Making the Digital Future Crafty

Following the success of our partnership with Special Education providers in schools and post-16 education we have now completed three additional workshops that explored craft materials and digital co-production. The overarching aim of the Making the Future more Crafty workshops was to use everyday materials and low-cost processors to enable teachers and pupils – particularly learners with profound disabilities who do not fit a set of definable user characteristics – to experience new opportunities for digital creativity. The workshops were led by Helen Leigh, a maker, educator and writer who specialises in creative uses of new technologies. Helen’s first book, The Crafty Kids Guide to DIY Electronics provided a lot of inspiration for the activities, which participants agreed were accessible, fun, and easy to adapt for the classroom, adding that learners who would  normally only be given technologies to use could be included in design and making. The workshops were funded through the Strategic Insight Placement.

Enchanting Technologies Digital Imagining 2

With funding from FabCre8, Members of the Enchanting Technologies network from special schools around South Wales gathered at FabLab Cardiff to create scenarios based on a series of technology probes. The ideas for the probes came from Digital Imagining Lab 1, held at Ysgol yr Deri. The probes were created by our technology/computer science/arts team: Parisa Eslambolchilar, Aiden Taylor, Jon Piggot, Patricia Puertas and MFA student, Sam Kitcher using Teensy, Arduino and Touch Board as low cost platforms for exploring prototyping, digital fabrication and co-production. By the end of the day we amassed a wealth of low-fidelity mock-ups, stories and sketches that demonstrate our shared vision for making enchantment the route to learning and self expression for pupils with profound disabilities.

Enchanting Technologies Digital Imagining 1

Great to be back at Ysgol y Deri collaborating with teaching practitioners from across the autism and PMLD sector in Wales. With a focus on Enchantment and the new Expressive Arts curriculum, our first “digital imagining” workshop with FabCre8 considered whether co-production could be a viable and feasible method of addressing the digital marginalisation of pupils with profound disabilities.

CARIAD Research Ethics Approved Protocol

08_1718_E (WKB)_CARIAD Research Ethics Protocol Approval

CARIAD researchers and research students are advised to use the protocol to support applications for ethics approval where the research activity is conducted under the same circumstances, with similar kinds of participants, where the data is not “sensitive”, and where the participants are not members of vulnerable populations.

Movementis: Brain, Body, Cognition. Oxford, 2017

 

Wendy presented two papers at the inaugural Movementis Conference at the Oxford University Examination Rooms in July. The first, “Somability: movement, independence and social engagement for adults with complex needs” reported on the design process and results of Somability, an interactive arts project that aimed to make movement irresistible. The second paper, co-authored with Lise Hansen, “Dancing in data: Representation, repetition and recreation” described our most recent work that examines the potential of computer vision and machine learning to generate novel person-centred, choreographic techniques for processing kinesthetic sensory stimuli. Although the conference had a scientific bias, both papers received positive feedback from those who appreciated the need for a “human” approach to movement research.

Cariad Cwtch, 7th November

CARIAD CWTCH 9th November

Research and making are two ways of thinking that continually intercept one another. They are rolling practices, often convoluted, snaking, twisting and coiling together. Neither linear nor continuous, they involve a process of doing and redoing. It is an awkward, fascinating, uncomfortable and irritating process and sometimes completely unsuccessful. Ideas surface slowly, glimpsed intermittently, as if seen at the bottom of a very murky pond. Fishing without a net.’ Alyson Brien

We were really delighted to be joined by Professor Jeffery Wallace, from the School of Education. Jeff talked about his research interest in bibliotherapy, and as usual sparked lots of ideas in all of us. Jeff describes  bibliotherapy as the use of literary texts – for example novels, short stories, poetry – for broadly ‘therapeutic’ purposes, within carefully selected contexts. Its principle of inclusivity is based on group practice and on reading aloud. The novelist Blake Morrison describes bibliotherapy as “an experiment in healing, or, to put it less grandiosely, an attempt to see whether reading can alleviate pain or mental distress.” No ‘critical’ prescriptions are made; instead, the space for reflection on texts offered by bibliotherapy is open, requiring only the sharing of responses for the purposes of mutual support and understanding. 

We also welcomed artist Sue Hunt, who has been conducting fantastic inclusive arts projects in China, India, Australia and Zambia.

Waag Society workshop, Amsterdam

Members of the CARIAD team recently ran a workshop with the WAAG society and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences as part of the Design & Emotion conference.  The workshop ‘Design for our future self’, explored new ways to give a ‘voice’ to users’ needs within the context of dementia.  The workshop was held in the Theatrum Anatomicum in the centre of Amsterdam and looked at existing solutions and methodologies to explore the future scenarios of needs within the growing dementia landscape.

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