Hardware Interactivity and Project Management workshops


With Michael and Egle Heins, Tuesday, 10am-3pm, Lecture Room A2.04 (Alison House):

MY-exhibition workshop

Please go here to book your place: doodle.com/poll/prni2i6duygbgacy

At least 2 or 3 students should attend from each project group. 

You will discuss project themes, moods, tools used, etc and Michael and Egle will show a few great branding examples for events and conferences that they have encountered over the years. Here is the workshop outline:

1. Branding your project

2. An overarching concept for the event

3. Bringing all groups together

4. Plan exhibition space for maximum comfort and effect

5. Getting an audience there

6. Keeping the audience engaged

7. How to organise your time from now to then to make sure it works out


With Jules Rawlinson, Tuesday, 20 February, 10am-3pm will take place in G11 (next to Atrium).


This session will provide an introduction to working with interactive electronics, focussing on the Arduino microcontroller, which is commonly used in interactive installations.


The Arduino will allow you to connect a wide variety of sensors to the board, which can be used for either standalone control of other electronics (lights, motors etc) or for control of computer based applications (e.g. Max, Processing, Unity)

You will be looking at some basic principles around reading voltages from different kinds of sensors and constructing simple circuits on ‘breadboards’ and then look at how we can either output control voltages or use the data for control of software.

What you should bring – a laptop with the Arduino IDE installed – It’s *really* similar to working with Processing. www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

There should be at least 3 students participating from your group if your project is going to involve interactivity. However, we would expect at least 1 student from each group. Even if you are not planning to use an interactive component in your project, you may decide to use this idea at a later stage or this could be very relevant in your final project.

Please note that there are only 16 places available. *The workshop is now fully booked* If for some reason you cannot make it anymore, please cancel your place in good time so another student can take your place.


Both workshops will start at 10am, please don’t be late. Arrive at least 10 mins before to make sure you find the place.

Workshop and Lecture 5 – Project Concept presentations

Here are the slides from the concepting workshop: MY-concepting workshop

In preparation for Submission 1

Submission deadline – 19th February, 4pm
WebPA opens – 19th February, 3pm.

Things to discuss with your supervisor:

What is your supervisor expecting to see in your Submission 1?
Is this documented? If not, make a blog post now reflecting the group’s understanding, e.g.
◦General type of thing? (Installation etc.)
◦List of deliverables for submission? (Different blog posts covering different areas?)
If nothing has been discussed yet, then you should do it now.

Based on your discussions/ findings in the workshop yesterday, document in your blog/Submission 1 report: 

What it is that you think these specific responses are offering to the project. For example: why sound-based work? Why is modelling going to be helpful? Why VR?

How are recipients / audiences of your work going to experience it? What do you want them to see, feel, hear, think about? Will they be still or moving? Will they be silent or noisy? Will they be passive or active?

Do you have a rough list of equipment requirements yet? Have you documented it? If not, do so now! (e.g cameras, loudspeakers, cables etc.: at what points and for how long do you need them?)

From your practical experiments so far, what research questions have emerged? Document these. I’d expect a minimum of one per group member.

For the submission 1, you should submit a coherent group project. It is expected that the work will still be unfocused and a number of elements may be undeveloped and/or insufficiently integrated. However, it is important that the group communicates a vision, an account of where the project is heading to, what has been achieved and where it is likely to go from there. In addition to some visual/ sound explorations and a report, you may choose to submit a short documentary of your work. The work for assessment should appear under Submission 1 tab. What is not there, will not be marked. You need to copy and paste the link to Submission 1 on LEARN, under tab Submission 1. 

By now you should actively participate in the blog; the blogposts should include some research, documentation of the process, reflections, trials etc. A link to an artwork/video is not enough, you need to provide some commentary, analyse this work, compare it to someone else’s or your own work and/or critique it. If it is statistical data, article, theoretical text – explain why it is relevant, what you are going to do with this, how does this inform your project/research.

