Bookleteering with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre

March 14, 2016 by · 4 Comments 

IMG_3651

Over the past 2 weeks I have been in Port Vila, Vanuatu in the South Pacific with James Leach and Lissant Bolton (Keeper of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, British Museum) working with the Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta (Bislama for Vanuatu Cultural Centre). Lissant organised and led a special workshop with a group of women fieldworkers on the theme of current changes to kinship systems (supported by the Christensen Fund). The fieldworkers are ni-Vanuatu (local) people representing some of the many different vernacular language groups from across the many islands who do voluntary work to record and preserve traditional culture and knowledge. The fieldworker programme has been established and overseen by the Cultural Centre (VKS) for over 35 years and is a unique initiative where local people gather “cultural knowledges about all the aspects of the customary art of living of Vanuatu”. Each year the fieldworkers gather together to share their research with each other and contribute to the documentation held at the VKS.

Lissant had invited James and I to visit Vanuatu with her and introduce the TKRN toolkit and techniques to the fieldworkers participating in the kinship workshop, as well as to meet with others working on different projects at the VKS. The low cost and ease of use of the TKRN booklets – both for collecting documentation in rural settings as well as digitising and archiving (both online and as hard copies) – made it an obvious tool to share. Prior to leaving London, Lissant and I had made some initial examples of Bislama (the local pidgin) notebooks for Vanuatu similar to those created in Tok Pisin for Papua New Guinea. These would be tested with the women fieldworkers during the workshop and we planned to adapt them with their assistance, as we have done in PNG with local people from Reite village.

In Port Vila James and I were also were introduced to Paula Aruhuri of the Vanuatu Indigenous Land Defence Desk, an organisation that promotes awareness of indigenous custom and land rights across Vanuatu and campaigns to stop land alienation from traditional owners. With Paula we co-designed a simple reporting notebook for the fieldworkers who deliver awareness events to local communities that will assist the land desk in documenting local people’s concerns and how they might be able to help them. And we met with Edson Willie of the VKS Akioloji Unit (Heritage Unit), with whom we co-designed a notebook for fieldworkers to record heritage sites.

The women fieldworkers experimented with one of the notebook formats and helped us re-design the front cover and write up a more appropriate ethics statement that reflected their different concerns about sharing traditional knowledge. In this case they chose not to share their books online (as we did in Reite), but to have them scanned, re-printed and stored in the ‘Tabu Rum’ of the VKS, the audio-visual archives. Local concerns about rights to aspects of traditional knowledge in Melanesia are a major theme and extremely important to design for. Developing tactics and a strategy to enable clear documentation and permission for sharing has been at the heart of the TKRN co-design process. Lissant has written about this issue in the context of Vanuatu and it also reflects on James’ work with Porer Nombo from Reite on their book Reite Plants in this essay.

We are planning to return to Vanuatu later in the year with some Reite people to participate in a knowledge exchange around the TKRN toolkit and techniques with men and women fieldworkers of the VKS. In this way we hope to develop a model of adoption whereby communities learn from each other how to use and adapt the toolkit for their own purposes, with our role being more one of facilitation than education or training. As a toolkit designed from the grassroots up, I hope to continue expanding on the concept of ‘public authoring’ that has driven the development of bookleteer and the ‘shareables’ it enables people to make and share.

In late April James and I will return to Papua New Guinea to work with Reite villagers to introduce the TKRN toolkit to a couple of other villages in Madang Province – this should provide an good indication of the possibilities and limitations of how a model of community knowledge transfer and adaptation can work.

PlayCubes : kickstarting the next stage

October 29, 2013 by · 1 Comment 


Three years ago, not long after Mandy Tang started at Proboscis, we came up with an idea to use the StoryCubes and bookleteer to inspire people to play and invent their own games. We were inspired ourselves by the Love Outdoor Play campaign, which aims to encourage children, and their parents, to play outside more. Over about six months Mandy developed Outside The Box as a side-project within the studio, devising the three games with help from the team and illustrating all the resulting cubes. We frequently got together to test out the game ideas, as well as with friends and eventually with a group of children on a YMCA play scheme. But as the studio got stuck into several large projects, we didn’t get round to completing the whole package until recently.

The result is Outside The Box – a “game engine for your imagination” – designed to inspire you to improvise and play your own games on your own or with others, indoors or outside. It’s made up of 27 cubes, 3 layers of 9 cubes, each layer being a distinct game : Animal Match, Mission Improbable and StoryMaker. Outside The Box has no rules, nothing to win or lose, the cubes simply provide a framework for you to imagine and make up your own games. You can browse through the whole OTB collection of cubes and books on bookleteer, to download and make up at home.

However, 27 large PlayCubes and 7 books is a lot to make yourself, so we’re now planning to manufacture a “first edition” to get them into people’s hands to find out what they do with them. To achieve this we’re running a kickstarter campaign to raise funds – support the project to get your own set in time for Christmas or choose other rewards.

Animal Match starts out as a puzzle – match up the animal halves to complete the pattern. From there you can make it much more fun : mix the cubes up to invent strange creatures; what would you call them? What would they sound like? How might they move?

Mission Improbable is for role-playing. There are 6 characters: Adventurer, Detective, Scientist, Spy, Storyteller and Superhero, each with 9 tasks. Use them to invent your own games, record your successes in the mission log books or take it to another level by designing your own costumes and props.

StoryMaker incites the telling of fantastical tales : Roll the 3 control cubes to decide how to tell your story, what kind it should be and where to set it. Then use the word cubes as your cue to invent a story on the spot.

Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange Toolkit

September 16, 2013 by · 28 Comments 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last year we collaborated with the Possible Futures Lab of the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London to assist local people in Pallion, Sunderland develop a way to come together and help each other map out the skills, knowledges, resources and capabilities for responding to and effecting change in their community. The outcome of this was the establishment of a regular group of people working out of the community centre Pallion Action Group. As part of our work with them we co-designed a series of simple ‘tools’ that could be used to help them do things like identify problem and solutions and share them online confidently and safely.

The tools use very simple paper-based formats – wall posters, postcards and notebooks – that can either be printed on standard home/office printers or cheaply printed at larger sizes at local copy shops. The notebooks are created with bookleteer and can be downloaded direct : http://bookleteer.com/collection.html?id=9

To make these tools available to anyone for use in their own communities, we have now designed generic versions and collected them into a Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange Toolkit. The toolkit is free to download and everything in it is free to adopt and adapt under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-Alike license.

