I was part of a 3 person team led by Sarah Thelwall of MyCake (with Mu Ali) asked to help PolicyLab look at their business development processes and strategic direction through a series of intensive workshops. Policy Lab is a unique unit within the UK Ministry of Education whose mission is to bring radical design thinking and techniques into government policy making.
I devised a workshop and associated materials for use by researchers in the multi-country EU project, ySkills, for working with young refugees on their experiences of digital technologies. The tools support working across languages and levels of familiarity with technologies to enable young people to explore, share (or keep private) and reflect on their experiences.
UnBias AI for Decision Makers (2020)
I created a companion toolkit to the original UnBias Fairness Toolkit for organisations to assess the ethics and governance of existing or proposed AI/ML systems.
Republic of Learning (2019-22)
An evolving series of open workshops and participatory sessions facilitated by Erin Dickson, Rachel Jacobs and myself to explore responses to the impacts of climate change through creativity and shared learning. Hosted at CSM’s MAKE@StoryGarden space in Somers Town London and other community spaces.
Materializing Data, Embodying Climate Change (2019-2022)
A 3 year AHRC-funded research project in collaboration with Prof. Tom Corby (Central Saint Martins, UAL); Prof. George Roussos (Birkbeck UoL) & Dr Louise Sime (NERC British Antarctic Survey). Devising and exploring the potential for Empathic Encounters with complex interconnected climate data sets to make abstract data and concepts more meaningful and tangible to the general public.
Single Digital Presence (2018)
I was commissioned by the British Library to devise and facilitate a series of workshops with library users across the UK as part of a user-centred design engagement process for the Single Library Digital Presence project, exploring the needs and desires of public library users for digital services.
City of Refuge (2018)
I collaborated with the London School of Economics (Media & Communications) on a series of workshops with refugees and their local supporters in three cities: London, Athens & Berlin. The project sought to gain insights into experiences of migration in these three places and to examine the role of digital communication in the making of cities of refuge..
I collaborated with the University of Oxford (Human Centred Computing), Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute (Nottingham) & University of Edinburgh (Informatics) to devise a Fairness Toolkit exploring bias, trust & fairness in algorithms deployed in social media and other key platforms.
Creative Securities (2016-20)
I work with Professor Lizzie Coles-Kemp (Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London) to document the grassroots-based security methods and tools the group has been developing as part of several research projects.
Data Mattering (2016-18)
I began developing a new collaboration with artist, Tom Corby and the British Antarctic Survey to adapt the Lifestreams data manifestation process for expressing complex climate data into tangible forms. We aim to make challenging climate data appreciable in new ways and open up new spaces for understanding complex interactions in the natural world. It built on experiments Stefan, Kueppers, George Roussos and I conducted in 2016 expressing data from people with Parkinson’s Disease to demonstrate to policymakers the high degree of variability in symptoms experienced by those who score similarly on the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale (which determines treatments available).
TK Reite Notebooks (2014-19)
TKRN is the product of my collaboration with anthropologist James Leach (UWA/CNRS) and local people in Reite village on the Rai Coast in Papua New Guinea. We have co-designed a toolkit for self-documentation of traditional knowledge, to help indigenous communities transmit their knowledge and culture to future generations. The hybrid digital/physical tools and techniques can be easily adopted and adapted by communities across the planet. Supported by The Christensen Fund.
TBI Rehabilitation Tool (2014)
I consulted on strategies for engagement and user experience design for the Movement Science Research Group at Oxford Brookes University incorporating patient perspective into the development of a “Rehabilitation Tool” for survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to share data on their ongoing experiences of rehabilitation. Part of a Europe-wide research project, CENTER_TBI.
I ran a series of free public “Pop Up Publishing” workshops in libraries in Brent, Islington and Hounslow for the Librarypress project (funded by ACE), introducing members of the public to bookleteer and the concept of “hybrid publishing on demand”. As part of the project I also ran a one day Professional Development Masterclass for professional library staff from 7 London Library services (Brent, Camden, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Lewisham and Merton).
Indigenous Public Authoring (2012-13)
I collaborated with Professor James Leach (UWA/CNRS) and local people in Reite village on the Rai Coast in Papua New Guinea to co-design new ways to record and share their traditional environmental and cultural knowledge using appropriate technologies. We tested prototypes for a free shareable toolkit using simple hybrid digital/physical tools and tech that can be easily adopted and adapted by communities across the globe.
the Periodical (2012-2015)
A monthly selection of one or more publications that have been created and shared on bookleteer were printed and posted to subscribers. It was an eclectic and often eccentric way of building a community of writers and readers around bookleteer and the Diffusion eBook format, inspired by 17th Century pamphleteering.
I led an Art + Industry commission (with Stefan Kueppers) as part of Anglia Ruskin University’s Visualise public art programme. Working with Philips Research UK in Cambridge, we explored new ways to engage people with biosensor data to promote wellbeing and healthy life choices through 3D-printed data objects.
