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Craig Vear’s Digital Opera (York) | Training at Shishuvan (Mumbai)

The Digital Identities in Interesting Spaces project has been running for close to eight months. The first round of commissions and activities are now complete and new ones are about to begin. This is a fairly exciting period as the scope of activities is widening in scale and participation. This post provides a brief snapshot of the work carried out so far. I have also outlined plans for the next quarter.

1- About the project

Technology should facilitate meaningful relationships and development of the individual. The objective is to embed critical reflection at the heart of our interaction with the www and social networks. The project has two strands -

  • To work in close partnership with organisations to deliver seminars and workshops to practitioners from the voluntary, education, healthcare and creative sectors.
  • To develop digital strategies that facilitate enterprise development, sustainable operation and audience engagement within the target sectors.

2- Milestones:

  • Workshops, seminars and hosts: Digital Identity seminars have or will shortly be delivered in London, Leicester, Manchester, York and Mumbai. Hosts/ Collaborators include – British Council, The Guardian, StarDotStar, The Mighty Creatives and The National Centre for Early Music. These sessions will cover 3 of the 4 target sectors.
  • Strategic Applications: The Digital Identity framework is being applied to develop audience engagement strategies for two projects funded by the Arts Council England. These are the Digital Opera and The Late Music Concerts.

3- Notable projects:

education – MUMBAI
Digital literacy workshops at Shishuvan School

Students at Shishuvan

An outreach trip in November 2011 supported by the British Council and UKTI culminated in a commission by Shishuvan School to develop and deliver digital engagement workshops for students, teachers and parents. The sessions were held in March 2012 over a period of 5 days and included the followed themes – Research Skills for Secondary School Students; Digital Communication Skills for Teachers and A Comprehensive Introduction to Social Media for Parents. One of the most exciting activities was the use of Facebook by students in the classroom to develop and answer research questions. 140 students, 60 teachers and 20 parents participated in the training.

creative – YORK
Audience engagement for a Digital Opera by Craig Vear

Actor Michael Lambourne against the backdrop of Tweets to the Digital Opera

Inspired by A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne (1768) Craig Vear developed an electroacoustic Digital Opera. The Digital Identity framework was applied to develop an audience engagement strategy over a period of 3 months. The strategy facilitated interaction between the actor and a virtual audience via Twitter during the live performance at York Theatre Royal. An audience from UK, Australia, Canada and the USA listened to the live stream and sent their #MomentsOfDistraction. The project was funded by Arts Council England.

voluntary – MANCHESTER
Digital communication skills workshop for WeMakeJam

Workshop with WeMakeJam’s co-design partners.

WeMakeJam is a platform for voluntary sector organisations to create and share content as a linear narrative. The Digital Identity framework has been applied to develop a training protocol for users to develop content for this platform. The objective is to enable participants to identify and articulate individual goals through a process of critical reflection and to express these goals as conversations by creating content for WeMakeJam. This project is funded by Nominet.

4- Upcoming projects, events and ongoing conversations:
   voluntary education creative

The Guardian is hosting a series of workshops for schools, HE and charitable organisations between the 17-19 April. The National Centre for Early Music will host a series of Digital Identity workshops for culture, heritage and arts sector organisations between May 1-3. The series is being produced by Ben Pugh. I am also working with London based education consultancy Suklaa to organise Switched on Schools in 2012. This project will initially run in the UK and we hope to take it to other countries later in the year.

5- Would you like to collaborate? Please get in touch

Are you keen to encourage practitioners from the voluntary, education, healthcare and creative sectors to engage with the www and social media? Would you like to work together and host an event to encourage constructive digital engagement through critical reflection? Or would you like to develop strategies to promote enterprise, sustainability and engagement?

Contact Dr. Abhay Adhikari via email or Twitter @gopaldass

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Note of thanks:
The project thrives as a consequence of conversations on Twitter and offline. Thank you for your patience – Ermintrude2, Esko Reinikainen, Ben Pugh, Catriona Mcauly, Helen Harrop, John Popham, Josie Fraser, Katie Bell, Neha Chheda & Chintan Girish Modi (Shishuvan School), Ruchira Ghosh (British Council), Haidee Bell (NESTA), Kate Fox (StarDotStar), Kate Pettitt (Bivouac), Bridget McKenzie (Flow Associates), Kristian Tapaninaho, Darina Garland & Claudia Barwell (Suklaa), Louise Brown & Gemma Brady (Channel 4), Charmian Walker-Smith, Gaby Disandolo & Eliza Anyangwe (The Guardian), John Arundel & Ailsa Brown (NYBEP), Stella Wisdom & Maureen Pennock (British Library).

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