This week just passed Alice, Haz and myself have been running some co-design workshops with local community members in Pallion, a neighbourhood in the city of Sunderland, and with Lizzie Coles-Kemp and Elahe Kani-Zabihi of Royal Holloway’s Information Security Group, hosted at Pallion Action Group. The workshops, our second round following some others in early April, were focused around visualising the shape, needs and resources available to local people in building their own sustainable knowledge and support network – the Pallion Ideas Exchange. We also worked on testing the various tools and aids which we’ve designed in response to what we’ve learned of the issues and concerns facing individuals and the community in general.
The first day was spent making a visualisation of the hopes and aspirations for what PIE could achieve, the various kinds of activities it would do, and all the things they would need to make this happen. Based on previous discussions and workshops we’d drawn up a list of the kinds of activities PIE might do and the kinds of things they’d need and Mandy had done a great job over the past couple of weeks creating lots of simple sketches to help build up the visual map, to which were added lots of other issues, activity ideas, resources and hoped for outcomes.
Visualising PIE this way allowed for wide-ranging discussions about what people want to achieve and what it would need to happen – from building confidence in young people and the community more generally, to being resilient in the face of intimidation by local neer-do-wells. Over the course of the first afternoon the shape changed dramatically as the relationships between outcomes, activities, needs, people and resources began to emerge and the discussion revealed different understandings and interpretations of what people wanted.
On the second day we focused on the tools and aids we’ve been designing – a series of flow diagrams breaking down into simple steps some methods for problem solving, recording and sharing solutions and tips online, how to promote and share opportunities to people they would benefit and things to consider about safety and privacy before posting information online. We’ve also designed some simple notebooks with prompts to help do things like take notes during meetings and at events, a notebook for breaking problems down into small chunks that can be addressed more easily alongside place to note what, who and where help from PIE is available, and a notebook for organising and managing information and experiences of PIE members about sharing solutions to common problems that can be safer shared online. As the props for a co-design workshop these were all up for re-design or being left to one side if not relevant or useful. An important factor that emerged during the discussion was that people might feel uncomfortable with notes being written in a notebook during a social event – the solution arrived at was to design a series of ‘worksheet posters’ which could be put up on the walls and which everyone could see and add notes, ideas or comments to. The issue of respecting anonymity about problems people have also led to the suggestion of a suggestions box where people could post problems anonymously, and an ‘Ideas Wall’ where the problems could be highlighted and possible solutions proposed. We came away with a list of new things to design and some small tweaks to the notebooks to make them more useful – it was also really helpful to see a few examples of how local people had started using the tools we’ve designed to get a feel for them:
On the afternoon of the second day we also spent a long time discussing the technologies for sharing the community’s knowledge and solutions that would be most appropriate and accessible. We looked at a whole range of possibilities, from the most obvious and generic social media platforms and publishing platforms to more targeted tools (such as SMS Gateways for broadcasting to mobiles). As we are working with a highly intergenerational group who are forming the core of PIE (ages range from 16 – 62) there were all kinds of fluencies with different technologies. This project is also part of the wider Vome project addressing issues of privacy awareness so we spent much of the time considering the specific issues of using social media to share knowledge and experiences in a local community where information leakage can have very serious consequences. Ultimately we are aiming towards developing an awareness for sharing that we are calling Informed Disclosure. Only a few days before I had heard about cases of loan sharks now mining Facebook information to identify potential vulnerable targets in local communities, and using the information they can glean from unwitting sharing of personal information to befriend and inveigle themselves into people’s trust. The recent grooming cases have also highlighted the issues for vulnerable teenagers in revealing personal information on public networks. Our workshop participants also shared some of their own experiences of private information being accidentally or unknowing leaked out into public networks. At the end of the day we had devised a basic outline for the tools and technologies that PIE could begin to use to get going.
Our final day at Pallion was spent helping the core PIE group set up various online tools : email, a website/blog, a web-based collaboration platform for the core group to organise and manage the network, and a twitter stream to make announcements about upcoming events. Over the summer, as more people in Pallion get involved we’re anticipating seeing other tools, such as video sharing, audio sharing and possibly SMS broadcast services being adopted and integrated into this suite of (mainly) free and open tools.
