Dr Charlotte Crofts is a creative producer and Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking and Creative Media in the faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, UWE. With a background in filmmaking and editing, Charlotte’s creative practice began to incorporate context-aware app development after attending one of the DCRC’s paradigm-shifting Pervasive Media Summer Schools.
Since then Charlotte has worked closely with residents at the Pervasive Media Studio. Her award-winning Curzon Memories App (available for Android and iOS) celebrates the centenary of the Curzon Community Cinema in Clevedon. The project, which was funded by DCRC and a UWE Spur Early Career grant, was developed with studio resident Jo Reid (Calvium) using the AppFurnace platform. Visitors explore the cinema with a smartphone that uses their GPS position and QR codes to trigger interactive site-specific media content to enhance knowledge and understanding of the exhibits. The focus of the project lies in the innovative application of mobile technologies, designing positive user experiences and contributing to DCRC’s research into the aesthetics of locative media. The app is available on iTunes App Store and Google Play. It won the General Education Multi-Media award at the British Universities Film and Video Council’s Learning on Screen Awards 2013 and is featured in the Pervasive Media Cookbook.
The Curzon project also includes Projection Hero, a miniature cinema installation which you can manipulate with your smartphone, made in collaboration with another studio resident, Tarim (Media Playgrounds). The installation situates the user as a projectionist – you can dim the lights, open the curtains and play movies which all feature interviews with retired projectionists, exploring the dying art of cinema projection in the digital age. Projection Hero is on permanent display at the Curzon. Tarim and Charlotte are currently working on a smaller version called The Fleapit, which has also had an incarnation as a giant pop-up cinema version at Encounters International Film Festival.
Charlotte’s next project was part of the AHRC REACT Hub ‘Heritage’ Sandbox scheme to develop City Strata a new mobile curation / authoring platform in collaboration with creative economy partner, Jo Reid (Calvium) and heritage partner, Peter Insole (Bristol City Council). The platform enables developers to create heritage experiences based on different layers of Bristol’s history, drawing on the council’s interactive GIS map Know Your Place. The platform was protyped with the Cinemapping layer, which enabled users to access cinema heritage in the field by streaming live data from the historic cinemas layer in Know Your Place. As part of the sandbox, the team undertook a number R&D acitivies which resulted in a white paper on ‘Making Scalable Location-Aware Mobile Apps’ and an award-winning poster outlining the project which was presented at the REACT showcase and at MeCCSA 2013 ‘Spaces and Places of Culture’.
Charlotte’s most recent app is The Lost Cinemas of Castle Park (available on iOS), a GPS triggered audio tour which spans over a 100-years of cinema exhibition and features 17 cinemas in Castle Park and the immediate area, from the first moving pictures screened at the Tivoli Music Hall in 1896 to The Watershed, Britain’s first media arts centre. The app also features an appearance from Cary Grant who recalls frequenting The Clare Street Picture House as a boy, where he learned how to use a pastry fork. The app was launched at an event in Castle Park on Sunday 24 March 2013 (the anniversary of the opening of Bristol’s first purpose-built cinema, The Queens Picture Hall, in 1910), which included a pop-up cinema screening of Mad About Music the first film screened at the nearby Odeon cinema in 1938. The app has been invited to be featured in the Bristol Walking Festival 2014.
Charlotte is currently collaborating with Tim Kindberg and Mandy Rose on the AHRC REACT funded Nth Screen project developing a multi-screen social media video app which can synchronise the recording and playback of any number of cameras.
As part of her Associate Teaching and Learning Fellowship, Charlotte is observing UWE Students’ work placements with Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, during which they are developing content for a heritage app to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the bridge. The app will be ready for the launch of the new Heritage and Learning Centre in Decebmer 2014.
Charlotte publishes on the impact of digital technologies of all aspects of the cinema industry, including ‘Digital Decay‘ and ‘Cinema Distribution in the Age of Digital Projection’ (cited in the DCMS report on the Film Policy Review).
Charlotte is also the editor of Screenworks a peer-reviewed online publication of screen media practice research.