Watershed launch digital residencies
Metabolic Sphere, 2009, London, Loop.pH Photo:Mathias Gmachl
Watershed announces a new scheme to enable contemporary craft makers to explore science and technology
Craft has always played an important role in society and culture worldwide, taking forms that can be challenging, beautiful, useful, tactile and extraordinary. But what could happen if there are more opportunities for contemporary makers to work with technologists? Watershed’s Craft + Technology Residencies will give three makers the chance to find out.
Over the past decade digital fabrication tools and communication technologies have been explored and utilised as craft tools and materials in their own right, producing some remarkable results. Today, new technologies embedded in real things can take these possibilities one step further – objects themselves can now tell stories, start meaningful conversations and foster new forms of economic, cultural and social relationships. The UK Government is currently investing heavily in this area of work, often referred to as the Internet of Things – supporting technology driven research that investigates how ‘physical things’ such as buildings, vehicles, objects and clothing with built in sensors and computer networks can communicate with users and with each other. However little opportunity has been given to makers to influence and invent the objects and interactions that will animate this arena. This development programme will embed three makers at the forefront of this research. Supported within three distinct collaborative environments in the South West of England – i-DAT, Autonomatic and Pervasive Media Studio – they will work with technologists, exchange skills and knowledge, and turn ideas and conversations into tangible prototypes.
Supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and delivered in collaboration with the Crafts Council, the scheme provides a safe environment for collaborative experimentation with new ideas. It is also a key funding opportunity for innovation by UK makers that has the potential to generate income for the British economy through the creation of radical new products and the injection of new processes into science and technology industries.
Clare Reddington, Director at Watershed, says “Digital making technologies are increasingly being used within contemporary craft. Watershed’s Craft + Technology Residencies will take these possibilities one step further, enabling makers to develop internet of things prototypes, reach new audiences and create new business opportunities. We’re delighted to work with the Crafts Council, i-DAT and Autonomatic to deliver this unique opportunity and look forward to experiencing the work created.”
Beatrice Mayfield, Maker Development Manager at the Crafts Council, says “This is a really exciting collaboration and a perfect complement to the Portfolio strand of our programme which enables makers to use their skills and knowledge in other sectors. It extends the line of enquiry started in 2011 with a collaborative workshop with Watershed and continued through the Assemble conference where the residencies are being launched.”
Craft + Technology Residencies will open for applications on 20th September 2012. Makers will receive research, development and production support for their projects. Residencies will last for three months, beginning in January 2013, culminating in a showcase event in late March.
To download a brief and application form please click here
For more information on Craft + Technology Residencies, interviews and hi res images please contact:
Catrin John | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0117 9275108
Supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, delivered in collaboration with the Crafts Council, and hosted by i-DAT within Plymouth University, the Autonomatic research group at University College Falmouth, and Bristol’s internationally renowned Pervasive Media Studio; Watershed’s Craft + Technology Residencies is a new development programme that enables makers to work with technologists on cutting edge projects.
More about the Partners:
Watershed & Pervasive Media Studio
Watershed is a cross-artform venue and producer, sharing, developing and showcasing exemplary cultural ideas and talent. Through curation of people, ideas and spaces, we enable artistic visions and creative collaborations to flourish and produce work that cuts across film, music, theatre, design, visual and applied art, and the creative and technology sectors. The Pervasive Media Studio is Watershed’s city-centre research lab that brings together a network of over 100 artists, technologists and academics to explore the future of mobile and wireless media. Run in partnership with the University of the West of England’s Digital Cultures Research Centre and the University of Bristol, the studio has a great workspace, an open ethos and a can-do attitude.
www.watershed.co.uk | www.pmstudio.co.uk
i-DAT, is a lab for creative research, experimentation and innovation across the fields of digital Art, Science and Technology, generating social, economic and cultural benefit. Located within the Faculty of Arts, Plymouth University, it has since 1998 been delivering a programme of activities pushing the boundaries of digital arts / creative media practise, instigating playful opportunities for research, production and collaboration and making technological innovations accessible to artistic talent and to audiences. One of i-DAT’s core aims is to demystify and democratise these processes, supporting a culture of innovation in the arts, enabled through digital technologies.
Autonomatic, University College Falmouth
Autonomatic are a research group based within University College Falmouth’s Academy of Innovation and Research (AIR), who explore the use of digital manufacturing technologies, in the creative process of designing and making three-dimensional objects. They are design practitioners with skills and experience in designing in ceramics, glass, plaster, and textiles amongst other mediums. As creative researchers they have a basic urge to invent new ways of making things that reflect, exploit and develop the communication capability of digital data, exploring bespoke, and individualistic production in a variety of material and cultural forms.
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK by funding the charitable activities of organisations that have the ideas and ability to achieve change for the better. The primary interests of the Foundation are the arts, education and learning, the environment and social change.