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SMARTlab Newsletter
3 ways/cce project (funded by the Arts Council & CCE)
In 2010, Professor Lizbeth Goodman was selected as a Creative Agent to bring together teams of artists and technologists to work on site in UK schools, to increase the collaborative potential of learning for all students.



The first project has been underway at the Threeways Special School in Bath, with collaboration from Futurelab, Queen Mary University, and independent artists from many genres. The project includes three strands of work: visual/fashion work on the theme of camoflauge; storytelling, and music enabled by assistive technologies for all.

The first two project threads have been achieved, and are due for London installation soon:

Camouflaged (including SMARTlab artists Tara Mooney, Vanessa Weigand, Lizbeth Goodman et al with a full list of participants included on the web site): In the current socio-political climate, inclusive values supposedly permeate every walk of our lives. The reality of this situation is that for many young people and adults with special needs it is the margins of society in which they seem more likely to find themselves. A number of our young people feel ignored by mainstream society and lack popular cultural representation. It seems to many that they become invisible elements in a society which purports to welcome them with open arms, whilst their eyes remain shut to who they really are and what they can contribute. Yasmeen Al Awadi, an artist whose work covers marginalised groups who are often ‘socially invisible’, worked alongside fashion designer Tara Mooney to document a project whereby students designed and made their own camouflage. Students were photographed by Gigapan artist Ben Thomson who produced interactive images of three settings (school,

Bath city centre and a local woodland) with the ‘invisible’ students hidden in the images. Digital Story Telling Students engaged with storyteller Michael Loader and digital performance artist and SMARTlab intern Keir Williams (a graduate student from Queen Mary, University of London, working on an internship basis with our team) on a range of off site visits to generate stories based on stimuli found in a number of man-made and natural spaces. Students were empowered to use their own voice to express preference in terms of story content and the materials used to support the retelling of their tales. Students gathered multisensory resources ranging from digital sound and visual recordings to natural and man made objects. Parents were then invited to a digital storytelling festival run by the students in the Sensory Theatre at Three Ways School. The third project thread of interactive music enabled by assistive technology and eye control is currently in development: watch this space.


The Indian folknest project
SMARTlab returns to India. . . 9 SMARTlab team members have been selected to take part in the European Commission's Folknest Project to explore the analog and digital possibilities of art in India. SMARTlab joins as the Digital Media Institute base for a project funded in December 2009, when Contact Base, London Metropolitan University, UNESCO India and Planet Art eXchange (PAX) were awarded a Cultural Heritage grant from the European commission for the EGG project - Ethno-magic Going Global. The EGG objective is to promote West Bengali folk art. This Artist exchange programme will involve 15 European artists from a large spectrum of disciplines leading to the creation of the Hindustan nomadic art installation which aims to bring to the Western audience a centuries old West Bengali tradition in a contemporary form, combining folk arts with interactivity. The SMARTlab team has been entrusted with the realisation of the Shadow Interactive Dance piece, for workshops in London in July and October, live interaction in India in August, editing in November and final presentation in interactive form in London in December this year. In this work, commonalities of the Chhouu and Jhumur folk dances and contemporary western dance will be featured using real time interactive video, sound and graphic technology to amplify and extend the expressive potential of this virtual collaborative, interdisciplinary performance. Some of the team (Tara Mooney - SMARTfashion and textiles expert, Seanan Brennan - world music expert, and Bobby Byrne - dance/choreography expert) will travel to Bengal in August to work on preproduction for the piece. The full team includes Lizbeth Goodman (Director/Mixed media artist), Sher Doruff (live and online music expert), Cathy O’Kennedy (Choreographer), Vesna Milosevic (Dancer / Choreographer), Vanessa Weigand (videographer / editor) and Taey Kim (media / web artist). Read more at http://pax08.com/folknest/about-hindustan/


New Masters in Interactive Digital Media

Recent Viva

Professor Demetrios G Sampson (IEEE), Dr Mick Donegan, Zoe Akamiotaki after Zoe's successful PhD viva, 4th June 2010 On 6 June, PhD student Zoe presented the results of her years of work on ʻLudic machines: on

Alongside members of UEL’s Department of Computing and Interactive Technology and Engineering (CITE) and their Multi Media Technology team, SMARTlab has been developing a new Masters course: Interactive Digital Media. The programme offers both MA and MSc outcomes from a practice-based range of modules, combining relevant contextualisation and theoretical approaches to digital media projects. The range of possible projects might include assistive technology for learning, interactive narratives and games, digital materialisation and rapid prototyping, multimedia performance, digital sound, mobile technologies and web design. This programme aims to provide an enhanced experience of interactive digital media project design and realisation. The key focus is on developing students’ prior skills to a professional level, or supplementing their current skills with industry-relevant theory and project management expertise. Rather than looking at theory for its own sake, this course will underpin the practical work of students with applicable conceptual and contextual knowledge, so as to provide them with a clearer understanding of how their work fits within a set of practices. Methodologies are suggested to aid successful outcomes of the students’ individually conceived projects, as well as offering methods and approaches common to many projects, either on the course, in current work elsewhere or in the future. Professor Goodman has won an international grant to share this course specifically with women students in the Middle East and Africa, for whom opportunities to study in the West are often severely limited. The Pilot project is due to go live later this year.

the narrative of early childhood playground themed equipment designʼ, in a successful Phd Viva!