The workshops were great fun, hugely productive but also involved a steep learning curve for all of us. We’d like to thank Pat, Andrea, Ashleigh and Demi (who have taken on the roles of ‘community champions’ to get PIE up and running) for all their commitment and patience in working with us over the three days, as well as Karen & Doreen at PAG who have facilitated the process and made everything possible. And also to our partners, RHUL’s Lizzie and Elahe who have placed great faith and trust in our ability to devise and deliver a co-design process with the community that reflects on the issues at the heart of Vome.
We’ve recently started a new series of events called City As Material. Between October and December 2010 we’re running 5 one-day urban exploration and collaborative publishing events which aim to bring diverse groups together around a number of topics to generate some fresh perspectives on urban space and experience. We will be coordinating the creation of a collaboration Diffusion eBook as the outcome of each event, which will be published on diffusion.org.uk and printedin a limited edition using bookleteer’s PPOD service. Each event will also have a special guest who will be invited to share their personal interests in the topic and who will also be commissioned to create their own eBook for the series:
- Streetscapes (15th October) – guest : Tim Wright
- River (29th October) – guest: Ben Eastop
- Skyline (12th November) – guest : Simon Pope
- Underside (26th November) – guest : Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
- Sonic Geographies (10th December) – guest : tbc
Book places for the events here : cityasmaterial.eventbrite.com
Download publications from the series here : diffusion.org.uk/?cat=976
Follow our reports on the events here : bookleteer.com/blog/tag/pitch-in-publish/
For a week in early July Proboscis worked on Seven Days in Seven Dials a project by artistsandmakers.com and the West End Cultural Quarter to create an exhibition in one week with 30 young people on the Culture Quarter Programme of placements.
Proboscis currently has a scheme of placements funded by the Future Jobs Fund and the first two in the scheme, Shalene Barnett and Karine Dorset, joined Seven Days in Seven Dials to create download, print and makeup publications using bookleteer.com to accompany the exhibition. Here are their thoughts on the week:
“My role was to put together and produce a publication of the walking tour that took place… First we mapped out the places we were going to go and the route that we were going to take then we set out on the journey. By the end of the day we had taken pictures, collected facts and had most of the content for the eBook. On the Wednesday I spent my time at the shop in Covent Garden, editing photos and text, rearranging the eBook template I had already done and actually start putting in some content.
Friday we were in the studio. I began to finish the book, did some editing and rearranging just to make sure that the eBook was correct., printed off copies and ran them down to the shop in Convent Garden for display for the opening show on the project. It was a great experience and I had great fun working with a big range of different groups of people, I would love to do it again in the near future.” KD
“Seven Days in Seven Dials for me was a lovely experience. I spent seven days in an area called Seven Dials which is located in Covent Garden. I spent the seven days documenting different groups of people as they gathered various information about seven dials….All in all I highly enjoyed my time at Seven Dials. It was nice to meet young people that are on the same FJF scheme as myself and are trying something new and out of the box. I think the Empty Shops project is very creative and I would gladly do it again. At times it was hard work but the hard work most definitely paid off.” SB
You can see images here
and read more on the artistsandmakers website.
Proboscis is collaborating with Dan Thompson of artistsandmakers.com to run a series of bookleteer Pitch Up & Publish events alongside his Empty Shops Network Tour. Last week we were in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex and this week (Friday 19th March) we’ll be in Carlisle, Cumbria, with future visits planned for Coventry and Margate.
Articulating Futures was a 4 day workshop held at Chinmaya Mission Vidyalaya in New Delhi between the 17th – 20th November, 2009. As a collaboration between narrative designer Niharika Hariharan and Proboscis, the workshop investigated how through innovative thinking young students could be mobilized to voice issues that are important to them.
I had the opportunity of working as an intern and project assistant at Proboscis while I was pursuing my Masters at Central Saint Martins, London in 2008-09. Needless to say, the experience at Proboscis was invaluable, giving me important insights into the various processes of design thinking as well as management.