Download the Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange Toolkit (zipped archive 48Mb)

We would love to hear of anyone’s experiences using or adapting these tools for their own purposes and keen to hear of suggestions for improvements or additions to the toolkit. One of the items we feel is currently missing is some form of simple self-evaluation tool for communities to use to determine how successful (or not) they are in achieving their aims and objectives. We are also working on a special set of StoryCubes designed to help both organisers and communities work through common issues and to devise solutions and activities that help them set up their own Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange.

Where possible (time and resources permitting) we are willing to develop new or customised versions of specific tools, such as the notebooks or worksheets. Please get in touch with us to discuss your ideas or suggestions.

Creative Commons Licence
Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange by Proboscis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Hidden Families

January 16, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

  

In the last few months I’ve been working on Hidden Families, a project with families with someone in prison. The project, run by by Lizzie Coles Kemp of the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London, was trying to find out how to improve the way information is made available to families, because people sometimes don’t or can’t engage with support services. The hardships families experience are diverse;- travel, costs of visiting, the huge distances to visit,the stress of uncertain weather and travel conditions that might cause someone to be late and miss their visit, bringing children, access to pension, welfare and benefits advice, sentence planning, prisoner safety and welfare, being stigmatised and outcast, and not expecting help or having the ability to improve the situation.

The project has several facets and I was involved in working with Action for Prisoners Families, NEPACS (who provide support services for families separated by prison), performer Freya Stang and visitors to a visitors’ center in a Category A prison. 
Action for Prisoners’ Families (APF),

works for the benefit of prisoners’ and offenders’ families by representing the views of families and those who work with them and by promoting effective work with families…
A prison or community sentence damages family life.

NEPACS builds bridges between prisoners, families and communities that they will return to, they

believe that investment must be made in resettlement and rehabilitation to ensure that there are fewer crime victims in the future, and less prospect of family life being disrupted and possibly destroyed by a prison sentence… After all, the families haven’t committed the crime, but they, especially the children, are greatly affected by the punishment

Lizzie’s approach to working with people differs from typical academic studies. Rather than only surveying or asking questions of a community she collaborates with groups to create projects, workshops and events that are independently of value to that group, rather than just to fulfill research ends, she often works with artists, writers and performers to support partners and participants in articulating ideas.

The project partners and visitors contributed to booklets, postcards, conversations and a wall collage gathering experiences of the practical, technical and emotional issues people face.  I brought together the stories, experiences and sketches, with a series of  sketches I made, into a digitally printed textile hanging based on the idea of a patchwork quilt for the NEPACS Visitors’ Centre. Participants expressed a wish to produce a version that could hang in the Chapel and Action For Prisoners Families have versions which they will using for their training, education and work raising awareness of the hidden issues families face.

   

We Are All Food Critics – The Reviews

July 6, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

One of the most fun things we’ve done this year has to be the little project we ran as part of the Soho Food Feast : helping some of the children of Soho Parish Primary School produce their own reviews of the amazing foods on offer in specially designed eNotebooks. The children would choose something from one of the many stalls, bring it to be photographed and a Polaroid PoGo photo sticker printed out an stuck into one of the eNotebooks, then they’d write about what the dish looked, smelt, felt, sounded and tasted like. This idea of doing the reviews through the 5 senses, along with the great introduction, was contributed by Fay Maschler, the restaurant critic of the London Evening Standard and one of the Food Feast committee members.

We’ve now published a compilation of the best reviews which is available via the Diffusion Library as downloadable eBooks and in the bookreader format. We’re also printing a short run edition which will go the children themselves (and a few for the school to sell to raise funds – get one while you can!). Thanks to everyone who took part in this project – the children of Soho Parish and Soho Youth, members of the Food Feast Committee (Anita Coppins, Wendy Cope, Clare Lynch), Rachel Earnshaw (Head Teacher) and the team here : Mandy Tang, Haz Tagiuri & Stefan Kueppers.

Neighbourhood knowledge in Pallion

July 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Last Thursday I visited members of the Pallion Ideas Exchange (PAGPIE) at Pallion Action Group to bring them the latest elements of the toolkit we’ve been co-designing with them. Since our last trip and series of workshops with them we’ve refined some of the thinking tools and adapted others to better suit the needs and capabilities of local people.

Pallion Ideas Exchange Notebooks & Workbooks by proboscis, on Flickr

Using bookleteer‘s Short Run printing service we printed up a batch of specially designed notebooks for people to use to help them collect notes in meetings and at events; manage their way through a problem with the help of other PAGPIE members; work out how to share ideas and solutions online in a safe and open way; and a simple notebook for keeping a list of important things to do, when they need done by, and what to do next once they’ve been completed.

We designed a series of large wall posters, or thinksheets,  for the community to use in different ways : one as a simple and open way to collect notes and ideas during public meetings and events; another to enable people to anonymously post problems for others to suggests potential solutions and other comments; another for collaborative problem solving and one for flagging up opportunities, who they’re for, what they offer and how to publicise them.

These posters emerged from our last workshop – we had designed several others as part of process of engaging with the people who came along to the earlier meetings and workshops, and they liked the open and collaborative way that the poster format engaged people in working through issues. We all agreed that a special set for use by the members of PAGPIE would be a highly useful addition to their ways of capturing and sharing knowledge and ideas, as well as really simple to photograph and blog about or share online in different ways.

Last time I was up we had helped a couple of the members set up a group email address, a twitter account and a generic blog site – they’ve not yet been used as people have been away and the full core group haven’t quite got to grips with how they’ve going to use the online tools and spaces. My next trip up in a few weeks will be to help them map out who will take on what roles, what tools they’re actually going to start using and how. I’ll also be hoping I won’t get caught out by flash floods and storms again!

We are also finishing up the designs of the last few thinksheets – a beautiful visualisation of the journey from starting the PAGPIE network and how its various activities feed into the broader aspirations of the community (which Mandy will be blogging about soon); a visual matrix indicating where different online service lie on the read/write:public/private axes; as well as a couple of earlier posters designed to help people map out their home economies and budgets (income and expenditure).

Our next task will be to create a set of StoryCubes which can be used playfully to explore how a community or a neighbourhood group could set up their own Ideas Exchange. It’ll be a set of 27 StoryCubes, with three different sets of 9 cubes each – mirroring to some degree Mandy’s Outside the Box set for children. We’re planning to release a full Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange package later this summer/autumn which will contain generic versions of all the tools we’ve designed for PAGPIE as well as the complete set of StoryCubes.

3 days in Pallion

May 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

 

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.

