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Launch of AHRC Knowledge Exchange Hub celebrates the 'Digital Public Space'

Date: 16/05/2012

A new online artwork produced for the London 2012 Festival is offering people the opportunity to see what is being said and felt about a sporting event at the moment of triumph or despair thanks to the way it visualises the online digital interactions, such as twitter, as they happen in what is known as the Digital Public Space.

Everybody who uses twitter or an online app on their mobile phone is already a part of the Digital Public Space, where online information is shared worldwide.

This Digital Public Space and how it can be developed in the future is the focus of attention for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Knowledge Exchange Hub 'The Creative Exchange' which was launched on May 16th in Manchester. This £4m North West consortium is aimed at uniting innovative thinkers with the digital and creative industries to create new products and ways of working which will transform our world.

The online artwork is called Emoto and this new digital innovation will enable the feelings of the global audience to be mapped in a graphic visualisation showing the emotions that they are sharing at the precise second the winning goal is scored or a world record is broken this summer.

This FutureEverthing project being led by Dr Drew Hemment of the Creative Exchange is an example of the type of exciting project that will come out of the Digital Public Space, where anyone, anywhere, anytime can access, explore and create with digital content.

Increasingly collections of films, photos, all the fabulous content and information locked away in our museums, galleries and broadcasters are digitised, as is public information, and user-generated content. This is a vast resource from which we will all benefit.

Speaking about the Emoto project Drew said: 'This will change the way people view sporting events by presenting real-time information on the online global response and conversation in parallel to that instant. People will typically view the project on their laptop while the TV is on, or in bars the online effect will be shown on a large screen next to the TV.'

It will create a social experience for people watching at home, who will be able to sense the excitement as if they were in the stadium. Only the stadium is the global audience tuned in to London 2012 and not just the 80,000 people in the stands.

The Creative Exchange itself is bringing together creative sector businesses and connecting them with digital designers, major corporations and leading researchers in the Arts and Humanities.

The aim is to create new products, experiences and business opportunities which empower people to explore the wealth of information online which is 'the digital public space'.

Current collaborators include the BBC and Media City, Microsoft, FutureEverything, Tate Liverpool and more than 30 creative and digital businesses.

Speakers at the launch event at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester yesterday included: Bill Thompson who works for the BBC on digital public space, one of the world's most influential graphic designers Neville Brody and Jo Twist of UK Interactive Entertainment.

The new concepts and prototypes which emerge from the work of The Creative Exchange will be tested with the public in real-life situations in March 2013.

Media contact: Jake Gilmore j.gilmore@ahrc.ac.uk Tel: 01793 41 6021

Editors Notes:

  • The Creative Exchange: Focused on MediaCityUK and its neighbouring economy, with field trials regionally and nationally The Creative Exchange will investigate The Digital Public Space and associated themes such as personalization, experience, participation, connectivity, narrative, and identity in relation to digital content. It brings together three design innovation labs at Lancaster, Newcastle and Royal College of Art and using innovative creativity techniques, it creates clusters of pioneering companies (large and small) and the best academics thinkers, working together to create new products, services, experiences and business opportunities in this 'experience economy'. The Creative Exchange is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
  • FutureEverything is an annual festival of art, music and ideas hosted in Manchester, UK. The festival is held over four days at various venues across the city and includes a conference that takes place at the Museum of Science and Industry. FutureEverything 2012 is held between 16-19 May.
  • Emoto - Visualising Global Emotion provides a real-time manifestation of the worldwide emotional response to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The online visualisation will launch on 26 July as part of London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad. The data sculpture will be presented at the North West?s closing celebration for London 2012, WE PLAY Expo from 7-9 September 2012 in Preston. Created by Moritz Stefaner, Drew Hemment, Studio NAND. A FutureEverything project with MIT Senseable City Lab for the Cultural Olympiad programme and London 2012 Festival. Supported by Datasift, co-sponsored by GE and funded by Arts Council England and WE PLAY/Legacy Trust UK.
  • Lancaster University is a member of the 1994 Group of smaller research intensive universities and is ranked highly for quality in major UK and international league tables. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise Lancaster emerged in the top band of UK Universities with a high proportion of its research rated 'world leading'. The latest league table, the Complete University Guide 2013, ranks Lancaster ninth in the country.
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each year the AHRC provides approximately £98 million from the UK Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from languages and law, archaeology and English literature to design and creative and performing arts. In any one year, the AHRC makes hundreds of research awards ranging from individual fellowships to major collaborative projects as well as over 1,100 studentship awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.
  • AHRC Knowledge Exchange (KE) Hubs in the Creative Economy: AHRC KE Hubs present a unique opportunity for Research Organisations already working in strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations to strengthen and diversify their collaborative research activities, build new partnerships in the creative economy and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange. Representing an investment by the AHRC of some £16m over four years (over £20m including the contribution from the universities themselves under FEC), the Hubs are charged with the task of building new partnerships and entrepreneurial capacity in the Creative Economy and increasing the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.

    This investment reflects the significant benefits that arts and humanities researchers bring to the creative businesses of the UK.

  • The four lead institutions are:
    University of Lancaster
    University of Dundee
    Queen Mary, University of London
    University of the West of England

  • Each is leading consortia that will include other universities, creative businesses, including SMEs, arts and culture organisations and other agencies.


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