Show & Tell

SMARTlab team members following Professor Sampson's Show and Tell lecture


The July PhD seminar is nearly upon us (this time with a big live Music Jam!)
The next SMARTlab seminar will run from the 9th to 16th of July 2010. SMARTlab is running three yearly seminar sessions for their PhD students from around the world at UEL, London. This summer, faculty and students will focus on the ‘practice’ component of SMARTlab's special PhD Programme. As well as giving students ample time for both, one-to-one peer support and ideas exchange within the international group, the SMARTlab seminar week also includes a series of talks and seminars designed to meet the needs of each student. The seminars cater to the wide range of subject areas, fields of research and specialities of our students. The current session aims to get back to basics and explore the nature of a practice-based PhD and the aim for an original contribution to knowledge in cross-disciplinary fields. Furthermore, the week-long programme includes practical and academic advice on theory, writing and funding, as well as discussion, debate, and special events. Additionally as a celebration of the arrival of the summer, SMARTlab's music crew, Steve Cooney and others with musical experience, will present a communal synthesis of individual talents.

Toby Borland (MAGICbox): Active Energy
Toby Borland (SMARTlab Researcher and MAGICbox community technology/rapid prototyping lab manager) provides technical direction for the “Active Energy” project in conjunction with Loraine Lesson of cSPACE and Fiona Fieber of  [S P A C E]. This project involved the "Geezers", a self-actualised club of superannuated inventors, and the design class of Bow Boys School under the tutelage of Richard Alvarez to explore and create practical energy generating turbines. The project gave a hands-on engineering course through the practice of an arts delivery (exploration, development & exhibition).


Phase 1 of the project had three distinctive programs: - teaching and exploring renewable energy sources at Bow Boy School with an assistance of the Geezers - the installation of a self-illuminating wind turbine on the roof of the "Age Concern" building off Roman Road, Bow. The wind turbine uses a persistence of vision effect to create a moving circular light display.  - testing of several water turbine prototypes in the Hydrodynamics department flume tank in the University of East London. Phase 2 will see the creation of several small-scale water turbines situated in the river Thames, with an illuminated display of the energy being generated. The project is not so much to power the Houses of Parliament, as to engage the participants and public in the practical design considerations of inshore, marine and tidal power. Tobyʼs hard work has this year, as for the past 4 years, also supported many of the AVA (School of Architecture and Visual Arts) fashion and product design students, with major shows including London Fashion Week informed by materials and garments made in our labs!

FACULTY & PhD Students NEWS Dr Leslie Hill
SMARTlab PhD Programme Convenor and Performance Maker, Dr Leslie Hill (co-director, Curious) is touring nationally and internationally with a new performance titled the moment I saw you I knew I could love you. The performance made in collaboration with filmmaker Andrew Kötting, composer Graeme Miller and performers Claudia Barton and Joseph Young. the moment I saw you I knew I could love you is about gut feelings; impulse, love and undefended moments. The audience is cast adrift with only stories and half- remembered truths to sustain them; huddled snugly together inside salt encrusted life rafts, while performers, soundscapes and fragments of film drift past. The flotsam and jetsam includes memories of the moon landing, a whale who watches jumpers from Beachy Head, and live ultrasound images that are read like tea leaves to reveal past secrets and future hopes.

Dr Mick Donegan
SMARTlab featured under the Government sponsored “Emerging Technologies Initiative”. Following link shows two young people using eye gaze control to create music by playing real instruments using gaze control at Three Ways School, Bath. http://emergingtechnologies.becta.org.uk/ (Click on the down arrow under the picture on the left and you'll see an eye - then click on the video next to it.)