View from our hotel in Roker

Ideas exchange with Pallion

April 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Just before Easter we were back in Sunderland working with Pallion Action Group and Royal Holloway, University of London’s Information Security Group  on the project to help build a community network for people to share ideas about money, spend and budgets in ways that help them cope with the massive changes in the benefits system and reduction of the public sector’s contribution to the local economy.

I’m finding each time I visit PAG I’m more and more amazed at their ability to bring people together and invent solutions to tackle serious problems through creative thinking and activity. Their projects range from street dance, to pre-employment confidence building, mentoring of young people and projects to engage older people with technology. Although PAG are not an arts organisation their approach does remind me of two media arts orgs – Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) in Western Sydney Australia and Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol. ICE  open their doors to all sections of the diverse western Sydney community to join in a program of activities that enable communities and artists to tell the stories of this extraordinary place. Knowle West Media Centre is a media arts charity that aims to develop and support cultural, social and economic regeneration supporting communities to engage with, and benefit from, digital technologies and the arts.

These places have a commitment to valuing everyone’s voice in a democratic space. They’ve created environments that, because they are trusted and run by the community, encourage people to come to them they need an answer or a problem solved or just want to be involved. They all use creative processes, arts, music and film in their projects and through it are able to connect up people, ideas and communities to find solutions, support initiatives and ‘make things happen’ that are both practical and transformative.

PAG “was formed in 1993 by a small group of local residents who intended to take action relating to some of the problems that their community was facing.” Its mission is “To work to improve the living conditions, community facilities, social, educational and economic opportunities available to the residents of Pallion and surrounding areas of the City of Sunderland.”

Spending a few days in the building you get to see the way that PAG subtly makes opportunities for people to work together, to help each other as well as themselves. They are adept in seeing people’s passions, capabilities and capacities and supporting them. It doesn’t take long being there to be struck by the perceptive, resourceful and intelligent people who are involved in Pallion Action Group. People of all ages from many walks of life who have found themselves facing degrees of difficulty over lack of employment and a complex confusing benefits system.

On this last visit we were working with PAG on a shared design approach to mapping the broad themes, areas and issues and began to collect sample stories and experiences. We started with some basic explorations of resources in the home; what comes in and what goes out. It led onto more in-depth explorations of people’s perceptions : where did these things sit in relation to one another; what things people can rely on and what are unreliable; what is fixed, what changes? Finally we moved onto mapping what people’s aspirations are and the barriers that get in the way of achieving those. After these sessions we collaborated with members of PAG on scoping the next stages of the project and how it will intersect with current PAG activities and be supported by people involved in PAG. The discussion concluded that for this network to be of value it will have to enable people to improve their situation and not reinforce fears. Our focus for the project now rests on how what Proboscis does or brings to the process can connect with and supports PAG’s own work; how we can build on and exploit PAG’s skills and enhances (rather than adding more work) their efforts to build on their positive approach.

Preparations for Pallion

April 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

As part of our work on the VOME project with researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London’s Information Security Group we are working with Pallion Action Group in Pallion in Sunderland on a community engagement project to co-design a process with the local community in Pallion, Sunderland to create a knowledge network around money, spend and budgets. We are collaborating with PAG to identify the areas and issues challenging people around  household economies.  The project feeds into VOME’s  aim of “exploring how people engage with concepts of information privacy and consent in online interactions”.

We’ve have been co-designing designing a set of huge posters with people at PAG to help gather knowledge and find the right language to use. We took a first set up recently for the first exploration session, and  based on peoples’ comments revised and changed them and will be heading off to do a two day series of activities with local people to dig deeper into peoples concerns about costs, spend, what we can rely on and what is unreliable. I think the project is going to involve some very interesting cycles of creating, discussing, revising, changing and re-producing materials until we can collaboratively come up with the right materials.

    

Drawing for Agencies of Engagement

November 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Recently the Proboscis team have been working with the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET) and Crucible at the University of Cambridge on a collaborative research project. As the artist for this project, my responsibility ranged from creating visual notations during discussion and brainstorming sessions to illustrating the outcomes of the teams’ reflections in the form of insights and observations. My work was incorporated into a set of books known as Agencies of Engagement.

Each book required a different approach to create a series of illustrations, to accompany the written narrative.
The very first being, visual notation. I used this in the early stages of the project to capture the different ideas discussed during brainstorming sessions. The challenge here was that the discussion was live, it was vital to listen carefully; picking out words to sketch as fast as possible and trying not to fall behind. The idea to this approach was to allow others to see the dialogue visually, the illustrations represented words, topics and how it connected with each other.

Visual notation during a brain storming session.

The next series of illustrations was aimed to capture the moment of an activity, it was placed in the book describing the project’s progress (Project Account). The sketches consisted of members taking part in a workshop, it was illustrated by using the photographs taken during the session as the foundation and creating a detailed line drawing on top to accompany the detailed nature of the Project Account book.

Members taking part in a workshop.

The most challenging of them all was for the book, Drawing Insight, this book consisted of the teams’ insights and observations. The illustrations were quite conceptual, and although accompanied with captions the representations of these illustrations needed to be obvious to the reader. Thus being a very iterative process and required a lot of patience, I would often talk to the team to define the meaning behind captions to develop sketches to reflect it and then after a thorough review sketches would be tweaked, polished and re-polished until we felt that they had captured the right feeling.

Conceptual illustration from Drawing Insight.

The illustrations used in the Method Stack book, took on the same principle as the Project Account but with less detail. The aim to this approach was to simply suggest and spark ideas in relation to the thorough explanation to each engagement method, by keeping it as simple line drawings it becomes easier for the reader to fill in the blanks with their own creativity.

A quick illustration of participants mapping stories.

Finally, Catalysing Agency had a combination of both visual notations from an audio recording from the Catalyst Reflection Meeting and conceptual illustrations like those used in Drawing Insight.

The catalyst role is a person, not a process.

This was my first research project with Proboscis, it was a very intricate one and no doubt the experience I gained from this will be invaluable. Learning about the different methods of engaging with participants of this project and putting them into practice, and deciphering complex findings into a visual to give an insight to others were the main lessons learnt throughout this project, it emphasised the importance of dialogue and communication.

Agencies of Engagement has enabled me to explore and refine my skills in terms of the different approaches to creative thinking. It wasn’t as simple as sketch what you see; there were multiple layers of things to consider – meanings, perception and how the illustrations were to be perceived. Not only was I able to hone my artistic skills in my comfort zone of conceptual illustrations, I was able to explore new techniques such as visual notations in a live situation and both styles of line art for Project Account and Method Stack.
I’ve received my own copy of the finished publication and am overwhelmed with pride, the team did an amazing job and I look forward to participating in more projects like this.

