danceroom Spectroscopy shines at national Engage Competition

Issue date: 03 July 2014

(L-R) Philip Tew and Dr Tom Mitchell at NCCPE awards with presenter Professor Alice

danceroomSpectroscopy(dS) has picked up its 6th award after it was voted 'Best Established Project' at this year's National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement's national Engage Competition.

The cutting edge, interactive public engagement project, invites members of the general public to literally step into an interactive atomic simulation. Using sophisticated motion capture techniques, participants are able to manipulate and generate sound and image to provide an imaginative introduction to otherwise intimidating scientific ideas.

Finalists for the competition were selected from over 230 applications, covering a diversity of subjects. From exploring the universe to understanding the atomic world; from representations of childhood to supporting innovation in early years' learning – the projects submitted aimed to promote a broad range of high quality activity, whilst inspiring and involving public audiences.

The Engage competition judges were impressed by danceroom Spectroscopy's ability to drive new research through public engagement, its effectiveness in helping researchers think differently, and the continuous evaluation of the work by the team behind the project, helping to push dS in new directions.

dS collaborator Dr Tom Mitchell, lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Creative Technologies at UWE Bristol, attended the awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum. He says, “The project brings together rigorous science, music, dance and visual art and I believe that it is the elegant integration of these disciplines that has led to its success. In addition to the immediate impact of the audio and visual elements, dS offers a unique and subtle glimpse into the invisible atomic world which forms the fabric of nature. It has been an absolute privilege to work with such an outstanding team, to create a truly unique and experimental artistic experience.”

Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham, says, "These awards are about recognising outstanding public engagement that is going on in our universities, carried out by both staff and students. It's important to celebrate these achievements, to recognise and reward those who are making a real impact."

danceroom Spectroscopy was developed at the Pervasive Media Studio based in the Watershed,Bristol. Led by Dr David Glowacki, a Royal Society Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, it has resulted from the collaborative effort of a talented multi-disciplinary team, comprising Dr Thomas Mitchell (UWE Bristol), digital artist Phill Tew, and Professor Joseph Hyde at Bath Spa University. The project has been supported by a number of partners, including EPSRC, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, NVIDIA, Arts Council England, the University of the West of England (UWE), Stanford University, the University of Bristol,Bath Spa University and the Watershed.

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