(6 Month Placement, Future Jobs Fund July 2010-January 2011)
It’s time to reflect on the past 6 months as the Future Jobs Fund placement has now come to an end, it really went by quickly! Other than the placement being too short, I can only think of the benefits I have gained with Proboscis during my time here.
It has been a great experience to explore more about the creative arts, with plenty of opportunities to utilise my artistic skills in all of the different stages of a creative process and exercising my knowledge with people of different backgrounds and experiences of their own.
I am also really grateful to Giles and Alice for their patience and teaching me many things ranging from local area knowledge to introducing artistic influences and techniques in hope that it would inspire me throughout the creative process of each project. With their kindness and constant guidance, they’ve become more of a mentor to me than simply my employers.
I also thank the New Deal of the Mind, firstly for organising this opportunity and providing scheduled sessions – The Goals Training programme, offering support and providing information about job hunting.
During the past 6 months I have been involved in various projects which include the storyboard eBook for Tangled Threads, then moving onto a project inspired by the Love Outdoor Play campaign with a full play set now known as Outside The Box. Once in a while I have assisted in the City As Material project and my more recent work is creating visual interpretations for Public Goods and designing eBooks to accompany the play sets for Outside The Box.
Outside The Box was a huge learning curve for me, I learnt many valuable lessons during the creative process. Firstly, how to manage my work flow better. The project became so much larger than anticipated that I found myself struggling with managing the workload, as I had tried to do too many things at once. Then there were elements on the actual product that I had learnt more about, such as decision making for a colour palette and how simplicity can convey ideas just as well as detailed illustrations. I believe there will be much more to learn from Outside The Box, as it will be going through the testing stage soon. I am excited and nervous to see what happens and I just hope that children will like and enjoy playing with them.
The biggest achievement whilst working on these projects was adapting. I was able to transfer many of my skills to fit each creative process but it was learning to think from a different perspective and presenting them in a innovative way which was the main challenge. The work flow and thought process also differed from my original training as a concept artist for games, as much of the work would follow a design brief closely, but with Proboscis it was very open and it possessed very little constraints making the possibilities endless.
I believe with all these achievements and lessons learnt, it will influence my work in future projects – the way I may approach ideas, deciding the colour palette, considering other ways to communicate my ideas across to reach a wider audience and to create art work that many can enjoy and appreciate.
This isn’t farewell! As I am very grateful for the opportunity to stay as part of the Proboscis team so I look forward to future projects and learning more about the creative arts, I’ll be posting about my work so make sure to visit!
At the beginning this year I started planning how we could begin to introduce bookleteer into education and learning contexts and programmes – not just in formal settings such as schools, colleges and universities, but also in other spaces and places where learning takes place : museums, community centres, libraries, archives and grassroots groups.
We began this journey with a Pitch Up & Publish workshop in February co-hosted by former teacher, writer and digital evangelist at TeachersTV, Kati Rynne which was aimed at teachers and creative people who work in education settings. Among the participants who took part was Ruth from Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination who have ended up creating around a dozen eBooks for workshops and projects they’ve been running with people of all age groups. Others have also used bookleteer in their own projects and for creating teaching and learning outcomes – workbooks, notebooks, documentation and course materials – and not just in English, but Hindi and Arabic so far too.
Our own City As Material event series has also outlined a simple model to bring a group of people together to explore an idea, place or theme and then collaboratively produce eBooks (you can follow the development of the series over at diffusion.org.uk). In these events we’ve shared lots of local knowledge and experience within the group of participants, and found creative ways to share and explore themes of common interest with other people. Its very much in the informal/non-formal learning space (one of the participants was Fred Garnett, a former policy advisor at Becta who’s written on and worked extensively in this area) and I think it suggests exciting ways in which hyper-local groups can come together to explore or pool knowledge and experience, capture and share it in a rapid and very easy way not only among themselves but with wider communities too.
More recently we’ve been joined by Education Assistant, Christina Wanambwa, on a 6-month placement whose role is to help extend and focus our efforts on working both in formal and informal learning. We’ve begun a collaboration with Soho Parish Primary School, where she’ll be spending 1 day a week from January til Easter – helping both teachers and students use bookleteer to create tangible outcomes from curriculum based projects. We’re also using this project to understand more about the specific needs of schools in using online platforms like bookleteer; potentially to build a separate schools version that suits the context of authoring and sharing by children and the need for oversight by staff around issues such as child protection.
Christina’s also begun a research and outreach project visiting other kinds of learning environments to see how bookleteer could be weaved into their existing education programmes to add value and fun. She’ll be publishing an eBook of ideas relating to each place she visits over the coming months, as well as posting about her research on the bookleteer blog. Her first post discusses a recent visit to the Museum of Childhood (download the eBook).
bookleteer is about helping people make and share beautiful publications of their own – whether they handmake the results or choose the PPOD professional printing service. We want to help people find new and dynamic ways to record and share the ideas, stories, knowledge and experiences they have – learning and exchanging things of value as they go. bookleteer has enormous potential to enable people to make and share things of their own, books and storycubes; things which they can share with people all around the world, without the problem of shipping physical objects. Hand-written eBooks can be scanned in and made available online in the same way as ‘born digital’ ones and can also be turned into professionally printed books too.