The mischievous characters from Drawing Insight.

Agencies of Engagement

November 17, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Agencies of Engagement is a new 4 volume publication created by Proboscis as part of a research collaboration with the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technology and the Crucible Network at the University of Cambridge. The project explored the nature of groups and group behaviours within the context of the university’s communities and the design of software platforms for collaboration.

The books are designed to act as a creative thinking and doing tool – documenting and sharing the processes, tools, methods, insights, observations and recommendations from the project. They are offered as a ‘public good’ for others to learn from, adopt and adapt.

Download, print out and make up the set for yourself on Diffusion or read the online versions.

Pic(k)ing out London – How it went

October 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Last August I started planning and outlining the details of my personal project named Pic(k)ing out London. Alice and Giles helped me adjust and refine my initial blurred design, propelling questions and making objections in order to show me how intricate and elaborate planning even a simple project like this is. At first I was pretty enthusiastic about that as I thought I would have had the chance to test my ideas – how ever scattered and ephemeral they might have appeared – about urban interaction against the merciless reality. My aim was to select people from different backgrounds who have diametrically opposed points of view of London. That meant avoiding close friends or at least I meant to pick only a few and try to differentiate my recipients as much as possible. That again meant that I should run through different channels in order to recruit people who could possibly match my criteria and expectations. At first I sent emails to contacts I was provided by Giles and Alice and although the response was quite poor from the beginning I was at least pretty satisfied with the initial goal achieved: yes I had found six people willing to take part in the project (being six the minimum threshold we had set) and even if among those six there were some acquaintances or some friends of a friend they altogether formed a varied lot!

How ever promising it could be, it was not destined to last long. People disappear, they don’t get in touch or, when they do, they vainly assure me they will eventually do it. People then abandon the project along the way for various reasons and I should say I soon realized I was not in a favourable junction at all as all sort of unfortunate circumstances seemed to come together: computer crashes, camera breakdown, memory card not inserted and many other personal misfortunes.

In order to compensate for this ever weaker inflow of material Alice and Giles advised me to enlarge both the scales of time of the project and the spectrum of potential participants by adopting less-beaten methods to recruit and involve people. We cut the days people had to commit and proposed a 5-days, one-weekend or even a one-day involvement. Besides I tried to broaden my horizons by contacting associations and various community clubs, posting on different websites, boosting the group Facebook and Flickr pages, approaching strangers on the streets and handing out flyers. I should admit that I also went back to those very friends I had at first neglected and begged for help. However, as hard as I tried, it just did not work!

After the inevitable discouragement and frustration, I became aware that a reflection about the reasons why the outcome shattered my anticipation was absolutely indispensable and, all things considered, it was the only thing left to do. Giles and Alice were not of secondary importance in this process, as they always tried to make me understand that a marginal failure is unavoidable and predictable when doing projects that require the involvement of people. As long as you stick to your ‘sacred cows’, you have to be flexible and adapt your ideas to any change of circumstances which may occur.

As the project was initially designed, it was perhaps too demanding, too specific and not so straightforward as I thought it was if you consider working with people from a distance. This implies an autonomous effort from their part and if the tasks are a bit challenging they may easily get lost and lose interest in the project. Then it is mandatory to understand how people have their own concerns and duties to care. Therefore in a situation where the participants feel no obligation whatsoever, apart from being a mere act of helpfulness, and they see no reward in actually accomplishing the task, it is too tricky to trust in their complete commitment. Now I guess that having worked with a closed community would have made a great difference as people might have felt duty bound to carry out the research and might have found mutual help and support.

I have also reflected about my own attitude towards the whole project and in particular the strategies I adopted to convince people not just to say ‘yes, I’ll do it’ but to feel positive and intrigued by the principles and values of the whole plan. I therefore recognize in my own approach some flaws due not so much to a lack of faith in what theoretically underpins what I was doing, but mainly due to my own inexperience in translating some abstract concepts to a more varied audience. I feel that people outside the ‘field’ may find this sort of engagements quite silly or, at least, useless and unfruitful. So the puzzle, still unsolved, is: how to connect with people who may be, initially and on principle, suspicious and uninterested? How to make my aim and desire be understandable to a wider arena?

This enigma and my own unfamiliarity obviously made my conviction in the project be full of ups and downs and inevitably led to a poor and visible self-confidence. And that is not the ideal tack to prompt someone to complete a task! Moreover, the continuous alterations on strategies adopted, in order to make up for the scarce response, did nothing but weaken my ease. To be honest, one should take into consideration other factors to explain why it did not work as expected, such as the time of the year (it started in August when most people are on holiday) and a bare series of misfortunes which had diverted my initial idea. Anyway, I think it is essential to be critical and analytic towards both the context and one’s own faults. What I can say is that I would definitely like to put myself on the line again and test my unresolved issues if the occasion arises in the future and now I am confident that from this disastrous experience I may learn something precious. Most of all, I should learn not to take for granted what I used to and to ask myself those very questions that the project helped to bring to the surface.

Finally, I want to thank those who, despite snags, helped and supported me and those who did contribute to the project by sending me pictures and diary entries.

Outside The Box – First Play Test

April 18, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Outside The Box play set laid out on the grass at Lambourne End Outdoor Centre

Hi all! We had our first play test for Outside The Box yesterday with the children who were taking part in the play scheme with the YMCA of Central London. We went with them to Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning, where the children will get to take part in various activities including a chance to have a go with the play sets.

Upon arrival I was engulfed by the surrounding greenery, the centre was huge! 54 acres of land; open fields with animals grazing on the grass and various adventure activities built and scattered across the vast fields.

As we walked through the reception area to catch up with the children who were currently having lunch. My attention was immediately swept away from a beautiful blond haired horse which trotted passed; a small carriage trailing behind it with children gleefully cheering as they enjoyed the ride, “I want to go on that” was all I could think of after that.

After lunch the children were split into two groups and thus it was time to set the cubes free onto the grass and just see what happens.
The curious children watched and questioned as Giles placed the play set on the grass, they began picking them up and marvelled at the different drawings and asked who drew them – I felt proud and happy that they really liked them. They’ve ask me how did I draw the images to which I explained very briefly the process.

Then the blank cubes had become like gold, they all became immersed in the idea of making their own cubes and swarmed around trying to overcome the challenge of assembling a cube and immediately attacking the art box soon after. Frantically scooping PVA glue over the grass and dribbling it across each other, they busied away crafting their masterpiece.

Children crafting their masterpiece cube.