On completing my course, Proboscis offered me a professional development commission. The commission is granted to emerging young artists and designers to help them kick start a project of their own interest giving them an opportunity to showcase their capabilities to the ‘real world’.
Giles Lane and the Proboscis team worked with me through the entire process of my project Articulating Futures right from ideation up until the execution. Proboscis was an important member of the think tank that helped shape this commissioned project. They not only provided me with the required materials to execute the project but also a platform to share and discuss my work with creative practitioners at a global level.
Articulating Futures has been an extremely satisfying project to me as a designer and a thinker. It has allowed me to explore and share my ideas as an emerging professional in the field of art and design. And finally, it has given me the confidence to further pursue, lead and manage projects and ideas. Needless to say these are all desired and necessary skills for a future creative practitioner working in the industry.
Post the completion of my education in London, this Professional Development Commission by Proboscis was an ideal platform for me to progress towards a career in the field of art and design.
We have been working on Ears to the Ground for around 3 months now and the phase of being out there talking to people and doing activities is almost over with our energy now being focused into how to condense over 200 voices and quotes into a small publication. We’ve been roving around Hertfordshire meeting young and old, talking to them in groups, in their homes, at events. As well as the many people and groups we have met we have; set up a stall in Watford Market to talk to market goers, set up outside Broxbourne Station to speak to commuters, set up a map outside Stevenage Job Centre and annotated it with post it notes of comments from Centre users and ran a drawing workshop with a youth group. We’ve taken our anarchaeology approach of using informal and creative approaches to excavate layers of meaning and understanding. I’ve enjoyed all the people we met who have been so generous, and as I go through the hours of recorded audio two of my favourite quotes so far have been from the Meriden Comunity Centre Community Bar on the Meriden estate in north Watford, and the list of what young people saw around their Neighbourhood in the Chells area of Stevenage.
In the Meriden community bar we asked: How long have you been here?
1962 I moved onto this estate.
I was going to say half past seven.
I’ve been a member of this club for years since it first opened.
I’ve been here so long I’ve worn a hole in the carpet.
You certainly don’t get any trouble in here fighting or all that, its just all mates really I suppose
Like a big extended family
We come down here to insult each other
Don’t know what we’d do without it, we’d sit indoors and watch telly.
We’re all living round here so we don’t need to drive.
The atmosphere, you know, you come in and you know you’re not going to get into any trouble.
And in Chells Manor Community Center we went for a walk with the youth group and after making a large drawing we asked: What did you see and draw?
I saw a fox
I saw the pub, shops, chip shop
I saw, a cat , a man smoking
I saw a tree and a road and an aeroplane
I saw a red flower, a broken glass
I saw myself
I saw a load of people at the youth club
I saw my house
apparently we saw a train going up a tree
I never saw two men shooting each other
I saw darren
I saw houses, dogs,
I saw the green, football, cricket, cycling down fairlands
The book will be published in December.
The first event was a fun evening and everyone who attended created at least 1 eBook each, with the exception of Matthew who managed to create two lovely examples. Thanks to everyone who came (Christopher, Fred, Kati, Matthew & Sara), and the team (Karen, John & Stefan).
The next Pitch Up & Publish will be on Thursday 5th November 2009 at our studio in Clerkenwell.
Today I’m travelling to San Sebastian, Spain to take part and give a presentation at the workshop, My Map is Not Your Map. The workshop is hosted by Arteleku and coordinated by José Luis Pajares (gelo); the other presenters are Lize Mogel, Fabien Girardin and Julius von Bismarck.
My presentation (Thurs 24th at 19.00) will be an overview of Proboscis’ projects exploring place, public authoring and sensing conducted since the 2002 (e.g. Urban Tapestries, Social Tapestries, Feral Robots, Snout, Sutton Grapevine & Sensory Threads. Proboscis’ work has always focused less on the technological than on the relational nature of linking human knowledge and experience to place – why and how people tell stories and construct narratives around the places they inhabit and which hold meaning for them.
