Smartphone: intimate, incidental, and indispensible

FaceTime on the 76 bus to Kings Cross

Personal mobile devices provide immediate location independent access to information, and are used as powerful creative tools by arts and design students at Central Saint Martins. The relationships that they have with their smartphones are evolving and multifaceted, yet at the same time students often perceive this mobile device as a mundane object, failing to acknowledge the many roles it plays in their lives. Smartphones are central to the ways in which many students are navigating their daily experience, eg waking up to the Marimba ringtone, international video-conferencing on the bus, and using any number of mobile apps to consider physical space. The smartphone appears to be an endlessly pliable technology that has glided into, and altered, our social and cultural processes. Continue reading

Smartphones: ‘connecting to the rest of the world’

Illustration: technology and imagination

Much is reported of the staggering adoption of mobile technologies worldwide. In particular the smartphone is influencing our behaviours in all manner of ways, and for many university students it has become an essential part of their everyday lives. These personal and portable devices are now inextricably involved in how we experience the world.

As educators, how could we, or should we, view smartphones within an arts and design context? Are they extensions of the studio, a form of prosthetic that alters our body schema, or a distraction that renders actions invisible and disturbs continuity and flow?

As part of a study into the ways in which personal digital technologies are incorporated into arts and design education, a second year cohort of CSM undergraduate students has provided insights about their relationship with smartphones.

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