Data Jam at Open Data Institute

Restless Futures Data JamThe hottest day of the year so far, the FA Cup Final and the Data Jam event at the Open Data Institute all coincided on 17 May 2014 in London. Enough has been written about Arsenal’s victory, so this post concentrates on the creative exploration of open data.

As part of Central Saint Martins’ Restless Futures programme, UAL’s Charlotte Webb organised a workshop with the ODI, for curious students and staff to collaboratively and creatively engage with the possibilities of open data. Continue reading

Architecture Configuration Movement: Surprising the system

The PATH in downtown Toronto

The PATH in downtown Toronto

This article aims to provide an overview of a project named ‘Configure PATH: surprise the system’, developed at the Interaction and Architectural Space workshop at CHI 2014. Written under the fug of jet-lag, and with memories already fading…here goes…

The intent of the two-day CHI workshop was to bring together multi-disciplinary expertise from architecture and human computer interaction to foreground the role of interactive technologies in spatial settings.  The group of five that developed the ‘Configure PATH’ project was led by the Mixed Reality Lab’s Holger Schnadelbach, and the Bartlett’s Tasos Varoudis – co-organisers of the workshop. Along with three other teams, we were asked to create an interactive intervention in a space near to the Toronto Convention Centre, which would then be presented and analysed with all participants. Continue reading

Online learning: mutuality and desire

 

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism, LCC

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, LCC


I was struck by the comment of Sarah Kante, a recent UAL graduate, who explained, “What really is missing in an online learning environment are the creative physical environments, the people we meet, and of course, the technicians we all rely on so much.” Coincidentally, the previous evening I had read an interview with CSM technical specialist Billy Dickinson who, when asked about his biggest creative inspiration, replied “The students. It’s inspiring to be constantly surrounded by new ideas and be challenged to support them in finding different ways to realise their visions.”  Whilst not wishing to provide a schmaltzy article about an apparent love-in between students and technicians, I do want to highlight how important these reciprocal creative and respectful relationships are, and how vital they are to a successful and socially constructed art and design Higher Education (HE) experience.

Yes, the calibre and commitment of CSM’s technical staff is impressive; they are as good as it gets. But what I want to take for a wander in this post is the concept of mutuality – the active role of the social situation in the spatial context. However, the focus will be the virtual learning environment, i.e. the digital space, so I’m going to shift attention from the emotional creative relationships in the 3D workshop space, and ponder whether the form of social solidarity that Sarah and Billy expressed can be fostered and sustained in an online art and design learning environment. Continue reading

Digital literacy: alternative virtual learning environments

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

In order to continue the exploration of digital literacy within an art and design HE setting, this post focuses on online distance learning. In particular it mulls over alternative perspectives and seeks fresh ‘ways-in’ that may help to adjust our collective e-Learning spectacles.  As such, it is hoped that a stroll around virtual learning environments (VLEs), and alternative online environments, will prove useful. Desire and virtual communities are the conceptual areas framing this swift adventure. So, one question might be ‘are there valuable insights to be gleaned from alternative virtual spaces that could influence the ways we provide for students online at Central Saint Martins?’ Continue reading

Considering ‘university futures’: post one, of many…

Punch: Sky Signs of the Times: 6 Sept 1890.

Punch: Sky-signs of the Times: 6 Sept 1890.

Considering the current radical disruptions, eg economic, socio-technical and environmental, when imagining the future university do we assume a continuity between the past, present and future, or is our present so disturbed or ‘messy’ that we should reframe entirely? What are the set of assumptions that we might use to explore the future university, and what are the core questions for higher education? And, as this blog explores digital literacy, what are the implications for future ‘digital pedagogies’? It is within the realm of the digital that this article is located. Continue reading

Disruption: art and design higher education futures

Neocraft_Humanising-the-machine-by-Frances-Norris_01Bower and Christensen came up with the term ‘disruptive technologies’ in their Harvard Business Review article, ‘Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave’ (1995: 43-53). Disruptive technologies can be viewed as early stage catalysts for change, and fundamentally destabilising of an existing equilibrium – be it a method, technology or product. Today, one such technology heralded as being disruptive is 3D printing*, or 3D manufacturing. In part, what is considered disruptive depends on its context and the scale or type of change; let’s remind ourselves that humanity has a long history of technologies causing radical global change (e.g. wheel, steam engine, Jacquard Loom, Gutenberg printing press, internet).  Whilst 3D manufacturing has yet to happen to any form of impactful scale, and indeed may not do so, its very concept allows us to imagine the implications of post-industrial manufacturing for the ways we might wish to develop future Art and Design higher education (HE). Central Saint Martins’ students are already creating possible scenarios, by connecting the present and the future. Continue reading

Physical and digital learning spaces

CSM clear dayA criticism of personal digital technologies is that they can distract students in class. However, as the statements below illustrate, physical settings can also be awash with distractions that hinder learning and teaching. With Art and Design higher education institutions facing increasing demands on their physical spaces, it’s worthwhile asking ourselves whether the very technologies we criticise might actually enable new models of learning and teaching, and provide better environments online than some of the physical locations we are using at present. Continue reading

Emerging digital-materiality workshop

bm door carvingWhat constitutes digital literacy depends on the setting. Within an arts and design institution whose students and staff are largely engaged in artefactual critique, understanding the interplay between digital and materials – and the synthesis of these seemingly different worlds – should be seen as an aspect of digital literacy. Continue reading

Kenyan artists and designers: Digital aspirations

Kenya, group exploration of digital technologies

Kenya: group exploration of digital technologies

Having recently spent an intense and rewarding time exploring the relationships between artists/designers and digital technologies in Nairobi, Jo Morrison was struck by the similarities between their experiences and those of students at Central Saint Martins. Continue reading

MOOCs: Daphne Koller of Coursera shares insights

Grab from Coursera site

“2012 was the year of the MOOC” claimed Coursera co-founder and Professor of Computing at Stanford Universtiy, Daphne Koller. This week at BETT she shared an avalanche of stats about massive open online courses (MOOCs), and provided insights into the Coursera platform specifically.

As of 29th January two and a half million people had signed-up to take one of Coursera’s 215 courses; 28% of the student body is from Europe and 35% from North America. Continue reading