SMARTlab's Interfaces work on Eye Gaze Control featured on BBC2 and BBC HD. The following link is a 3-minute clip of Dr Mick Donegan working with a severely disabled young boy, Tim, enabling him to create music, speak and paint pictures far more quickly and easily than he had ever done before. It is taken from a recent BBC HD programme called 'Karate Kids' for Children's TV that was so well received it was subsequently repeated to a wider audience on BBC2. Link: http://vimeo.com/10345659

Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart
Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart attended the Under the Mask Conference in June 2010 at the University of Bedfordshire. As an invited speaker, she talked about theorising the difficult and often contradictory actions of role-playing within online spaces. In her capacity as Vice President of DIGRA, she also sat on the closing panel which discussed ways forwards for Games Studies in the UK. DIGRA sponsered the networking event after the conference as part of their ongoing mission statement to bring academics together within Games Studies on both local and international levels. Publications in the last six months have included a special edition on The Imaginary in the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds (co-editor with Denise Doyle, also SMARTlab and the University of Wolverhampton), chapters in the first of the MIT Press (E)Mergencies series on Virtual Learning, The Edinburgh Guide to Contemporary War Literature (on games and warfare), and a paper for Games and Culture on the growing convergence between television drama and gaming strategies. Work submitted involves a chapter on social communities in online games for The Online Games Reader (in press). Esther is currently preparing her book on Social communities in Online Games for publication.

Dr Ryya Bread
Dr Ryya Bread is recently appointed Curatorial Director for Kestle Barton, a new arts venue situated on 50 acres of farm and woodland near The Helford, in Cornwall, UK (www.kestlebarton.co.uk). After a five year conservation and restoration phase, the doors opened to the public for the first time in May 2010, featuring our first exhibition of the season: Rupture – contemporary photography by Patrick Shanahan of the post-mining landscape of Cornwall. This first season features four solo exhibitions that have something to say about Cornwall; including photography, sculpture, painting


and a unique installation of archival and contemporary works around the role of St. Ives in WWII. Dr. Bread joined the team early in 2010 to help get the gallery and the arts programme operational for the first season and to begin outlining more long term curatorial objectives for the future of Kestle Barton. The aim is for the converted farm to be a self-sustaining venture that integrates arts, conservation and the farming history of the site into an inclusive model of community and artistic engagement.

Bruce Damer
A paper by SMARTlab PhD student Bruce Damer was accepted, following peer review, for inclusion in the 12th International Conference on Artificial Life, the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, to be held in Odense, Denmark in August. The paper describes the core research and architecture for Damer's PhD thesis: "The EvoGrid: A Framework for Distributed Artificial Chemistry Cameo Simulations Supporting Computational Origins of Life Endeavors". The paper was co-authored by Damer, Peter Newman, Richard Gordon, Tom Barbalet, David Deamer, and Ryan Norkus and will be presented at the conference by Damer and included in the conference proceedings, to be published by MIT Press. Link to conference site: http://www.alife12.org/

Taey Kim
Taey Kim, SMARTlab core team member and PhD student, has been invited as a panellist to present her work at the American Literature Association 21st Annual Conference, Hyatt Regency San Francisco on 28th of May 2010. Her paper, ‘Translation in Transit: The Artistic Intervention of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’ is part of her PhD research project. The paper examines the relationship between the physicality of writing, the physicality of embodied diasporic experiences and their transition into language, language being subjected to severe pressure from both migratory experience and the artist. She also has been invited as a visiting artist to contribute to the Expanded Media programme at Kansas University in the US to present her artwork and lecture from April 5- 7, 2010. She gave a lecture titled, ‘Unwriting Narrative Space’ and creative workshop in the Community-Based Art class and work with graduate students in the Visual Art Department. She will have a major solo exhibition in upcoming December in Seoul funded by Korean Arts Council.

Will Pearson
SMARTlab researcher and PhD student, Will Pearson is taking part as an Urban Ideas Baker with the British Council Creative Cities programme in Pilsen in the Czech Republic, 12 -15 June 2010, to engage with the 2015 City of Culture plans and opening up public space within the city. He is also participating in a programming sprint at University of Wales Institute of Art and Design, Cardiff, supported by the Touch Trust to develop new computational resources for pupils with autism.


In addition, he is continuing work with Sound and Music and Tuke School Peckham to create and install new creative computational tools with a group of interaction designers. In addition to all of this, he is working on a number of iPhone projects. The interactive installation he has been working on in Newcastle at Seven Stories, through Culture Lab at Newcastle University opens mid-July. It's a face-capture, projection system using video clips to create an interactive wall, based around the classic children's story, The Borrowers.

Personal Updates from the team:

Professor Lizbeth Goodman is delighted to introduce her young son Lucas Alan, who was born on 19 March 2010 and is already gearing up to perform with the team at our July event! Lucas Alan GoodmanO'Snodaigh (Born 19 March 2010) will join the SMARTlab team at the PhD seminar in July this year; he is already giving serious consideration to his 'original contribution to knowledge', as demonstrated in his look of open concern. . . :-)

Rachel Lashebikan is proud to introduce her gorgeous daughter Siri, born in December 2009: