Chloe Meineck updates on her Music Memory Box project
Before the Crafts Council and Watershed’s ‘Craft and Technology Residency’, I was struggling with unemployment and trying to develop my ideas from university with little support and no money. The three-month Craft and Technology Residency really did act as a launch pad onto further opportunities. My time in Falmouth University within the Academy for Innovation and Research developing the Music Memory Box project, for people with dementia, really was a fantastic time. To use the universities workshops, to work with people with dementia in care homes and to be amongst craft practitioners delving into digital technologies was a unique experience. It was an introduction into the type of work I love doing and learning about and the other residents, Heidi and Patrick have become good friends and inspirations to me.
Since the first residency I have been Designer in Residence at the Design Museum where I carried on developing my work and had a four month exhibition at the museum, I have entered and won startup competitions, had offers of investment, relocated to Bristol to work in the Pervasive Media Studio, won the Blueprint Award for Design 2014 and most recently was in Japan as part of British Council’s Elevate Fellowship reimagining play with 11 other creative innovators from across the UK and Asia. It has been a whirlwind of success and some failures, and I’m so thankful for the Craft and Technology residency that started it all.
I am settled now in the Pervasive Media Studio in Watershed in Bristol, which feels very much like home. My practice seems to be very interdisciplinary, I love using co-design workshops, making in a workshop, tinkering with bits and pieces of electronics and also love pitching and striving to develop better - more informed business plans for my ideas.
Most recently I have been developing a new product for children called trove. This project was part of a four-month research and development programme run by REACT’s play sandbox scheme and is collaboration between Dr. Debbie Watson from University of Bristol and myself. We have been working with 7-12 year olds, children in care, adopted children, social workers, adopters and Coram (the UK’s largest adoption agency and charity) to develop ideas addressing issues with life story work. The idea makes use of my experience with RFID systems (radio frequency identification) and use of Debbie’s extensive research into life story work to hopefully create something to help support a child with their sense of their identity using recorded stories triggered by objects to achieve this. Here is a blog about the development of trove: http://www.react-hub.org.uk/playsandbox/projects/2014/trove/
I took a prototype of trove to Japan on the British Council Elevate Fellowship. This was a fantastic opportunity for me and it has really helped me work out where I want to head with my work. I want to create a globally facing design studio that specialises in design for social change, using an interdisciplinary approach, craft, co-design and interactive technologies.
Although I still have a long way to go to get my first product, Music Memory Box, into production, I am reminded of what can be achieved by believing in your ideas and never giving up on them, and I cannot wait for the first batches of Music Memory Boxes to go out to people with dementia and their families.
Chloe was one of three makers who took part in a series of Craft + Tech residencies developed by the Crafts Council and Watershed in 2013.