We’d love to hear from other people in education and learning contexts who see the potential of using bookleteer in their own work and play, want to try it out and share their ideas, experiences and templates with others. We’d like to see bookleteer evolve into more than just a tool – into a community of practitioners creating and sharing across many languages, geographies, interests and outcomes. In the new year we’ll be launching new functionality which will open it up even further. Watch this space.
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.
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.
We are very excited that bookleteer now offers a service for users to order their eBooks professionally printed and bound as A6 saddle-stitched books on high-quality 100% recycled paper in short runs of 50 copies or more. StoryCubes can also be printed on die-cut card in runs of 200 cubes or more.
We are making more test accounts available for people wanting to create their own eBooks and StoryCubes and try out the PPOD service – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an invite.
In the background to a lot of the work we all do at Proboscis is an underlying interest in the handmade and in particular in drawing. Many people know us for our work with technology but there is a strong undercurrent in our practice of drawing as part of design, illustration or installation.
The interest dates right back to Proboscis first project, Coil Journal of the Moving Image, which included drawing and illustration commissions by artists, film-makers and illustrators. I’ve begun a process of looking back on and gathering together images of work by us and the other artists we have worked with over the years and this is the first of a series of posts exploring the presence of drawing in our work.
Recently, for With Our Ears to the Ground Proboscis were commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community and create an artists book/publication. Orlagh and I spent several days driving around the County to run events and meet people but at the same time the journeys we took were important in our understanding of live in the county. As part of that I’ve been making the sketches that appear on this page and and on our flickr page to investigate the ideas of flow and movement of people in the county. Some of these appear in the final publication but for the most part the process was about gaining another level of understanding beyond the events, interviews and workshops we did.
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.
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).
Proboscis has recently been invited to join a tender bid to Urban Living and Birmingham City Council for the Sandwell Sense of Place project. The other partners are Rob Annable and Mike Menzies of axis design architects (who are leading the bid); Michael Kohn and Chris of YouCanPlan and Nick Booth of Podnosh. The sense of place project aims to devise a toolkit and archive using a variety of media and techniques for local residents to articulate their sense of place in two areas of Sandwell near Birmingham in the ‘Western Growth Corridor‘. This sense of place and its archive will form a key input into the regeneration masterplanning process.
As part of our interview we created a special Diffusion eBook outlining the team’s approach and illustrating some of our previous work.
In February 2008 Proboscis were resident with ICE (Information and Cultural Exchange) in Western Sydney, Australia. We collaborated with ICE and the British Council Australia to run a workshop and exchange labs over 3 weeks with a group of 15 creative practitioners from local communities. The project grew out of connections we made with ICE during the Coding Cultures project by d/Lux/MediaArts in Australia in 2007.
Through a series of intensive workshops, Proboscis explored approaches to creatively transforming cities and shared techniques with the Western Sydney artists, who in turn had the opportunity to develop projects. Members of the wider arts community participated in half-day Exchange Labs and a public symposium. Lattice addressed the ways culturally diverse communities engage with their environment and considered; what happens when people come to a city? What knowledge is lost, or gained? What are the impacts of emerging new identities on cities?
- The Lattice::Sydney film was made by participants in the workshop and features a playful model city built from any materials that came to hand, to manifest the ideas about ‘Creative City’ generated in the workshop.
- We also made Drawing Conclusions a short film of artists Matt Huynh and Tina Tran of Popperbox drawing conclusions from the Lattice forum.
- Lattice::Sydney project blog
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by Tak Tran
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by Tina Tran
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by Matt Huynh
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by David Capra
- Lattice::Sydney Unwrapped Diffusion eBook by Proboscis, ICE and Lattice Participants
- How to Find out What they Want Diffusion eBook by Matt Huynh, Todd Williams, Kasama Yamtree
Team: Alice Angus, Giles Lane & Orlagh Woods
Participants: David Capra, Ali Kadhim, Sanez Fatouhi and Amin Palagni, Ben Hoh, Tiffany Lee-Shoy, Fatima Mawas, Ben Nitiva, Matt Huynh, Tak Tran and Tina Tran of Popperbox, Denis Asif Sado, Trey Thomas, Maria Tran, Todd Williams and Kasama Yamtree.
Partners: ICE (Information & Communication Exchange)
Funded by the British Council as part of the Council’s Creative Cities East Asia initiative
with additional support from Foundation for Young Australians (Youth Digital Cultures Project) and support from the AMWU.