There was one girl however, who was more determined to solve the animal set. At first when she couldn’t work it out she claimed the cubes were wrong, so I nudged and gave a clue to which she immediately thought “Ah! so it can also go this way!” she shuffled the cubes and tried again. Eventually she solved the puzzle and huffed “that was hard”.

Then the groups switched over, a trio sprinted across the field and sat down to make a cube. They then began playing with the storytelling set. At first they only picked one word from each face of the cube – which made their stories one sentence long, but after suggesting that they can use all the words from each face, their stories became longer.
One of the girls used the words in order shown, another used the genre cube – but instead of rolling it she preferred to choose the face that she liked and did the same with the word cubes. They competed with each other to tell the best story and started shouting to drown out each other’s story!

(If you would like to listen to some of their funny stories, click on the links below)

http://audioboo.fm/boos/329978-stories-from-storycubes
http://audioboo.fm/boos/329979-more-stories

Finally the groups reunited to go see the farm animals, indicating the end of the first play testing session. Overall it was a great opportunity to be able to play test with children in a outdoor setting, it gave me an idea of what needs changing and how to set up the next play test. It would have been better to be able to get more children to play with them and to also get some of the boys to give it a go for a fair play test, instead of taking one look at it and tossing it aside for football. I thank the Central YMCA for this opportunity and look forward to more visits in hope that children will like Outside The Box. As for the golden horse that kept trotting passed me numerous times and swaying it’s golden mane as if taunting me…one day..one day..*shakes fists*.

As It Comes; stories, sketches and stitches

January 14, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

In August 2010 I was commissioned, by Mid Pennine Arts and Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, to create a work about Lancaster’s independent traders,  As It Comes. Building on my previous work about markets and traders I worked with historian Michael Winstanley and artist Caroline Maclennan to research the trading history of the city and to meet local people, shop keepers and traders.

I’ve been developing my use of drawing as a way to research the character of a place and to create a space for conversation; on my visits I began to draw in traders’ places of work, where we would talk about craft and knowledge; communities and friendships and the relationships they have with commodities, food, and people.

What’s inspired me is their skills, care and connection to local communities and suppliers; whether selling fabric, tailoring a suit, fitting a floor, repairing tools, advising on paint, gutting fish or butchering meat. Though I saw many tools of the trade, its not the physical things that people mention most but knowledge, ability to talk to people, honesty and trust.

I spent time with traders to have conversations, collect audio interviews, make drawings and take photographs which have inspired new works combining traditional embroidery with drawing and digital printing on fabric. Lancashire was once famous for cotton manufacturing. Embroidering in cotton seemed appropriate to capture fragments of conversations about intangible skills, experiential knowledge, an uncertain future and the unique relationships these traders have with their customers.

The project was commissioned to investigate the trading history of Lancaster as well as to use some of the empty shop units in town so some of the work is currently in the windows of 18 New Street until the end of Jan 2011 where after it is planned move to another home.

Mid Penine Arts are offering to post free copies of the Project Publication to the first 20 people to share their thoughts on the project. If you’ve seen the work in Lancaster or been have following  the project online it would be great to hear your thoughts. You can post in response to this, or alternatively go to:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8CXMDV3

There are two publications and a special set of StoryCubes printed using bookleteer.com – you can download the print and make up version, or get in touch if you would like a specially printed version.

You can download print and make up versions of the project publication and StoryCubes here:

As It Comes by Alice Angus

A Lancaster Sketchbook by Caroline Maclennan

As It Comes StoryCubes

As It Comes

November 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

For the past few weeks I’ve been heading up and down from Lancaster working on As It Comes. It was commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts and Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce and is inspired by both the heritage and future of local traders and shopkeepers.

I have been interviewing and drawing with some of Lancaster’s current shopkeepers and traders to understand more about their businesses and talk about; craft and knowledge; communities and friendships; and the relationship with commodities, food, and people that is different from chains and supermarkets.

The project is continuing my work on markets and shops exploring the people and communities they engender.  I’ve been continually inspired by the skills, crafts and care of traders I’ve met in Lancaster – whether selling fabric, repairing tools or butchering meat. The As It Comes blog is recording some of the thoughts and conversations as the project continues.

Next week I am hanging some large scale work in New Street that combines traditional embroidery with drawing and digital printing on fabric, inspired by these conversations, the history of trade, development of textile technologies and history of cotton weaving in the area.

On the 4th December I’ll be leading a walk around of Lancaster talking about some of the issues raised by the project and thinking about the future of independent traders and town centers. NEF (New Economics Foundation) have published a follow up to their 2005 Clone Town report, entitled Re-imaging the High Street: Escape From Clone Town Britain which supports the need for independent traders; and the Transition Town movement – among others is gathering pace – so I am wondering what we want the new ecology of the high street to be? If you believe that supermarkets and large chains are unsustainable environmentally and socially, but we need some of what they offer, what new retail ecology might we build in the future?

DodoLab collaboration

June 24, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Proboscis is collaborating in a series of labs, artworks and interventions with artist/curator Andrew Hunter of DodoLab. So far, DodoLabs have been run at the World Environmental Education Congress in Montreal (May 09); Confederation Centre, Prince Edward Island (Aug 09) the Guelph Jazz Festival (Sept 09), Rijeka, Croatia (June 2010). More labs and workshops are planned for  2010, including in the UK. DodoLab is supported by the Musagetes Foundation and the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo, Canada.

A continuing element of the collaboration centers on using bookleteer to create artists books, documentation, workbooks, storycubes and other publications about DodoLab and its activities which you can see and download them here. DodoLab was the founding member of the bookleteer alpha club.

DodoLab is a dynamic and experimental project exploring issues of  resilience in places undergoing change and urban regeneration. The lab creates performances, artworks, interventions, events and education projects through an engagement with sites and communities. They use communication and social tools (such as posters, tagging, personal media devices, puppet figures and outdoor cafes) that are ubiquitous in the city.

DodoLab Montreal, Canada
The first DodoLab was held in Montréal in May 2009 at the 5th World Environmental Education Congress – a creative intervention in the exhibition hall and out and about in Montréal itself. Proboscis and the DodoLab team created a series of projects engaging the congress delegates in questioning concepts of sustainability. Giles Lane devised and a facilitated a social mapping and StoryCube activity engaging several hundred delegates in exploring their interconnections and ideas on sustainability and resilience.

DodoLab PEI, Charlottetown, Canada
DodoLab PEI is was hosted by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and explored  green space in the city, notably the Experimental Farm which is due to be redeveloped. Proboscis took part in creating and distributed seedbombs at the local Farmer’s Market, designing books, and undertaking research into the Experimental Farm Station for our new work, In Good Heart, (by Alice Angus), which considered the shift from rural to urban and the perception of ‘farm’. In Good Heart was exhibited as part of the show Dig Up My Heart: Artistic Practice in the Field curated by Shauna McCabe at the Confederation Centre Gallery in summer 2010.