After the session today:

Prepare a list of what will be submitted (different blog posts, what they’re for)
Agree on what’s left to do
Agree on who’s going to do what
Document what resources (time, materials) will be needed to make this happen
Set up some pre-submission deadlines that give the group time to revise and polish the work before it’s examined



  1. Be concise and clear when you present your project to another group. Answer questions: what is your project about? Why is it relevant/why are you doing it? What kind of issue/problem are you addressing? How are you planning to carry out the project (what kind of technology are you going to use)?
  1. Much of the process of presenting your work is about telling a story. By having gone over this story a couple of times today you’ll start to notice what changed between successive tellings: what got discarded as perhaps unimportant? What got emphasised. These are helpful cues both for presenting and for focusing your work.
  1. The process of telling will also alert you to aspects that aren’t as obvious as you thought, such as concepts that colleagues hadn’t encountered before, and so can alert you to how to present work to a general audience.
  1. In giving feedback you’ll have started to get an insight to where your peers are in their own work as well as the kinds of things that can get occluded or overlooked. Again, this provides a useful basis for reflecting on your own work.

Presentation schedule

The group on the left is presenting – 10 mins presentation+5 mins Q&A, feedback, comments.

Round 1

Double link ——————————————-Illuminating the Imperceptible

Self regulating systems——————- ——Alien Spectres

Ear to Eye ———————————————Voicing [feminist] sciFi

Bias within creative technologies—— — Creative Media Activism

Mobile Living Units ——————————Against Consensus

Developing Multidimensional Objects—Agnese

Round 2

Double link ——————————————-Agnese

Illuminating the Imperceptible ————-Self regulating systems

Alien Spectres—————————————-Ear to Eye

Voicing [feminist] sciFi—————————Bias within creative technologies

Creative Media Activism———————— Mobile Living Units

Against Consensus——————————— Developing Multidimensional Objects

Round 3

Double link ——————————————-Against Consensus

Self regulating systems——————- —— Agnese

Ear to Eye ——————————————— Illuminating the Imperceptible

Bias within creative technologies—— —   Alien Spectres

Mobile Living Units ——————————-Voicing [feminist] sciFi

Developing Multidimensional Objects—Creative Media Activism

Round 4

Creative Media Activism————————Double link

Against Consensus ——————————-Self regulating systems

Ear to Eye ———————————————Agnese

Illuminating the Imperceptible ————-Bias within creative technologies

Alien Spectres————————————— Mobile Living Units

Voicing [feminist] sciFi————————-Developing Multidimensional Objects

Round 5

Double link ——————————————-Voicing [feminist] sciFi

Self regulating systems——————- —— Creative Media Activism

Ear to Eye ———————————————Against Consensus

Bias within creative technologies—— —-Agnese

Mobile Living Units —————————— Illuminating the Imperceptible

Developing Multidimensional Objects—Alien Spectres

Round 6

Alien Spectres—————————————Double link

Voicing [feminist] sciFi————————-Self regulating systems

Creative Media Activism————————Ear to Eye

Against Consensus———————————Bias within creative technologies

Mobile Living Units ——————————Agnese

Illuminating the Imperceptible ————Developing Multidimensional Objects

Lecture 4 – Briefs and documentation

Lecture notes for this session take the form of downloadable pdf files.
Michael Heins on briefs: MY-understanding the brief

Jules Rawlinson: DocumentationAndProjectManagement

We also looked at some examples of documentation by established artists, these included:

Golan Levin Robotagger:GML www.flong.com/projects/gml-experiments/


A Requiem for Edward Snowden (Jules Rawlinson and Matthew Collings) – www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com/shows/requiem-edward-snowden

Bloom event:

Tangible Perception ‘Circadium’ – dmsp.digital.eca.ed.ac.uk/blog/tangibleperception2012/

Headphone HUD – dmsp.digital.eca.ed.ac.uk/blog/headphonehud2012/



Lecture 2 Collaboration Connection Consensus

Collaboration Connection Consensus notes

It is widely agreed now that collaborations are a way forward. Prevalence of interdisciplinary groups grows; it is more common than ever to work across different geographies – different time zones and cultures, and to apply different methods and tools to develop new ideas and provide solutions. Some examples: psychologists work with philosophers and linguists to provide communication support for people with disabilities (University of Copenhagen); scientists and artists work together to explore the immune system (Battle of Blister); hackathons, where groups of programmers, interface designers, graphic designers, etc. are coming together to create new software projects, are gaining more and more popularity (Hackathons). Designers do not work in isolation, rather they are embedded in a complex web of stakeholders, experts and potential users/audiences.

