Widening Participation Workshops

READING SCHOLARS 

ArtLab Workshops 9th & 10th July 2015

The Reading Scholars programme aims to give Year 12 students a real taste of life as a university undergraduate, and to provide practical support as participants begin their higher education application process. ArtLab presented an Art and Technology workshop for Reading Scholars to create an installation/performance which was recorded.

Through discussion and experimentation with technology and materials the scholars developed an artwork ideas based on books, films and artworks. 
Including Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World published in 1932, 
David Lynch’s Erasure Head from 1973, 
The Way Things Go (German: Der Lauf der Dinge) is a 1987 art film by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, 
Ridley Scotts Blade Runner from 1982 
The current television series Humans on Channel 4 which explores the emotional impact of the blurring of the lines between humans and machines. 










READING SCHOLARS FINAL PRESENTATIONS






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UNESCO INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF LIGHT ArtLab WORKSHOPS Friday 3rd July 2015

The International Year of Light is a global initiative which will highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society. It is a unique opportunity to inspire, educate, and connect on a global scale.

Light is the means by which human beings see themselves, each other, and their place in the Universe.

Light is an essential part of culture and art and is a unifying symbol for the world. An International Year of Light is the ideal instrument to ensure the necessary increased worldwide awareness of the central role of light in the present and in the future of us all. It will promote the presence of light in science and culture, and the importance of light-based technologies for the equitable development of global society. The project is not only about science, – light also touches on culture, history and education. Issues of sustainability and development are also of central importance.
University of Reading ArtLab Year of Light Workshop: 
LIGHT YEARS FROM THE RENAISSANCE & MODERNISM
The workshop gave GCSE students the opportunity to create an art an technology installation/performance using various technologies including projected light, electronics kits with LED's, and sound, based on the idea of discovering 20th Century paintings from light years away on the 3rd July 2215. The installation was recorded and a short video produced.


Young people from local Reading Schools were invited to create a collaborative installation consisting of 3 departments, Visuals, Narrative and Sound.

GROUP ONE creating visuals working with Overhead Projectors, littleBits electronics kits with LEDs and performance.







GROUP TWO creating a narrative based on the perspective of Light Years away from a Renaissance and Modernist painting found on some slides.




GROUP THREE creating sounds using littleBits Synthkits and a keyboards.




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UNESCO YEAR OF LIGHT WORKSHOP FINAL PRESENTATIONS









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JUNE AND JULY 2015 Art and Technology Workshops 

CREATURE IN A CUP WORKSHOPS 

Creature in a Cup

During summer term 2015 'Creature in a Cup’  workshops were held at local schools in the Reading area. Students were introduced to some basic technology using littleBits electronics kits as part of art-based workshops. Creatures were designed and built in groups, using paper cups, plastic bottles or other everyday recycled materials. The groups created a story for their animated creature and presented it as a performance that was recorded. The creatures were then taken apart and the littleBits collected ready for the next workshop. 

The aim of the workshops is twofold: to help students appreciate the role of art in understanding technology, and the role of technology in augmenting art.

Below documents the 'Creature in a Cup' workshops and presentations from 2015

St John's School

Tuesday 9th June 2015 NIGHTINGALES


Today we commenced our 'Creature in a Cup' workshops with a year 4 class (Nightingale) at St John's School in Reading . We started the day with a brief introduction of littleBits and how to assemble them, and then let the group experiment themselves to see what the could construct. The pictures below capture the first period before break when the group explored the capabilities of the littleBits modules.

Kate is being shown how to make a synthesizer create a draft using a fan ...

Daisy helps the students make sophisticated music making machines.

Matthew assists this group in building a sequencer-synthesizer. It was very noisy!

This table made quite  a lot of strange sounds ...

Another table and another assortment of strange sounds, assisted by Laura.


This table made sounds like a cricket ...


And this table made ... well, sounds very similar to those you might experience in a lavatory.

Some concentrated experimentation going on here.

I don't know what it is, but it looks complicated. Perhaps we'll just call it a synthesizermabob.
Just before morning break, the different tables demonstrated what they had found. Many had managed to combine triggers and synthesizers modules so that they could control the sounds with bend sensors, pressure sensors and light sensors:















Demonstrating how to change the pitch of sounds using a light sensor.

The class went on to start building their creatures, using bottles, paper cups and many different craft materials. here are some of them:

This one flaps its wings.


