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UK

Leadership in Science

Leadership in Science

It's not every day that you have a meeting with the good and the great in Manchester within a ball pool, but this was that day. Organized by Siemens and the Museum of Science and Industry, a select number of Manchester leaders were brought together to consider how to address the low levels of productivity within the North West. 

It was a first step in re-thinking how we collaborate, inspire, and stimuate the economy of the region, at a crucial time in Manchester's history. Ahead of the European City of Science and the Northern Powerhouse debates, this was a fantastic and inspiring conversation which was made all the more remarkable by it taking place in an adult ball pool!

 

Drone Expo

Drone Expo

Another big delivery for me within the Manchester Science Festival was the Drone Expo at the Museum of Science and Industry, which took place over the opening weekend of the festival. It was produced in association with my Josh Award for Science Communication and we created a large flying space at MOSI with professional pilots and STEM volunteers to show the public what's happening with this amazing techology.

Pitch to Pixel

Pitch to Pixel

Opening at the National Football Museum this week is a new exhibition I was involved with producing, through my relationship with the museum's artistic director, John O'Shea.

I have worked with John for many years now and he has done amazing work in bioart and new media art. He has brought together an extraordinary exhibition of the last 40 years of football computer games to show how much gaming has evolved and how close art and life now come together.

The exhibition is on until June, so plenty of time to see it. It's worth spending a whole day at least, just to experience the different kinds of game interfaces and appreciate how they have changed over the years.


Making Digital Work

Making Digital Work

As part of the Digital R&D for the Arts funding stream overseen by Nesta, they put together a programme of presentations as a final showcase. I was asked by their new Director for Digital, Tim Plyming, to make a contribution to the final session of the day, looking at future directions. It was a really fun panel with Freya Murray, Director, Stamp House; Anthony Lilley OBE, Interim CEO and Creative Director, The Space and CEO, Magic Lantern Productions; David Watson, Head of Digital, Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

Salford Alumni event

Salford Alumni event

University-of-Salford-087e1.jpg

This week, I was privileged to speak at the University of Salford's London meet up. It was a unique event for me and incredibly humbling to see and speak to so many remarkable people who have come through the university, including a Lord who was involved with writing the House of Lords report on drones - the subject of my talk! It was a great way to conclude an extraordinary first academic year at the university.

University of Salford 087e1
University of Salford 087e1

UK Space Conference & the Internet of Things

UK Space Conference & the Internet of Things

This week, I took part in a Battle of Ideas debate at the UK Space Conference in Liverpool exploring the Internet of Things and its transformative potential. It was a pretty far reaching debate, but my main argument focused on the need to step back and imagine a world where the IoT is not imagined as something in the service of humanity, but something which may serve a wider notion of ecosystem well being. This doesn't mean ignoring the desires and needs of humans, but instead trying to come to terms with what might be afforded by this technology if we adopted a wider perspective. I went on to advocate the need to think about an 'Interstellarnet of Things', which takes us beyond the confines of our planet in imagining the potential of this technology, along with the importance of thinking about some of the consequences of artificial general intelligence and the possibility that objects becoming sentient. In this regard, the idea of an Internet of Things at all misses the point - they will not be things, but beings, entities which may have a certain moral status by virtue of its capacity for volition or self-actualization.

Finally, I talked about the importance of the open data initiative and the need to overhaul some of the conventions operating around digital platforms which restrict our freedom to roam by precluding us from exporting our data into some universal language.

2015.07-UKSpaceConf
2015.07-UKSpaceConf

Project Daedalus Art Event

Project Daedalus Art Event

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In the first of our Project Daedalus events with arts organizations, we all went over to the Pleasance in London to offer some demos, talks, and sandpit style discussion, thinking about how to use drones in creative contexts. Attendees had a chance to fly some micro drones and a Parrot Bebop using the iPad control interface, while also hearing about 360 degree film making, design for virtual reality interfaces, including Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear, and generally think about how to interate a range of digital technologies around drones, to create immersive, compelling, and different audience experiences.

Project Daedalus is a Digital R&D for the Arts project, funded by Nesta, Arts Council England, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It was born from a collaboraiton between myself, Abandon Normal Devices, and Marshmallow Laser Feast.

 

 

Social Media and the PhD @LSENews

Social Media and the PhD @LSENews

The second of three social media talks in a week, this one at the London School of Economics, focused on the early career researcher and how they can use social media to get their ideas out there quicker and make social media part of their research discovery process. When I was a PhD student, all we had to think about in terms of software was which bibliographic package we use.

Now, there are endless applications and key places where academics need to be, so that their work is discovered. Some of the key ones are ResearchGate, Google Scholar, Academia.edu, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but there are many more tools available that can help make our work more efficient, more accessible, and more engaging.

One of my key messages is that ignoring social media is like ignoring email in the 1990s. The question is not whether we do it, but how we do it well.

Social Media for Research Impact

Social Media for Research Impact

This week, I gave a talk at Kent Business School focused on the use of social media to generate research impact. It was a staggering sell out event with around 1/4 of the total academic staff of University of Kent in attendance.