Positives of collaboration

Two heads better than one
Different perspectives
More risks
Being connected to others can enhance the overall creative effort
Challenge established ways of thinking, dialogical reasoning
Identify opportunities, knowledge construction
Able to reframe and re-conceptualise situations
Emotional support/ scaffolding


The pressure of conformity
Lack of trust
Poor communication
Lack of collaborative skill
Unrealistic goals
Lack of planning

Think of collaboration as a piece of tapestry. Some colours might be more dominant but others are as important, together they create a work of art.

Another metaphor – rain creating ripples in a waterbody. Each of these ripples bounce from one another and create new patterns where there were none. What we can take away from this is that collaborations should be about stillness, rhythm, equality and flow. Think of teams not only as groups of individuals but as living and breathing systems. Maintain that eco-system.




Lecture 1 Welcome pack

Welcome to the Digital Media Studio Project (DMSP)

Slideshow: DMSP Welcome

Tasks for this week/early next week

  • Submit your project preferences by 1600 Friday 19th January
    through here: edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/studio-project-choices
  • Project groups announced Monday: make contact with each other as soon as you can
  • Arrange to meet your project supervisor next week

Notes from today’s lecture

Digital media is a synthesis of technology and content; in this relationship one informs the other. Digital technologies offer a great potential and possibility to change people’s behaviour, habitual ways of thinking, they affect social everyday interactions, communication and understanding. However, there are also concerns. Many systems, including financial and energy, currently are facing an unprecedented transition from centralised authority to decentralised networks. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, that makes these possible, are undergoing scrutiny and causing growing concerns regarding their reliability, and most importantly, whether decentralised systems are actually feasible. Social media platforms allow powerful means for sharing, organising, communicating between different people. The ethos of social media is to promote and sustain democratic governance. However, is this really the case? Whose voices are we really listening to and hearing? Is it of those who have something to say or of those who are in power and whose voice is the loudest? This raises the question – how democratic social media really is.

Digital media is in constant change. Whilst the mainstream moved in on it, claiming the once quirky and unstable for themselves, other movements have taken off offering masses of people a voice powerful enough to intimidate the authorities.

As Bjork makes apps for iPhones instead of albums (Biophilia, 2011), Marc Jacobs pop-up store takes tweets and Instagram posts as payments (CultLdn, 2014). Ridley Scott makes films from crowd-sourced material (Life in a day, 2011); within days of release, KONY 2012, the Invisible Children’s documentary about Joseph Kony, the rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, drew more than 50 million views on social media platforms and put enormous pressure on governments to hunt down the guerrilla leader. Social injustice can be reported worldwide with computer software (Ushahidi, 2011). Computer games, such as Killbox, raises awareness and critically explores the consequences of drone warfare (collaboration between Joseph DeLappe and the Biome Collective, Scotland, 2015-16). At the University of Edinburgh, projects involving RFID tags are used to develop an Internet of Things (Chris Speed, 2011), and the DMSP’s Unwanted Orchestra gets a write up in a fashion magazine (Toys by Eleni Konteisiou, 2011).


In this course you are going to work in groups and create an innovative, provocative, immersive, original, captivating, thrilling, thought-provoking, intelligent, surprising, unconventional, off-centre, reverberating, stimulating piece of work using cutting-edge technologies.


  • Independent thinking
  • Technically skilled
  • Expressive with technology
  • Imaginative departures from mainstream or bringing ideas from the periphery towards the mainstream
  • Experimental


You are going to collaborate with people from different backgrounds and who have variety of different skills: technical skills, artistic skills, project management skills, production coordination and analytical skills. Collaboration requires ‘the ability to be mutually vulnerable. […] [Y]ou have to take each other to the edge of what you individually thought you were capable of’ (Meill & Littleton, 2004:47). And anyway, there is far too much to do and ‘[t]he problem is simply too big for a single creative genius to solve. Therefore, we need a collective creative effort at the global level to solve our problems’ (Family, cited in John-Steiner, 2006: xvii).


  • The City
  • The environment
  • Hacking
  • Beyond the desktop
  • Performance and Improvisation
  • Installation
  • The body (living and non-living entity; physical/ sensorimotor interface)
  • The Internet
  • Animation and 3D technologies
  • Dataspace


  • Interactive storytelling
  • VR/AR
  • 3D modelling
  • 2D digitisation
  • Digital sound and video
  • Animation etc.