This creature has a name: 'Gary'. He is a blue shark who wiggles his tail.

Another picture of Gary the blue shark.


This creature moves along on wheels and spins it head round. It's a cross between a giraffe an a tiger.

Making the sounds for the creature.
This is a swimming jet-propelled farty creature. There's no other name for it.


A close up of the farty creature. They even created the sounds to go with it.

FINAL PERFORMANCES BY NIGHTINGALE CLASS







Wednesday 10th June 2015 PEACOCKS

We spent today with the Peacock class (Miss Cook) at St John's School:



After an introduction by Matthew and Laura, Daisy and Anna to show how the littlebits modules are used at the start of the workshop, the whole class experimented with the littleBits kit to see how to make simple synthesizers and motorised 'things' and generally get a feel for how to use littleBits in preparation for building their creatures. Here's a collection of images showing some of the work:




























And some videos of the things made during the first half of the morning:













After the morning break the creatures started taking shape:

I love this one - it's so surreal.

Surrealists at work ...


This is a stick mouse. A mouse on a stick.


Creating the props.

Matt hard at work helping his group to realise their vision.





Head on view of the Space Monkey.







I can't remember it's name, but it has lovely furry legs. A bit like a cat.

Back of the Space Monkey.

A side view of the 'Unicat' a cross between a cat and  unicorn.




The head in the process of being constructed.

Work in progress, but coming along nicely.


Finally, all of the groups show there work on a video session. the were some remarkable stories for their creatures.

First was the Hipporhinostricow (or whatever it was called)

A great narative


A close up of the creature with sound effects in the background.

The Space Monkey ...

Next was the Space Monkey




And three space angels ...


This looks a lot like a space lobster ...


The Unicat and the mouse ...

The Unicat trundles across the table trying to escape.

It flaps its wings and rolls along.

Almost ran off!


Fluffy the space cat ...

Where's Fluffy?

Oh. Here she is.



FINAL PERFORMANCES BY PEACOCK CLASS

DUCK CAT BIRD

CHEEKY MONKEY

THE LOST FIREFLY

UNI CAT

KITTY & THE DEVIL






Thursday 11th June 2015 PELICANS

Today we were with the Pelican class at St Johns School. After a brief introduction and demonstration of using littleBits we started by exploring how to use the littleBits and what each the modules could do. Many of the class chose to explore the synthesizer kits, so there was quite a lot of noise, and some very good sounds being produced. here are a few images of the first half of the morning when the class were exploring the bits:

Examining a servo  (used later in the 'Crocosnake')

Experimenting with sounds

More expeimentation ...

Loo, we can makethis howling sound ...

More sound experimentation

Some more servo work

A four wheeled vehicle that moves when you clap

Bend sensor powered synth

Exploring possibilities using a fan

I don't know what sound this is but it sound good.

The second part of the workshop was used to build the creature using available craft materials. Here's a few images of the work in progress (more to come):

Work in progress - the 'Crocosnake'





The class spent one hour after lunch finishing their creatures and then presented them to the rest of the class:




You need three arms to operate this creature ...

There you go!

That mouth really worked and made a crunching sound!

Another creature with a working mouth. I think it looks like a robo-cow.






The crocosnake gets tired ...

... and falls over.



Another snake like creature, with some amazing sound effects.


Creators of the crocosnake




Ready?

Get set ...

Jump!

FINAL PERFORMANCES OF PELICAN CLASS


CROCOTIGER

BILLY THE CROCODILE

ZEBRA DISCO

SILLYFACED CROCFACESNAKE

Friday 12th June SWALLOWS

Our final day with middle school at St John's this week was with Miss Leach's a year 3 class called Swallow. They were very eager to get started and so we kept the introduction short. In line with the other classes this week, we started by introducing ourselves, and gave a quick demonstration of the littelBits kit and then the class spent up until their morning break experimenting with the modules:


First two pictures show a group of six experimenting with the littleBits.

Making a basic four wheeled vehicle

Powering it ...

And making sure it doesn't fall off the table.


Experimenting with the synth kits.

More synth experimentation (the synth kits were very popular)




After the morning break, it was time to start building the creatures. This continued until 14.00.

Creating a pair of wings for a flying dog (Spot)


The flying dog with a wagging tail.

Each of the groups made up a story for their creature and gave a presentation to the rest of the class which we filmed (to be added).












