Pervasive Media Studio celebrates 10 years

Issue date: 16 February 2018


Bristol's Pervasive Media Studio, a creative space at Watershed that hosts artists, creative companies, technologists and academics exploring experience design and creative technology, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary on Saturday 17 February. Members of the public of all ages are invited to visit the Studio to explore some of the projects created by its residents.

The research and development space is a collaboration between Watershed, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). Over the past decade it has been involved in ground-breaking research projects with UWE Bristol.

Between 2012 and 2016 Professor Jon Dovey led its REACT Hub, a four-year project based at the Studio dedicated to bringing together academic research and business. During that time REACT supported 53 collaborative projects involving researchers from the arts and humanities with creative businesses to make new prototype products or services.

One of the products developed within the REACT project is Mekamon, a four-legged spider connected robot that has Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities. The robot, which is now available in Apple stores across the UK as well as online, was created by UWE Bristol alumnus Silas Adekunle of Reach Robotics in collaboration with UWE Bristol researchers.

On Saturday visitors to the Studio will be able to see and play with Mekamon, and discover a number of other projects developed through the Studio, including Ambient Literature.

This two-year Arts and Humanities Research project involves a collaboration between artists and writers, who are exploring how new location-aware technologies – such as mobile telephones, GPS and portable Wi-Fi devices – can be used to help tell a story differently. The objective of the project is to invent a new literary genre in which pervasive technology delivers story and experience.

Dr Tom Abba, UWE Bristol Co-Investigator on the project said, “This project combines academic research with publicly-tested commissions to see how we can shape storytelling in a networked, digital age.”

One of the artists producing new work within the Ambient Literature team is UWE Bristol PhD candidate Duncan Speakman. Among the projects on display this Saturday will be his latest work and the Bristol premiere of Conversation #7, a collaboration with Tineke De Meyer that uses music, text, sound and the audience to create a playful storytelling experience.

Visitors to the Studio on Saturday can also explore interactive textiles and wearable technologies. UWE lecturer Becca Rose and alumna Annie Lywood of eStitches will be on hand to help visitors make their own hat, mask, necklace or party decorations and incorporate LEDs into the design.

UWE Bristol's Digital Cultures Research Centre is based at the Pervasive Media Studio. Mandy Rose, Director of the Centre, said, “I'm not sure that anyone could have foreseen just how fruitful the collaborative environment of the Pervasive Media Studio would be. Researchers, artists and engineers rub shoulders here every day and the exchanges between us help identify new avenues for research.

“As new creative technologies emerge, the Studio provides a unique test-bed for their creative potential and a place to question their social implications and meanings. We're delighted to be celebrating the 10th birthday with our partners Watershed and the University of Bristol.”

For more information about the Pervasive Media Studio's free 10th anniversary event click here.

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