Pallion Ideas Exchange (2012)
I led a collaborative community research project to co-design a grassroots knowledge network. The project was a partnership with local community members in Pallion, Sunderland, Pallion Action Group community centre and the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London.
Agencies of Engagement (2011)
I led a collaborative research project with CARET & Crucible at the University of Cambridge investigating groupwork and collaborative practices in the university community to support software development of a collaboration platform.
Public Goods Lab (2011-)
In 2011 I oversaw the creation of a new focus for Proboscis’ research activity, based around the concept of Public Goods. The Lab is our in-house creative technology unit focused on experimenting with new technologies and emerging platforms in support of our social and cultural practices. The Lab is led by myself with technologist Stefan Kueppers and multimedia artist Gary Stewart.
City As Material (2010-11)
I organised (with Hazem Tagiuri) a series of one day events in London combining urban exploration and collaborative publishing with bookleteer. Five collaborative eBooks were published plus four commissioned from invited guests : Tim Wright, Ben Eastop, Simon Pope & Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and an overview eBook by myself and Hazem. A limited edition set was published in March 2011.
bookleteer (Launched 2009, ongoing)
I devised, planned and led the development and deployment of Proboscis’s self-publishing platform for creating Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes. I continue to administer it and lead on its evolution.
Sensory Threads (2008-09)
I was the Principal Investigator of a mobile participatory sensing project with researchers from the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London; Pervasive Computing Lab at Birkbeck College, Mixed Reality Lab at University of Nottingham; and the School of Management at University of Southampton. The resulting project was presented at the Science Museum London’s Dana Centre as well as at CHI Atlanta. Funded through the CREATOR Digital Economy Cluster.
Sutton Grapevine (2008-09)
I co-directed with Alice Angus an engagement commission from ADeC (Arts Development East Cambridgeshire) to devise a virtual “space” where local residents of Sutton-in-the-isle near Ely, both new and longstanding, could have the room to explore local place and identity through creative activity.
Being In Common (2008-09)
I was co-lead artist with Alice Angus on a commission inviting people to expand and alter their understanding of ‘common space’. The project was inspired by the close connection between the histories of enclosure, surveying and gunpowder production that coincide in Gunpowder Park. A commission by Haring Woods Associates / Landscape+Arts Network Services at Gunpowder Park as part of the Art of Common Space programme.
Perception Peterborough (2008)
I was the creative lead on a Proboscis commission (in partnership with with strategic consultants Haring Woods Associates) to develop the creative vision for the growth for the City of Peterborough, an ambitious £1bn development plan over the next 15-20 years. Through an anarchaeological investigation of the city, its environment and inhabitants, Proboscis devised and facilitated a series of workshops and distributable works that contributed to a major regeneration strategy.
Experiencing Democracy (2007)
I developed and delivered, with Loren Chasse & Orlagh Woods, a week-long Social Tapestries workshop with Year 4 students at the Jenny Hammond Primary School in Waltham Forest investigating children’s experiences of democracy and democratic behaviour.
I led this Social Tapestries collaboration between inIVA, Proboscis and researchers from Birkbeck College exploring relationships between the body, community and the environment. It built on our previous Feral Robots collaboration to investigate how data can be collected from environmental sensors as part of popular social and cultural activities. Two carnival costumes instrumented with environmental sensors were designed and created for a mock carnival held in Shoreditch, London in April 2007.
Conversations and Connections (2005-07)
I devised and led an 18 month Social Tapestries collaboration with community development consultancy, Local Level, and Havelock Independent Residents Organisation to explore how public authoring concepts and tools could be used by residents of a low income social housing neighbourhood (in Southall, West London) to map and share local knowledge leading to an improvement in services from the local authority and housing agency. The project was funded through an Innovations grant from the Democratic Engagement branch of the Electoral Policy Division of the Ministry of Justice.
Everyday Archaeology (2006)
I developed and delivered, with Loren Chasse & Orlagh Woods, a week-long Social Tapestries workshop with Year 4 students at the Jenny Hammond Primary School in Waltham Forest exploring the local environment and the children’s relationship to it.
Robotic Feral Public Authoring (2005-06)
I devised and led a Social Tapestries collaboration with Birkbeck College and artist/engineer, Natalie Jeremijenko, to adapt toy robots with GPS positioning, environmental sensors and wireless data upload to Urban Tapestries. The prototypes were built for, and tested in, London Fields with the help of local people, and presented publicly at the Science Museum London, Futuresonic festival in Manchester, and The Building Centre London.
Social Tapestries (2004-09)
I led the Social Tapestries research programme developing experimental uses of public authoring to demonstrate the social and cultural benefits of local knowledge sharing enabled by new mobile technologies. These playful and challenging experiments built upon the Urban Tapestries framework and software platform developed by Proboscis and its partners. Through collaborations and partnerships with other civil society organisations we addressed education, social housing, community arts and local government. Projects included: Sensory Threads, Experiencing Democracy, Snout, Conversations and Connections, Everyday Archaeology, St Marks and Robotic Feral Public Authoring.