FINAL PERFORMANCES OF SWALLOW CLASS

PRINCESS REBECCA’S CAT & DOG

CROCOCATLIONBEETLE

SPIDER SWALLOW

JACOB & MR INVINCIBLE




Monday 15th June 2015 OWLS

This week we started with the year 5/6 (upper school) at St John's and were today with the Owl class. As with the earlier workshops we started with a brief introduction about the project and had a one hour experimental session in which the students found out as much as they could about the littleBits modules and the different ways in which they could be connected together.


Making some unusual sounds with the synth kit



Students experiment with motors, fans and servos


A basic two-wheeled vehicle - it shows how to combine the component to make things move across a surface such as a table.


More sound experimentation - a basic keyboard and oscillator




This device combine a servo, bargraph and synth all in one




Sequencing sounds

A four wheeled vehicle


After the fist break, we came back and gave a brief overview of the rest of the day, and the class began designing and building their creatures using the materials they had brought in, the littleBits and the craft materials that we supplied.






A dinosaur creature with a moving tail,

A cross between a dolphin and a unicorn. A uni-dolphin? A dolphicorn?

Each group created a story to go with the creature that they had build and we created a video for each:

Not sure what this was called, but notice the well-constructed beak ... which moves!

The story of the unicorn dolphin

Wonderfully colourful - look at that amazing tongue




This group presented their story as a rap.


This dinosaur roars and has flashes of light at the front. They made a sound track to accompany the story.



Another wonderfully colourful creation

FINAL PRESENTATIONS OF OWLS CLASS

COOL RAP CREATURE

GREEN CROC CREATURE

MUTANT FROM THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY

SMACK AND THE UNICORNS

The Owls after the workshop session.

Wednesday June 17th 2015 EAGLES

Today we spent the whole day with the class of year 6 Eagles making creatures in cups. After a brief introduction the class started their experimental session making sounds with the synth kits and moving objects using the motors and servos:


Experimenting with the synth kits







Following a break, the class began to make their creatures. Here are some of them in progress:




A rather scary looking wolf-shark

Then the presentations:



This was a cross breed - I can definitely see a butterfly and rabbit in there ...




The wolf-shark is quite a handful







FINAL PRESENTATIONS BY EAGLES CLASS

CATERPILLAR & THE MAGIC CARROT

THE SHARK

JOSH NUBE

The Eagles after the show:




Thursday 18th June 2015 DOVES

Our penultimate day with St John's School, and we were with the year 5 Dove class today. let's see what they got up to during the experimental session before break:


A remote controlled car that uses bend sensors to control it's direction

Lots of weird and strange sounds ...
A work in progress:

I wouldn't want to find one of those under my bed ...

The presentations revealed some very impressive creations by the Doves:

I think it is a parrot-dragon-phoenix-griffin or something very like that


Very colourful

Side view

The video will reveal more about this one. The thing on the left wiggles about like a worm, and works really well.





This creature has arms that move up and down and controlled by a slider

FINAL PERFORMANCES BY THE DOVES CLASS

THE PARROT WITH A CAMELEON TONGUE

SNAKE AND OWL

BERNARD THE BLOOD SUCKING VAMPIRE

BOB JUNIOR


And finally .. the Doves:

The Doves

Hands up who wants to do this workshop again ...

Friday 19th June 2015 KINGFISHERS


Our last day with St Johns School, and we spent the day with the year 5 Kingfisher class. Let's take a look at what they were doing for the first morning session:









A two wheeled buggy and some sound FX




Sound great!


After the break and first hour of the afternoon saw a lot of action in which the groups created their creatures:

This creature resembles a penguin and so has a beak. (Nic's beak mechanism at work here!)



As you see in the presentation, this creature turns out to be huge.


And then the presentations:




This dinosaur has moving arms




Did I mention that this one was big?




The squeaking wolf spider. Well, a spider with six legs.

The three penguins. Notice the one on the left with the Fez.

FINAL PERFORMANCES BY THE KINGFISHERS CLASS

THE DINOSAUR

THE PROFESSOR AND THE EXPLORER 

THE STORY OF THE EPICOWFUR


WOLF SPIDER

THREE PENGUINS


KINGFISHERS Group photos:


A great picture of the Kingfisher class.