DodoLab Riejka, Croatia
Alice Angus joined DodoLab in Reijka in June 2010 to research a new video installation and series of works on paper about Rijeka Market and its many traders. Dodolab are working in Rijeka in 2010 with the city and local groups to explore perceptions of Rijeka, collaboratively examining ideas about the city and its future with a particular emphasis on the role of young people.

Background
Proboscis collaboration with Dodolab grows our work with RENDER, Andrew Hunters previous project. Our past collaborative projects have included At the Water’s Edge, a new work specifically for the atrium of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge exploring the social, cultural and natural histories of the Grand River; Anarchaeology and The Accidental Menagerie.

Follow Proboscis’ collaboration with DodoLab here

dodolab website

dodolab twitter

Professional Development Commission: Articulating Futures by Niharika Hariharan

February 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Niharika Hariharan
February 2010

view/download the Hindi/English eNotebooks
download the Project Report PDF 2.1Mb

With Our Ears to the Ground book

February 8, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

WOETTGbook-0

We have just received the first bound copy of our publication for With Our Ears to the Ground; a project by Proboscis commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community. The project focused on four very different types of community in order to get a broad range of opinions across the county.

WOETTGbook-1

I’m really excited to see the final version and especially happy with the middle tracing paper insert of scenes and people Orlagh and I encountered during the project. The book draws together the multiple layers of ideas and experiences we found across the different communities we met in Watford, Stevenage, North Herts and  Broxbourne and it is designed to reflect the many ideas and voices we encountered. It is organised in the six themes of Transport, Movement, Listening, Community, Getting Involved and Perceptions the emerged during the project. The book contains drawings, photographs, quotes and writings. It can be read in any direction and you can interweave the pages of the three sections  as you read, to find new perspectives.

WOETTGbook-5

The With Our Ears to the Ground book, will go to selected libraries in Hertfordshire. The publication draws together the multiple layers of ideas and experiences we found across different communities and it is designed to reflect those ideas and voices.

WOETTGbook-3 WOETTGbook-2

We have a small number of copies please contact us if you would like to acquire one.

We have also published the main chapters as Diffusion eBooks –  books to download print and make up published using Bookleteer.  Booklets to make, carry in your pocket, browse in your own time, rather than read on screen. You can download them here.


LiftLab/CitiLab – Hands on Barcelona’s Informational Membrane

October 21, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

This Saturday I’m heading to Barcelona to take part in the lift @ home workshop at CitiLab organised by Fabien Girardin and Nicolas Nova – Hands on Barcelona’s Informational Membrane, part of Urban Lab days. I’ll be there, I understand, as a sort of respondent to the keynotes, Adam Greenfield and Ben Cerveny, offering some of our experiences in working at grassroots level – and I guess at policy level too – with geospatial systems, public authoring, sensor networks and doing general mischief.

Fabien has posted a list and bios of the workshop’s attendees, a very eclectic mix of doers and thinkers, here.

With Our Ears to The Ground

October 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

PostcarsV1F

Proboscis have been commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community and create an artists book/publication. With Our Ears to the Ground will focus on four very different types of community in order to get a broad range of opinions across the county: in Watford, Stevenage, rural North Hertfordshire and the commuter areas of Broxbourne. It focuses on finding out the reasons why people get on with each other and feel part of the community and is about developing a better understanding of our communities in order to help Hertfordshire County Council and its partners to plan their work supporting communities over the next few years.

So far we’ve met and worked with local residents  to explore what the word ‘community’ means to them, discuss personal experiences and perceptions and discover how best to overcome problems within the community. We have also been travelling in and observing the geography and human activity of the areas, visiting various public spaces and markets, malls, car parks, and countryside.  Some of the things we have noticed so far include:

– The impact of transport routes, industrial estates and other architecture- transport defines the community boundaries and defines how people have to travel to get in and out of a community.

–  The cultures of sharing in different communities, sharing of resources, goods, ideas, spaces, time.

– The cultures of listening and being able to talk that are so important in helping people feel they belong.

–  The impact of working lives and commuting that fragment traditional communities.

– Unsurprisingly friendliness has emerged as a key contributing factor in a strong sense of community

–  Questions have emerged about the definition of working class.  Working class is no longer as defined as it used to be what does working class mean now?

Arteleku: My Map is Not Your Map

September 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

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.

Sensing the Imperceptible

July 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The environment around us is a mass of sensory information, some of it easy to detect, playing on our visual, aural, olfactory, gustatory and tactile senses, while others are less perceptible – electro-magnetic radiation, hi-lo sound frequencies, infra-red light etc – and yet these imperceptible streams interact with us regularly as we go about our everyday lives.

Back in September 2008 Proboscis devised a one day workshop for Dislocate08 in Yokohama, Japan to “engage artists, urbanists, designers, technologists, musicians and dancers in an active investigation into the sensorial patterns and rhythms to be found in our environment”. The workshop was one of our first research activities for Sensory Threads, which we hoped would inspire some critical reflection on the project’s aim to create a playful instrument for exploring imperceptible phenomena in the world around – translating them into sound and touch.

The ‘foreigness’ of Japan to the team of 3 who went to run the workshop (Giles Lane, Karen Martin & Frederik Lesage) was an important consideration in deciding its location. We felt that such an unfamiliar place, people, culture and language might present interesting challenges that would mean we would have to be keenly aware of the environment all the time. Once there it reminded us how easily we become de-sensitised to our surroundings through habit and familiarity: the smells of places, air pressure, humidity etc. Those things which pervade us constantly so that we rarely notice them, except when they change or are absent. In Japan we noticed the extraordinary cultural emphasis on paying attention to the details, the small pleasures and experiences of everyday life, which appears to be preserved in mainstream culture and society there through rituals, practice and patience at so many levels, from seasonal food to street decorations.

Returning to London and discussing the event and our experiences in Japan with the rest of the Sensory Threads team it helped shape our conception of the soundscape that the wearables would create – that it would be designed to act as a means of alerting the wearers to subtle changes in ourselves and the environment so that they could experience a sensitivity to their relationship with it. The choice of sensors would be ones that could be tuned just beyond or at the fringes of human perception, giving us a new means of ‘listening’ to the world and how we are part of it – acting with and acted on. The Rumbler too was shaped by these considerations – making imperceptible phenomena tangible through the media of touch, translating sensor data into vibration as well as sound.