One of the key things I covered in my talk was the range of socil media platforms that are out there, evidenced by my A to Z of social media for academia, which was first published in 2012. It has since been shared in countless places and the list keeps growing.

The platform I like most at the moment is Journal Map, makes me wish I was an environmental scientist. Maybe in a few years ;) Here are my slides from the talk...

Electric Art - new commission

Electric Art - new commission

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Over the last few weeks, I have been working with the Manchester Science Festival and Electricity North West to launch a brief for a new artistic commission titled 'Electric Art'. We have just pushed out the copy and here it is. Please share and submit! The MSF is a fantastic context for new and provocative art work and a really great week to be in Manchester!  

CALL FOR ARTISTS: ‘Electric Art’

Manchester Science Festival 2015, in Partnership with Electricity North West, and the University of Salford, Manchester.

This new £5,000 commission seeks to help realise a visual art work, developed through the theme of ‘electricity’ for exhibition during the Manchester Science Festival (October 22 - November 1, 2015). The final work will create public debate around the role of electricity in our lives and may engage. We are keen to hear from artists working across genres from digital and mixed media to craft and performance. Thematic areas may include attention to the future of electricity, forms of sculptural lighting, smart grid design, laser and alternative fuel sources.

Your Proposal:

We want to hear your ideas at this stage but would anticipate that the final piece will be informed by dialogue with Manchester Science Festival (MSF), University of Salford, and Electricity North West.

·         Please write a 250-500 word proposal for your idea and include drawings and images where appropriate (PDF format). Include any information you can at this stage about what you need to make it happen (including time, resources and budget).

·         Include a PDF of images and information to evidence your previous work.

·         Articulate in which ways the work will stimulate public engagement with the science and technologies of electricity.

·         The art works will be installed or performed within the Manchester Science Festival programme (location to be confirmed).

·         Please let us know your anticipated technical and installation requirements.

·         Projects must have a designated lead who will be the key contact with the Festival team and who will be responsible for submitting a brief evaluation report about the event upon completion.

·         Please indicate your availability for the panel selection on 15th June.

Resources

Electricity North West - The Future

http://www.enwl.co.uk/about-us/the-future

The Science and Art of Electricity, 1914

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electricity-the-science-and-art-of-1914/

Beyond/In Artists Who Engage in the Theme of Electricity and Alternating Currents

http://artvoice.com/issues/v9n43/art_scene/the_electric_company

Timetable:

Announcement of commission:  Monday 11th May 2015

Deadline for Proposals:  Monday 8th June 2015, 12.00pm

Selection Panel:  Monday 15th June 2015 12.00pm - 2.00pm

Winner notified:  Tuesday 16th June 2015

Development of project:  16th June – 3rd July 2015

Final details input into MSF online submission: Friday 3rd July 2015, 12.00pm

PR activity:  September/October 2015

MSF Launch:  Thursday 8th October 2015

Manchester Science Festival:  Thursday 22nd October – Sunday 1st November 2015

Please send your submissions to msf*at*mosi.org.uk (removing anti-spam measures).

 

 

Science Communication & Chester Zoo

Science Communication & Chester Zoo

Yesterday, I spent the day at Chester Zoo, filming with our Brazilian PhD researcher Luiza Passos, who is working with the Golden Mantella frog, a species under threat in Madagascar, under the supervision of Professor Robert Young. In the afternoon, I gave a talk for Heads of Depts at the Zoo, talking about science communication opportunities. It was such a refreshing and engaging discussion and we've got so much to do, not least of which is working to build a really exciting and creative documentary programme around the amazing science that is happening at the zoo!

The Internet of Things, Big Data, and Future Media - Implications for Education

The Internet of Things, Big Data, and Future Media - Implications for Education

Today, I am giving a talk at the #BETT2015 Show in London and also participating in a panel on social media in education. It's a huge event and I've never been before, so it will be fun to discover what it's all about. It's still early days for the Internet of Things in education, so there's a lot to talk about and I'll post slides here at the end of the day, summarising my talk and some of the discussions.

Digital Utopias

Digital Utopias

Tomorrow, I am compèring the Digital Utopias conference, an event curated by @ANDfestival and produced by @GoogleUK @ACE_NAtional @Hull2017 @theSpaceArts and @BritishCouncil It's an extraordinary programme. Here's the brief:

Digital Utopias is a one-day conference which will inspire and incite debate about how new technologies are enabling creativity across the arts. The conference aims to capture topical and diverse approaches to curation, archiving, collecting and creating from a range of art forms, from the visual arts to theatre.

The event will provide an opportunity to discuss new tools and emergent practice, whilst delegates will connect with international arts organisations and specialists in the field to unpick the creative and critical challenges facing organisations today.

and here's the programme:

Morning Sessions

Sessions in the main theatre will be compèred by Prof Andy Miah.