Aldryngton School

Mrs McDonald's Class

This week we are holding the 'Creature in a Cup' workshops at Aldryngton school in Reading with year 1 and 2 pupils. When we arrived they were very excited and eager to get started, so we kept the introduction short, and briefly described how the littleBits worked. To get the class started we asked them all to think of a creature themselves, so that later we could combine the creatures and make one out of all the ideas that they had produced. Here are the sketches:


Hard at work designing their creatures



























After the morning break we distributed some of the littleBits to the class so that they could experiment and find out for themselves how they worked. They tried push buttons, pulse timers and long LEDs. Here are some example of the class demonstrating what they had learned about the littleBits:










We all had a frantic time before lunch and for the first part of the afternoon busily making the creatures and getting the story ready for the afternoon performances, but everyone managed to get their creatures created and showed them to the rest of the class:





FINAL PRESENTATIONS BY MRS MACDONALD’S CLASS

Six Aliens on the Moon

Turtle goes to Chocolate Island

Finally, here is a group photo of all the class (except those who opted out of photos):
Say 'Cheesey peas' ..

25th June 2015

Our second workshop at Aldryngton Primary School, and the class were raring to go from the minute we started. After a brief introduction by Kate, Kassie demonstrated some of the basic littleBits kit, and Laura gave a brief demo of the synth kits to give an idea of what they could do with them. We soon launched into the creature design:







































After the morning break the class gathered their materials and started to create their creature. Some groups made more than one, as the additional creatures (and props) were used as part of their story. This 'making' session lasted until 2.10 when we stopped to begin the video session to record each performance.






















Some images of the groups telling the stories about the creatures they had created:











ALDRINGTON SCHOOL FINAL PRESENTATIONS DAY TWO

Mr Blood and Guts

The Longnose Creature

Bobby’s 22nd Birthday

The Unusual Elephant

Finally, a group photo:





26th June 2015

Our final workshop at Aldryngton school was with Mrs Tomsett's class. We got off to a quick start with a demonstration and a description of the day, and then went straight into creating a design for the creature and starting the story. Each of the children produced their own creature and then they combined their idea in each group. Here are the individual creatures - they're really good!


































Each group was helped by a member of the team, support staff or the teacher to make a single creature, and in some cases a number of props that could be used in the story. Not all are shown below, but here is a flavour of the group work, which is very impressive for these young groups:








MRS TOMSETT”S CLASS FINAL PRESENTATIONS

Light Hat Zebra

Sabretooth Giraffe

DiaperMan

Crowpan and Bob the Bat


Finally some group photos:




30-06-2015 - Redlands Primary School, Reading

Today we visited Redlands Primary school in Reading and spent the day with Mr Harvey's the year 4 class. To begin, we introduced ourselves and the team and gave a brief overview of the day and what we expected, followed by a short demonstration of littleBits. Then we asked everyone to design a creature and share their ideas. To make it easier to share ideas within each group, we asked them to co-design a creature by folding a piece of A4 paper into three, and then each adding a part of the creature - a bit like the game of consequences. Here are some of them:

























We also asked each group to write a brief story about the creature, which they would develop more in the afternoon and then present for a video. 


After the morning break we asked the class to explore littleBits and see what some of the modules could do for them and their creature:










Before the end of the day, each group presented their work as a story about the creature (videos to follow soon, after they have been edited):













The class worked really well, and produced some brilliant creatures and some very imaginative stories to go with their creations. 

REDLANDS, MR HARVEY’S CLASS FINAL PRESENTATIONS

MLGTiger and the Unicorn

Fluffy Monster

Fan of the Fan

Tiffany and the Jetpack

The Pizza Girl

We took a few pictures of the whole class just before we left:





14-07-2015: The Ridgeway School, Reading

Our last school workshop was at the Ridgeway School in Reading, where we gave the Creature in a Cup workshop to a year 6 class. Being a little older than some of the previous groups, we decided to keep the creature design short and allow more time for experimentation with the littleBits modules and see what the group of children could create out of the electronics. Here are some images taken during the experimentation session (before morning break):

ArtLab Team demo littleBits














Developing ideas for creature
 Drawing the creature
 Developing sounds


Developing creature and wheels


Making sound tracks

Creating the Creatures
    

Preparing performances




RIDGEWAY SCHOOL FINAL PRESENTATIONS

Grim Reaper

LetBox

Badhairday

Ogblog

Botalien



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