Urban Tapestries (2002-04)
I devised and led this groundbreaking project exploring mobile technologies, mapping and public authoring in partnership with the London School of Economics, Hewlett Packard Research Labs and Orange with Ordnance Survey and France Telecom R&D. The initial prototype (for PDA and WiFi) had a public trial in London in December 2003, the second prototype (for Symbian mobile phone and GPRS) was given a field trial in June 2004.
I designed the StoryCubes tactile thinking and storytelling tool for exploring relationships and narratives. Each face of the cube can illustrate or describe an idea, a thing or an action, placed together it is possible to build up multiple narratives or explore the relationships between them in a novel three-dimensional way. StoryCubes are part of the bookleteer shareables family of creative tools.
Sonic Geographies (2002-03)
Sonic Geographies takes sound as the entry point for excavating and mapping urban experience and invisible infrastructures of the city. A series of experiments and sketches were developed with Alice Angus that operated as maps and journeys but also as highly personal renderings of sonic experience – sounds of the personal world in conversation with sounds of the city.
Private Reveries, Public Spaces (2001-02)
I co-devised (with Alice Angus) and led this research project for SoMa, which commissioned 14 proposals from leading artists and designers addressing the theme of converging media technologies (internet, radio, interactive television, wireless telecommunications etc) and their social and cultural impact on the shifting relationship between private and public spaces. Three of the proposals were selected by a panel of judges to be developed into ‘conceptual prototypes’ for presentation to the public, peers, academia and industry as online demonstrations and at an event at the London School of Economics.
I initiated and ran the Peer2Peer informal network of people interested in developing collaborations and practical solutions for potential partnerships across the arts, industry and academia. The network consists of individual artists and designers and people from academia, industry, public funding agencies, private foundations and government. Several meetings and events were hosted by Proboscis in partnership with the LSE, RCA, Iniva and others.
SoMa – Social Matrices (2001-11)
In 1999/2000 Alice Angus and I re-oriented Proboscis as a creative studio with a strong emphasis on research. Over the next 18 months we developed close partnerships with Professor Roger Silverstone at the London School of Economics and the School of Communications at the Royal College of Art (where I was employed as a Research Fellow). Our collaborative research programme, SoMa was launched in April 2001 as a ‘think tank for culture’ – a think, make and do environment for transdisciplinary collaborations. In 2011 we reformulated Proboscis’ research practice as the Public Goods Lab.
DA2 Online Film Commissions (1999/2000)
I curated this project for Bristol-based DA2 (Digital Art Development Agency), whose Artistic Director was Peter Ride. It was an early attempt (pre-YouTube/Vimeo) to rethink what the potential for web-based films could be, beyond simply digitising existing work and posting online. The project began with a public seminar to open up discussion, followed by the commissioning of conceptual prototypes by Nick Crowe, Karen Mirza, David Bickerstaff and Andi Freeman, which were presented at Video Positive 2k in Liverpool (March 2000).
Mapping Perception (1998-2002)
A collaboration between Giles Lane, curator and producer, Andrew Kötting, the acclaimed director of This Filthy Earth, Gallivant and Smart Alek, and Dr Mark Lythgoe, neurophysiologist at the Institute of Child Health, London.
The project looked at the perceptions of impaired brain function to further understand the mind and body interaction and our relationship with its abnormality. It made visible connections between scientific and artistic explorations of the human condition, probing the thin membrane between the able and the disabled.
Diffusion is a downloadable hybrid digital/material book format, developed by Proboscis in 1999/2000. Since the publication of the first series of Diffusion eBooks, Performance Notations, in September 2000, Proboscis has continued to use the format for commissioning new creative publications, as well as adapting and developing the format for uses in other fields and projects. The design schematics were first published in 2002, and from 2002-06 Proboscis developed the Diffusion Generator – an online application allowing people without design skills to publish Diffusion eBooks of their own. The Generator was replaced by the bookleteer.com self publishing platform in 2009, which, in 2012 became the site of all new Diffusion activity, with the diffusion.org.uk retained as an archive.
I devised and led the Topologies research and feasibility study which investigated the potential for an initiative that could challenge existing definitions of public art. By commissioning and disseminating public artworks through the UK Public Library system, and using visual, aural and tactile media to investigate and represent abstract spaces and concepts, the works would form part of a wider attempt to broaden the audience for contemporary conceptual artwork. Topologies aimed to change both the context and the way in which people encounter art, aiming to introduce concepts of process-based art practices (as distinct from object-based works) to diverse and new audiences, and move the experience of encountering public (or conceptual) art away from a ‘viewer’ experience to that of a user.
COIL journal of the moving image (1994-2000)
I was the founding editor and publisher of Proboscis’ founding project, COIL, a 10 issue experimental publication that explored the practice of artists film, moving image and new media works between 1995 and 2000. Over 140 artists, writers and others were published in the journal, including special projects.