’s talk is available on the Design Wales Forum website and is accompanied by a transcript of the talk. More recently, and following from this, Sam has been enrolled as a consultant for an artists commission to produce a piece of ‘design fiction‘ for the ‘Open City‘ programme, which forms a part of the agenda for the European Capital of Culture Guimarães 2012.

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