Taking the project forward after our prototype demo at the Dana Centre last month, we plan to explore new levels of participatory and collective sensing, richer sonification and making tangible souvenirs for participants more seamless with the experience.

Sutton Feast Week: exhibition & events

June 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

SGpostcard3

We are preparing to head off this week to Sutton-in-the-Isle to exhibit our work on Sutton Grapevine at the annual Sutton Feast. There will be a display in St Andrews Church from Wednesday to Sunday and over Friday and Saturday we will be joining various Feast Events to show people the Grapevine and hopefully inspire them to add their own stories. Having spent a week in Sutton in June we have gathered a huge range of stories and audio which are now being edited and podcast on the Grapevine. We’ve gathered stories through interviews and chance encounters, meetings, attending clubs and groups, visiting events, working with the youth group, organising a BBQ, exploring the local area by bike, foot and car, through an exhibit in the Babylon Gallery Ely and through the website.

This week we will be at
Wed 1st – Fri 3rd July, 7pm – 11pm St Andrews Church (during Beer Festival)
Fri 3rd July, 2pm – 5pm St Andrews Church (free)
Sat 4th July, 10am – 12pm Tithe Sale, St Andrews Church (free)
Sat 4th July, 12pm – 3pm FOSS Annual Summer Fete, Sutton Primary School (free)
Sun 5th July, from 7.15pm St Andrews Church (during Last Night of the Proms)

Come and join us for a day in the Fens.

June 2009 newsletter

June 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

NOW & UPCOMING
New Website & Twitter
Proboscis is pleased to announce that we have a new website where we will be posting much more regular updates on projects as well as our creative process. We will continue sending occasional email newsletters, but in future we highly recommending bookmarking the news page or subscribing to the RSS feed.
http://proboscis.org.uk/news/
http://proboscis.org.uk/feed/rss/
http://twitter.com/proboscisstudio
Sutton Grapevine
Proboscis has been working this spring and summer in Sutton-in-the-Isle on Sutton Grapevine, a story sharing project which will be shown at Sutton Feast Week from the 1st – 5th July at St Andrews Church and around the village. We’ve been exploring various different on and offline processes around local storytelling. We roved around the village gathering and recording stories – both past, present and future; hanging out at the community shop, visiting local clubs and individuals, hosting a storytelling barbecue and a workshop with young people.
http://suttongrapevine.org
http://twitter.com/suttongrapevine
Sensory Threads : demo at Dana Centre 23/06/09 & National Physics Lab 02/07/09
We will be giving the first public demo of our Sensory Threads prototype at the Dana Centre on Tuesday June 23rd. The event, Surface Tension, is free to attend (no booking required). Sensory Threads is a new experiment in mobile participatory sensing and sonification – making imperceptible things in our environments tangible and tactile.
http://proboscis.org.uk/1207/dana-centre-demo/
We will also be demoing ST at the National Physical Laboratory on Tuesday July 2nd as part of the Wireless Sensing Showcase 2009:
http://www.wisig.org/showcase2009
Artemov, Mobilefest and Arteleku
Proboscis has been invited to participate in several festivals and workshops this year – from Mobilefest in Sao Paolo (Brasil) and at the ‘Your Map is Not My Map’ workshop at Arteleku, San Sebastian (Spain) in September, to the Artemov festival in Belo Horizonte (Brasil) in November.
http://www.mobilefest.org
http://www.artemov.net
http://www.arteleku.net
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RECENT ACTIVITIES
New Cultural Snapshot: Cultivating Research
Sarah Thelwall’s Troubadour Study for the Creator Research Cluster, “Cultivating Research : articulating value in arts and academic collaborations” is now available to download:
http://proboscis.org.uk/1245/cultural-snapshot-16/
Jump In Workshop, The Rookery, London
Proboscis, Sarah Thelwall and Tim Jon (Solar Associates) hosted a one day workshop with about 20 participants from small arts organisations exploring possible routes to, and reasons for, acquiring Independent Research Organisation status. The workshop was the final activity of the Creator Research Cluster (funded by the EPSRC as part of the Digital Economy programme), of which Proboscis was a founder member
http://proboscis.org.uk/1005/jump-in-workshop/
Being in Common : Catalogue of Ideas
Proboscis has published a special artists bookwork to accompany our Being in Common commission for Gunpowder Park. The catalogue, a deck of cards, is a playful exploration of ‘common space’ drawing together fragments and ideas from across the project, to be played with, read individually or assembled into narratives and stories making unexpected connections and perspectives. The catalogue is available to buy for £10 (inc. shipping) from our online shop.
http://proboscis.org.uk/987/catalogue-of-ideas/
StoryCube prices 25% lower than 2008
StoryCube packs are now an average 25% lower than in 2008 – making them an even more delectable a tool for workshops and storytelling projects:
http://proboscis.org.uk/store.html#storycubes
Diffusion Generator – update on progress
As part of our Technology Strategy Board Feasibility Study, we have completely re-engineered the Diffusion Generator. Thanks to our development team (technical advisor Stefan Kueppers and coders Simon Whiteside & Yasir Assam) the new Generator supports offline content creation; landscape as well as portrait eBooks; both long and short edge version of the Diffusion eBook binding; double and single sided StoryCubes; multiple languages (including many non-Roman alphabets); right-to-left languages (Arabic etc); and can accept CSS-styled XHTML as content. We are building a new website to access it this summer and hope to invite individuals and organisations to test it out as the year progresses. Please contact us for more details.
http://diffusion.org.uk/?page_id=4
Paralelo, Sao Paulo, Brasil
Proboscis took part in the Paralelo event hosted by the British Council Brasil, MIS-Museum of Image and Sound and Centro Cultural de Sao Paulo. We helped with the event facilitation, running two social mapping workshops and designing a special Paralelo Diffusion eNotebook for participants to capture and share ideas, reflections and information.
http://paralelo.wikidot.com/
New Diffusion Titles
Dope smuggling, LSD, organised crime & the law in 1960s London by Stewart Home – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1205
The 36 Stratagems by anonymous – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1192
Would be Disciplined by Tony White – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1178
iStreetLab by mongrelStreet – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1148
Dodolab StoryCube by Giles Lane – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1118
Hard Hearted Hannah: Classics from Nowhere by Cartoon de Salvo – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1104
Hard Hearted Hannah: the world of the Strange and Bizarre by Cartoon de Salvo – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1107
On The Death Of Julia Callan-Thompson by Stewart Home – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1083
H2O by Alejandra Canales, Anne Ransquin and Juan F. Salazar – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1070
The Anatomy of the Horse by George Stubbs – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1062
Measure Once, Cut Twice : a case study of Snout by Frederik Lesage – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1054
Bourriaud’s ‘Altermodern’ – an eclectic mix of bullshit and bad taste by Stewart Home – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1049
Tweetomes : some epithets on practices of pithy exchange by Giles Lane – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1025
The minimal compact by Adam Greenfield – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1012
The Tongue Conceals Time by Shae Davidson – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1000
Click This? MySpace & the Pornography of Corporately Controlled Virtual Life by Stewart Home – http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=993

