In 2011 Watershed, University of Bristol and UWE Bristol entered into an extended partnership to undertake collaborative creative technologies activities together. Through this partnership the Pervasive Media Studio creates unique opportunities around research, knowledge exchange, innovation, incubation and teaching. The partnership enables the linking of creative practice and leading edge research to pioneer innovative creative technologies, novel applications of digital media and socially engaged experimental digital and creative projects.
Researchers from the two universities work with Studio residents and local communities in an open innovation environment to explore and research ideas that can deliver new applications of creative technologies, new delivery channels, new content, new experiences and new business opportunities. The strength of the studio’s research lies in this eclectic mix of experience and perspectives within its projects.
Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC)
Creating a unique link between leading edge research and creative practice, the DCRC has been embedded at the Pervasive Media Studio since the centre’s launch in 2009. In a context of transforming media cultures, in which established methods of producing and understanding media are undergoing rapid change, we study the application, processes and politics of digital creative technologies. We map and contextualise emerging practices. We critically reflect on their aesthetics, ethics and impacts. Our research is informed by PM Studio themes and often undertaken in dialogue with Studio residents. The current research programme is built around the themes of Future Documentary, Playable Media, Creative Economy, and the Automation of Everyday Life.
DCRC projects include:
The Pervasive Media Cookbook emerged from a process of dialogue with creative practitioners in the studio network. The Cookbook is designed to inform and inspire students and designers who want an introduction to the emerging field of pervasive media in which context-aware devices deliver ‘the right media, in the right place, at the right time.’.
The AHRC funded Ambient Literature project asks what happens when the place where you're reading becomes the stage for the story. How might writing, reading and the idea of the book itself change when we use technology to design stories, rather than just present them?
These questions are at the heart of a two year research programme that will see the Universities of the West of England, Bath Spa and Birmingham investigate the emerging field of Ambient Literature; situated literary experiences, delivered by pervasive computing platforms, that respond to the presence of a reader to deliver story. Ambient Literature will see traditional academic research inform the development of three original stories, to be delivered in new, experiential forms.
DCRC Director Mandy Rose is UWE Bristol lead in the Studio partnership.
University of Bristol
Numerous research groups across the University of Bristol have worked with and within in the Pervasive Media Studio, united by a common interest in creative interdisciplinarity, co-production and critical making. In particular the work undertaken in the University's Brigstow Research Institute, which brings researchers from different disciplines together with a range of partners across the city and beyond to experiment in new ways of living and being, and the University's Bristol Interaction Group (BIG), which collaborates between social scientists, artists, scientists and engineers to create novel, efficient and aesthetic interaction designs, is often informed and evolved through dialogue and partnership with Studio residents..
University of Bristol projects include:
Magicians in residence. Watershed and the University of Bristol disrupted normal residency service to invite magicians Stuart Nolan and Kieron Kirkland to be based jointly within the Studio and the University's Bristol Interaction Graphics (BIG) group to explore creative ideas blending technology, interaction design, magic and illusion.
Tangible Memories funded by the AHRC brings together an interdisciplinary team through the University of Bristol and Pervasive Media Studio. The team includes digital artists and makers, learning researchers, computer scientists, social historians, older people themselves and their carers to co-produce a set of novel digital tools that addresses some of the key societal challenges concerning the care and well-being of older people. The project explores the way that tangible technologies might be developed in both historical research and in democratic community building. The main goal of the project is to help improve the quality of life for residents in care homes by building a sense of community and shared experience through a cooperative exploration of their life history stories.
Kirsten Cater, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, is University of Bristol lead in the Studio partnership.
REACT was a four year project, dedicated to getting academia and businesses working together. We connected researchers from the arts and humanities with creative businesses to make brilliant new prototype products or services.
Between 2012 and 2016, we supported a slate of innovative projects which responded to the changing world of business and society. This involved developing new systems and approaches to collaborative R&D, working with a dazzling range of creatives, businesses, researchers and experts.
REACT was a collaboration between UWE Bristol, Watershed, and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. We were one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)