Starting in October we will be running regular informal evening workshops for people to literally pitch up and publish using bookleteer.com. Initially these will be held at our Clerkenwell Studio for up to 15 participants – all you need is a laptop and some content (text /photos/ drawings etc) you’d like to create and share as eBooks or StoryCubes (shareables). We will provide free user accounts to bookleteer and guide you through the steps of preparing and generating your shareables to share online, via email or as physical publications. Once created you can publish them on your own website or, if appropriate, we can publish them on Diffusion.
Update: The first workshop will be held on October 15th 2009 between 6.30-9pm at the Proboscis Studio.
To reserve a place please email us at diffusion (at) proboscis.org.uk Participants will be asked to make small donation to cover materials (paper/printing ink etc) and refreshments (beer).
Alice Angus and Giles Lane are currently participating in the latest DodoLab in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada where we are working alongside Andrew Hunter (Chief DodoLabster), Barb Hobot, Laura Knapp and Lisa Hirmer, as well as a group of students from Mount Allison University led by Dr Shauna McCabe.
A film made by Sutton Youth group about the qualities that make up Sutton-in-the-Isle, a village in the Fens. Using cut up paper and some pretty low tech processes and a lot of laughing, this was made in under two hours one evening.
From 3rd – 9th of June we’ll be roving around the village gathering and recording stories in many ways; from hanging out at the election, the community shop, the pub and the community spaces with a large village map, to visiting local clubs and individuals, to hosting a storytelling dinner with the residents of a street, to running workshops and going for walks. As the village continues to change through growth, movement and migration the initiative aims to let local people explore place and identity.
Alongside this we’ve integrated storytelling and news sharing (by email and with a WordPress blog); sound recordings (via the free podbean and AudioBoo podcasting servicees and the low cost Gabcast telephone-to-MP3 podcasting service); photo sharing (via the Flickr group pool); social connections (via the Facebook Group) and news feeds (via Twitter). We will also be adding in some of our own inventions like StoryCubes and Diffusion eBooks to make tangible things that can be passed around, as well as the digital media.
We will be back during Sutton Feast Week from the 1st – 5th July with an exhibition and audio broadcasts at St Andrews Church and around the village.
See you in Sutton!
As part of our contribution to the Creator Research Cluster, Giles Lane, Sarah Thelwall (mycake) and Tim Jones (Solar Associates) organised a 1 day workshop at The Rookery in Clerkenwell to explore how small arts organisations could explore working with research departments in universities, and develop the case for becoming Independent Research Organisations. The workshop brought together around 20 participants from a wide group of artists and creative professionals, many of whom are already in collaborations with universities, to share experiences and insights into collaborative practices.
The workshop was partly inspired by Sarah’s Troubadour study for the Creator Cluster (due to be published in June 2009 by Proboscis), the executive summary of which was circulated to all the participants. It drew on the experiences of Proboscis (already an IRO since 2005), Blast Theory and Scan who have all maintained long term partnerships and collaborations with universities stretching back a decade or more. The AHRC was also represented at the workshop and was helpful in identifying the probable routes needed to be taken to achieve IRO status in the current climate.
The participants agreed to set up an informal cluster of interested parties who wanted to take the process further.
Participants: Giles Lane (Proboscis); Sarah Thelwall (mycake); Tim Jones (Solar Associates); Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield); Helen Sloan (Scan); Julianne Pierce (Blast Theory); Rob La Frenais (Arts Catalyst); Tassos Stevens (Coney); Ruth & Bruno (Igloo); Glenn Davidson (Artstation); Rachel Jacob (Active Ingredient); Evelyn Wilson (LCACE); Gini Simpson (Queen Mary); Annamaria Wills (cida); Carien Meier (Drake); Ben Cook (LUX); Tim Harrison (ACE London); Isabel Lilly (Stream); Joanna Pollock (AHRC); Nick? (A Foundation).
Absent Friends: Bronac Ferran (boundaryobject); Julie Taylor (Goldsmiths); Lorraine Warren (Southampton); Ted Fuller (Lincoln)
Funded by the CREATOR Cluster, part of the EPSRC’s Digital Economy programme.