10:00-10:20

Welcome from Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England and James Davis, Programme Manager, Director, Google Cultural Institute

Main Theatre

10:30-12:00

Debate: After the future

Main theatre

After the future examines how art is changing in the digital age and how new behaviours and systems are emerging in the creation, exhibition, interpretation and dissemination of art. Through sharing recent and historical examples, the panel will examine the challenges of classifying a growing and chaotic field. Asking questions such as; What are the practical challenges and values, which should inform the future? And how can our media art history inform the sector?

Chair: Sarah Cook, Morgan Quaintance, Ruth Mackenzie (The Space) and Jon Thomson (Thomson and Craighead)

Or choose from the following sessions:

10:30-12:00

Clinic: What to do with your data?  

Rehearsal space

Puzzled by Open data, big data and meta data? You are not alone!  Led by CEO Gavin Starks and Art Associate Julie Freeman, this Open Data Institute session demonstrates what art organisations can do with their data and the small steps you can make right away.

Led by CEO of ODI Gavin Starks and Julie Freeman.

10:30-11:30

Showcase: Presentation and talk by James Davis, Programme Manager at the Google Cultural Institute 

Studio theatre

Google Creative Lab UK will talk about their chrome web experiments, games and prototypes.

12:00-13:00

Lunch  lower and upper foyer

Afternoon Sessions

13:00-14:30

Debate: Disruptive Innovation

Main theatre

This panel will unpick alternative models of “innovation” through examining production models and their cultural value. Interdisciplinary artistic practice can create new platforms, resources and art forms,  but what are the benefits to artistic practice and how can cultural appropriation be avoided?

Led by Tatiana Bazzichelli (Curator and writer) Memo Akten (Artist), Lynn Scarff (Programme Director of The Science Gallery) and Jose Luis de Vicente (curator and researcher).

Or choose from the following sessions:

13:00-13:45

Showcase: Designing Performance (Performance & Interactivity)

Studio theatre

From sensory performances to projection mapping technologies, we invite The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Sarah Ellis, artists Marshmallow Laser Feast and theatre company Extant to discuss how performance is being enhanced by new technologies and the challenges of live performance in the flesh and online.

13:00-14:30

Clinic: Archiving & preserving in the Digital age

Rehearsal space

How do we ensure long-term access to digital information through collecting, archiving and preservation? This session gives hands on tips for museums, curators and collectors on both moving image and social media archiving.

Led by Dragan Espenchied, Rhizome  and Luke Collins from Lux, Scotland.

14:00-14:45

Showcase: Copy and Paste (Literature & Publishing)

Studio theatre

Changes in technology have played pivotal roles in literature (from Gutenberg to GoogleDocs) and we invite showcases from writers, publishers and software developers who are looking at everything from generative writing, books as code and alternative distribution models.

Led by Jim Hinks, Comma Press and Joanna Ellis from the Writing Platform.

Afternoon break – 15 mins

Choose from:

14:45-16:15

Debate: Activate the Public Space

Main theatre

The public space is augmented with information, networks, forces, bodies, buildings and technology. How do we define the public space? How do we create work for a time where the distinction between being offline and online is harder distinguish. We hear from a range of organisations, who have opened up new social spaces, data and communities through gaming, networked objects and growing DIY communities.

Led by Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield) Prof Jennifer Gabrys (artist), MolMol (Yes Yes No) and Iain Simons (GameCity).

15:00-15:45

Showcase: Curating Networks

Studio theatre

Curating Networks showcases projects that rethink ideas of authenticity, ownership and authorship in relation to archives, collections and traditional formats and gallery spaces.

Led by Katrina Sluis (Photographers Gallery), and Irini Papadimitriou (V&A) and Hullcraft (Joel Mills and Hannah Rice) University of Hull.

16:15

Closing remarks

Main theatre

16:45-17:30

Showcase: Crafting Code (Art and Science)

Studio theatre

Crafting Code explores the role of new materials in art production and how data can be materialised, examining the interchangeable role of artists, engineers and makers. We invite presentations on the ‘algorithmic’ opportunities this expanding field is developing, from design, digital sculpture and science to 3D modelling & wearable technology.

Speakers include Karen Gaskill (Crafts Council), Gretchen Andrew and Matthew Plummer-Fernandez.

16:45-18:00 Clinic: R&D as serious play

Rehearsal space

This session will bring together representatives from a selection of recent R&D projects to discuss how to design and manage a process that is playful and serious at the same time. Facilitated by a representative from the Digital R&D Fund, each representative will share their experience, before moving into a panel discussion and workshopping ideas with the audience. Creative technology projects are not just about delivering an end product - managing a R&D process which is creative, useful and rewarding for all parties is where the magic happens.

17:00-18:00 Networking Drinks

Foyer

18:00-18:30

Performance: The Measures Taken

Main theatre

The day will finish with an immersive digital art work. ‘The Measures Taken’ is a collaboration between Marshmallow Laser Feast and Alexander Whitley Dance Company. Both a dialogue, and a duet between human movement and the digital world, this performance promises to be visually striking and kinetically charged.

- See more at: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/jobs-and-conferences/conferences/digital-utopias/programme/#sthash.ymmObLsu.dpuf

 

 

Credit: Karl Andre Photography