Watershed has a bustling community of creatives, researchers and makers situated within the Pervasive Media Studio. Over the past few years we’ve also assembled an in-house research team who are tasked with steering our research strategy and facilitating our collaborations with various research partners in Bristol and the West of England, and internationally too. Creative technology and arts & culture lie at the heart of Pervasive Media Studio, with our Residents’ work happening at different intersections of these. All our areas of work have helped us land on three themes of interest that guide our research and collaborations, which are:  

1. How to develop more inclusive and responsible forms of innovation 

2. The impact of climate breakdown on the cultural industries- and conversely our responsibility within this sector towards climate justice 

3. Hybrid (digital and physical) products and experiences.  

You can find more detail about our research overview and three specific themes here.  

Very recently, in a friendly and fruitful conversation, our Exec Producer Jo Lansdowne reminded us about how easy it could be as a research team to give into the temptation to define ourselves by what we are not; the temptation understandably coming from the hierarchical nature of ‘research’ (and outputs and success metrics) as they are typically understood in an academic sense. We came out of this conversation with a renewed commitment to define our research team, community, and practice by what we indeed are: a highly skilled, caring, talented motley crew of individuals who bring an array of expertise, lived and learned experience to create, produce, test, iterate, learn, learn-by-failing, play, and foster relationships. And we are keen to start or reignite relationships, and identify possible areas of work overlap, within our very own studio community and with potential research collaborators in our audiences (both locally and internationally). 

An image of two arms, one robotic, one not, touching fingertips

Image Credit: Cottonbro

With the support of the studio team, the research team have planned a lunchtime talk takeover for the month of May. Across four consecutive Fridays, we’d like to (re)introduce ourselves and also extend the lunchtime talk platform to some of our research partners and people in our network whose work aligns with our research strategy.  

On the first of these Fridays, the research team will give a (hopefully) engaging talk about who we are, what we do, our approach to research, and how to work with us. Join us in the studio, or online, for this talk on Friday 6th May, 13:00-14:00 BST. You can find booking information for this talk here.  

Talks on subsequent Fridays will include Civic Square, Birmingham, sharing about building and investing in civic infrastructure for neighbourhoods of the future (Friday May 13th); Professors Danae Stanton Fraser and Iain Gilchrist discussing the range of methods available to measure audience response to performances (Friday May 20th), and; Participatory dramatist, Rik Lander, and Conversational AI designer, Phil D Hall, talking about their live show ‘I am Echoborg’ (Friday May 27th). 

Please come along, or tune in online. We can’t wait to meet you. 

Furaha, Vanessa, Tony, EmmaZoe and Rachael