The third in a series of workshop on the theme of urban sensing, UrbanSense 08 took place in Raleigh, North Carolina in November 2008. The workshop explored ideas, prototypes and realised projects around participatory sensing. Karen Martin made a presentation of ‘Participatory Sensing for Urban Communities’ which described the Robotic Feral Public Authoring and Snout projects which Proboscis had created in collaboration with Birkbeck College, University of London.
Read the paper ‘Participatory Sensing for Urban Communities‘ (PDF 650Kb) by Demetrios Airantzis (Birkbeck College, University of London); Alice Angus (Proboscis), Giles Lane (Proboscis), Karen Martin (Proboscis), George Roussos (Birkbeck College, University of London), Jenson Taylor (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Here is the workshop abstract:
Sensing is going mobile and people-centric. Sensors for activity recognition and GPS for location are now being shipped in millions of top end mobile phones. This complements other sensors already on mobile phones such as high-quality cameras and microphones. At the same time we are seeing sensors installed in urban environments in support of more classic environmental sensing applications, such as, real-time feeds for air-quality, pollutants, weather conditions, and congestion conditions around the city. Collaborative data gathering of sensed data for people by people, facilitated by sensing systems comprised of everyday mobile devices and their interaction with static sensor webs, present a new frontier at the intersection between pervasive computing and sensor networking.
This workshop promotes exchange among sensing system researchers involved in areas, such as, mobile sensing, people-centric and participatory sensing, urban sensing, public health, community development, and cultural expression. It focuses on how mobile phones and other everyday devices can be employed as network- connected, location-aware, human-in-the-loop sensors that enable data collection, geo-tagged documentation, mapping, modeling, and other case-making capabilities.
A film for the Perception Peterborough project, documenting the creation of a 3 dimensional ‘map’ of creative visions overlaid over the city. The film was shot during workshops facilitated by Proboscis in Peterborough Museum in September 2008.
As part of Perception Peterborough three creative transdisciplinary workshops were led by Proboscis (alongside consultants Haring Woods Associates) at Peterborough Museum over three days in September 2008. The workshops were the culmination of Perception Peterborough and were designed to reflect on Peterboroughs’s vision for the future around the three themes;
- Green Infrastructure and Environmental Technologies
- Social Cohesion within a Climate of Migration
- Growth: Development of the Built Environment.
Over three days each workshop explored the notion of ‘Environmental Capital’ and both discussed and built ideas for the features of an environmental capital. Creativity underpinned our process for the workshops where a playful but intensive period of activity involved social mapping, StoryCubes and 3D mapbuilding.
The workshops involved:
Social Mapping to explore participants’ connections to each other and Peterborough using brown paper and crayons. StoryCubes to explore relationships of ideas to each other and focus the conversation, with
a physical landscape of cubes building up over the days. StoryCubes are a tactile thinking tool for exploring relationships and narratives, each face of the cube is illustrated or annotated to graphically convey an idea, a thing or an action. A 3D Map of a Future Peterborough to make manifest participants ideas for the features of an environmental capital and go beyond the big ideas such as ‘a carbon zero economy’ to look at how that might be achieved on the ground. Participants added both new ideas, suggestions and existing or planned buildings, structures or initiatives.
View a film of the collaborative map created over the first three days.
Proboscis devised a creative workshop on September 18th at ZAIM, Yokohama as part of the Dislocate08 festival. The workshop is the initial stage of our research for Sensory Threads, engaging artists, urbanists, designers, technologists, musicians and dancers in an active investigation into the sensorial patterns and rhythms to be found in our environment. The area around ZAIM in Yokohama became our research field as we sought out and evidenced the recurring, overlapping and intersecting sounds and movements that take place as we act in, and react to, our environment.
Sensory Threads is a work-in-progress to develop an instrument enabling a group of people to create a soundscape reflecting their collaborative experiences in the environment. For this interactive sensory experience, we are designing sensors for detecting environmental phenomena at the periphery of human perception as well as the movement and proximity of the wearers themselves. Possible targets for the sensors may be electro-magnetic radiation, hi/lo sound frequencies, heart rate etc). The sensors’ datastreams will feed into generative audio software, creating a multi-layered and multi-dimensional soundscape feeding back the players’ journey through their environment. Variations in the soundscape reflect changes in the wearers interactions with each other and the environment around them. We aim to premiere the work in 2009.