NOW & UPCOMING

New Website & Twitter
Proboscis is pleased to announce that we have a new website where we will be posting much more regular updates on projects as well as our creative process. We will continue sending occasional email newsletters, but in future we recommend bookmarking the news page or subscribing to the RSS feed.
http://proboscis.org.uk/news/
http://proboscis.org.uk/feed/rss/
http://twitter.com/proboscisstudio

Sutton Grapevine
Proboscis has been working this spring and summer in Sutton-in-the-Isle on Sutton Grapevine, a story sharing project which will be shown at Sutton Feast Week from the 1st – 5th July at St Andrews Church and around the village. We’ve been exploring various different on and offline processes around local storytelling. We roved around the village gathering and recording stories – both past, present and future; hanging out at the community shop, visiting local clubs and individuals, hosting a storytelling barbecue and a workshop with young people.
http://suttongrapevine.org
http://twitter.com/suttongrapevine

Sensory Threads : demo at Dana Centre 23/06/09 & National Physical Lab 02/07/09
We will be giving the first public demo of our Sensory Threads prototype at the Dana Centre on Tuesday June 23rd. The event, Surface Tension, is free to attend (no booking required). Sensory Threads is a new experiment in mobile participatory sensing and sonification – making imperceptible things in our environments tangible and tactile.
http://proboscis.org.uk/1207/dana-centre-demo/

We will also be demoing ST at the National Physical Laboratory on Tuesday July 2nd as part of the Wireless Sensing Showcase 2009:
http://www.wisig.org/showcase2009

Artemov, Mobilefest and Arteleku
Proboscis has been invited to participate in several festivals and workshops this year – from Mobilefest in Sao Paolo (Brasil) and at the ‘Your Map is Not My Map’ workshop at Arteleku, San Sebastian (Spain) in September, to the Artemov festival in Belo Horizonte (Brasil) in November.
http://www.mobilefest.org
http://www.artemov.net
http://www.arteleku.net

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RECENT ACTIVITIES

New Cultural Snapshot: Cultivating Research
Sarah Thelwall’s Troubadour Study for the Creator Research Cluster, “Cultivating Research : articulating value in arts and academic collaborations” is now available to download:
http://proboscis.org.uk/1245/cultural-snapshot-16/

Jump In Workshop, The Rookery, London
Proboscis, Sarah Thelwall and Tim Jon (Solar Associates) hosted a one day workshop with about 20 participants from small arts organisations exploring possible routes to, and reasons for, acquiring Independent Research Organisation status. The workshop was the final activity of the Creator Research Cluster (funded by the EPSRC as part of the Digital Economy programme), of which Proboscis was a founder member
http://proboscis.org.uk/1005/jump-in-workshop/

Being in Common : Catalogue of Ideas
Proboscis has published a special artists bookwork to accompany our Being in Common commission for Gunpowder Park. The catalogue, a deck of cards, is a playful exploration of ‘common space’ drawing together fragments and ideas from across the project, to be played with, read individually or assembled into narratives and stories making unexpected connections and perspectives. The catalogue is available to buy for £10 (inc. shipping) from our online shop.
http://proboscis.org.uk/987/catalogue-of-ideas/

StoryCube prices 25% lower than 2008
StoryCube packs are now an average 25% lower than in 2008 – making them an even more delectable a tool for workshops and storytelling projects:
http://proboscis.org.uk/store.html#storycubes

Diffusion Generator – update on progress
As part of our Technology Strategy Board Feasibility Study, we have completely re-engineered the Diffusion Generator. Thanks to our development team (technical advisor Stefan Kueppers and coders Simon Whiteside & Yasir Assam) the new Generator supports offline content creation; landscape as well as portrait eBooks; both long and short edge version of the Diffusion eBook binding; double and single sided StoryCubes; multiple languages (including many non-Roman alphabets); right-to-left languages (Arabic etc); and can accept CSS-styled XHTML as content. We are building a new website to access it this summer and hope to invite individuals and organisations to test it out as the year progresses. Please contact us for more details.
http://diffusion.org.uk/?page_id=4

Paralelo, Sao Paulo, Brasil
Proboscis took part in the Paralelo event hosted by the British Council Brasil, MIS-Museum of Image and Sound and Centro Cultural de Sao Paulo. We helped with the event facilitation, running two social mapping workshops and designing a special Paralelo Diffusion eNotebook for participants to capture and share ideas, reflections and information.
http://paralelo.wikidot.com/

New Diffusion Titles
Dope smuggling, LSD, organised crime & the law in 1960s London by Stewart Homehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1205
The 36 Stratagems by anonymoushttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1192
Would be Disciplined by Tony Whitehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1178
iStreetLab by mongrelStreethttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1148
Dodolab StoryCube by Giles Lanehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1118
Hard Hearted Hannah: Classics from Nowhere by Cartoon de Salvohttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1104
Hard Hearted Hannah: the world of the Strange and Bizarre by Cartoon de Salvohttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1107
On The Death Of Julia Callan-Thompson by Stewart Homehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1083
H2O by Alejandra Canales, Anne Ransquin and Juan F. Salazar http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1070
The Anatomy of the Horse by George Stubbshttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1062
Measure Once, Cut Twice : a case study of Snout by Frederik Lesagehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1054
Bourriaud’s ‘Altermodern’ – an eclectic mix of bullshit and bad taste by Stewart Homehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1049
Tweetomes : some epithets on practices of pithy exchange by Giles Lanehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1025
The minimal compact by Adam Greenfieldhttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1012
The Tongue Conceals Time by Shae Davidsonhttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1000
Click This? MySpace & the Pornography of Corporately Controlled Virtual Life by Stewart Homehttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=993

Sutton Grapevine

June 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

This week we are back in Sutton-in-the-Isle for Sutton Grapevine our  story gathering and sharing project commissioned by ADeC.

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.

Should you find yourself in the area please come and find us in Sutton to add a story to the Grapevine or  join in remotely.

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!

Poster sutton 3

Next Page »