We also took part in the Dislocate symposium on September 20-21st, presenting our film Play to Invent and giving an overview of our work in public authoring, sensing, mapping and mobile technologies.
Produced by Haring Woods Associates
Editor: Celia Makin-Bell
Concept and design: Proboscis
Illustration: Matt Huynh
Graphic Design: Carmen Vela Maldonado
Proboscis were commissioned by Cardiff University’s Human Resources Division to run a StoryCubes Workshop as part of their internal Leadership Programme.
Workshop Facilitation: Karen Martin & Orlagh Woods
Proboscis were commissioned by the Manchester Beacon Project and Just-b Productions to design and facilitate a StoryCubes Workshop as part of developing a brief for commissioning an online ‘public engagement tool’.
Read more about the workshop and view it outcomes here.
Katz Kiely, Giles Lane, Karen Martin, Erinma Ochu, Rob Annable, Geoff Laycock, Constance Fleuriot, Lewis Sykes, Maria Stukoff, John Wetheral, Dom Raban, David Fernandez-Dias, Tim Riches, Martyn Amos, Marjahan Begum, Toby Howard, Andrew Wilson, Onno Baudouin and Dwayne Brandy.
Team: Giles Lane and Karen Martin
Collecting, Curating and Communicating Culture
Proboscis co-designed (with Andrew Hunter of Render) a studio/seminar course introducing 3rd & 4th year undergraduate and post-graduate students to contemporary approaches to collecting and curating through learning by doing. Students were introduced to techniques (anarchaeology, public authoring) and tools (Diffusion eBooks, StoryCubes, podcasting) used and developed by Proboscis. The goal of the course was to work both individually and collectively in excavating narratives of people, places, events and artefacts and creating new artefacts (using new and old media tools).
Render continued its collaboration with Proboscis on the Anarchaeology programme in May-July 2008, running a lab out of the Artery Gallery in downtown Kitchener. As part of this Render hosted a workshop with Collision, a group of students from Preston Highschool who have formed an independent collective to initiate and create performative art projects. Collision is mentored by artist and teacher Kyle Brown. For the May 17 workshop, Collision became selected buildings in downtown Kitchener and then ventured out into the street to engage the public.
Team: Alice Angus, Giles Lane & Orlagh Woods
Partner: Render at University of Waterloo (Andrew Hunter, Barbara Hobot & Amos Latteier)
Funded by the J.W. Graham Trust
‘Shared Encounters’ was a workshop which took place at CHI 07 in San Jose, California. CHI is the annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and this one-day workshop brought together researchers from academia and industry to explore how mobile technologies might support shared encounters in urban environments. Karen Martin and Giles Lane submitted a position paper describing Proboscis’ Conversations and Connections project and the challenges and opportunities faced by projects which make use of, and develop, new technologies but have primarily social goals.
You can read our paper here: Making Glue (PDF 150Kb)
This is the workshop abstract:
Our everyday lives are characterised by encounters, some are fleeting and ephemeral and others are more enduring and meaningful exchanges. Shared encounters are the glue of social networks and have a socializing effect in terms of mutual understanding, empathy, respect and thus tolerance towards others. The quality and characteristics of such encounters are affected by the setting, or situation in which they occur. In a world shaped by communication technologies, non-place-based networks often coexist alongside to the traditional local face-to-face social networks. As these multiple and distinct on and off-line communities tend to carry out their activities in more and more distinct and sophisticated spaces, a lack of coherency and fragmentation emerges in the sense of a shared space of community. Open public space with its streets, parks and squares plays an important role in providing space for shared encounters among and between these coexisting networks. Mobile and ubiquitous technologies enable social encounters located in public space, albeit not confined to fixed settings, whilst also offering sharing of experiences from non-place based networks. We will look at how to create or support the conditions for meaningful and persisting shared encounters. In particular we propose to explore how technologies can be appropriated for shared interactions that can occur spontaneously and playfully and in doing so re-inhabit and connect place-based social networks.