Automation Fellows Round Up

Puppet Presence By Rusty Squid. Photography by Paul Blakemore

SWCTN Appoints New Cohort of Automation Fellows

The South West Creative Technology Network is delighted to welcome 24 brand new Fellows to the programme. We have appointed 8 Academic Fellows, 8 from Industry, and 8 who are New Talent. They are all on a mission to explore our new challenge area; AUTOMATION.

Let us introduce you to them! First up, our ACADEMIC Fellows:

  • Patrick Crogan(UWE) wants to explore how creative producers can design forms and experiences that advance society towards a more ‘therapeutic’ adoption of algorithmic, computational technology.
  • Anna Chatzimichali(UWE) wants to interweave her backgrounds in Production Engineering and Intellectual Property to explore the patterns of interaction with cyber-physical-social products, and concentrate especially on user-generated IP.
  • Polly Macpherson(Plymouth) would like to explore advancing the understanding of automation’s relationship with current, past and lost making in the South West and use automation tools to develop new-sense & sense-making creative outcomes.
  • Alejandro Veliz-Rejes(Plymouth) is interested in challenging mainstream applications of AI technologies for robotic fabrication, enabling robots to more meaningfully learn from and engage with complex material systems, specifically robotic arms.
  • Ed Braund(Plymouth) is interested in exploring the challenges, benefits, cultural issues and ethics around using biotechnologies in fields that demand minimal or reduced human intervention, such as soft and adaptive robotics.
  • Ron Herrema(Bath Spa) is a classically trained musician, and is interested in how automation enables us to become more, not less, human. How can working through automated processes enable artists and musicians to become more creative?
  • Natasha Kidd(Bath Spa) has worked with automated paintings, and is interested in issues of authorship and the delegated responsibility of the artist, as well as the role of the attendants of the machine who ensure that it keeps working.

Exciting areas of interest there from everyone! Next, our INDUSTRY Fellows:

  • Mollie Claypool(Bristol) is a trained architect who works as an architectural historian, theorist and educator. She is interested in how full automation of the design/manufacturing of buildings enable a shift towards more efficient/sustainable/flexible/adaptive architecture and construction processes?
  • Stephanie Campbell(Bristol) has a background as an eye specialist, and is keen to explore how we can best develop automation in healthcare in a way which is not just ‘acceptable’ to the patient-user, but how it can delight, inspire, satisfy needs, and flag when a conversation with a human is necessary.
  • Ben Crowther(Bristol) is the technical founder at LettUs Grow, and is interested in exploring the design of automated production lines and warehousing systems from both a process optimisation and hardware design point of view.
  • Tom Duggan(Cornwall) is an artist, production designer and developer. Tom has developed a partnership with KUKA Robotics, and been given access to their range of Industrial Robots. He is interested in how these tools can be used within an experimental research studio.
  • Birgitte Aga(Plymouth) has 18 years of experience working across industry/academia/the cultural sector, focusing on AI. Birgitte would like to explore collaborative and participatory methods and mechanisms to empower people and underrepresented groups to participate in AI development.
  • Guy Gadney(Oxford/Bath) has led the build of, an immersive story creation platform that uses AI to help writers create complex interactive narratives and experiences. Guy is interested in the potential for the transformation of storytelling structures with selected automation of the creative process.
  • Roop Johnstone(Devon) is an artist, and is asking what happens when the worlds of traditional crafts and new technologies collide. For example, what happens if a handmade object has an augmented function or role, as a sensor or communicator?
  • Ciara Eastell(Devon) has been at the helm of Devon’s library service over the last decade. Ciara’s research questions are focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the leadership competencies and outlooks which are needed to ensure that automation has the biggest social impact it can.

Finally, we are thrilled to welcome our NEW TALENT Fellows to the cohort:

  • Rob Dooley(Falmouth) will be exploring how the automation of digital design and manufacturing tools can be further developed to aid industrial designers and contemporary makers, creating higher quality bespoke product experiences.
  • Chloe Meineck(Bristol) combines co-design, craft, physical and digital technologies to create products that transform people’s mental health and wellbeing. Chloe is asking what are the automation opportunities to help an individual monitor behaviours and support their own mental health?
  • Ellie Foreman(Bristol) would like to explore the relationship between humans and AI, questioning how we converse with technology. What makes a meaningful connection? What causes barriers in these relationships? What makes us feel like we are not understood?
  • Rachel Smith(Bristol) is particularly interested in exploring the social impact of the unseen and automated decision-making processes found in AI. To what extent are people happy to defer decision making to neural networks? How aware are they of how decisions are made and the data being used?
  • Rosie Brave(Plymouth) is using co-design workshops, interviews and prototyping to explore the idea of wellbeing automation. She is asking whether a personalised wearable can enable people to improve their wellbeing according to their own goals, rather than conforming to generic goals eg walking 10,000 steps.
  • Yanran Li(Bournemouth) is interested in how we can enable computers to recognise high-level human motions. For example, how can we automatically synthesise new motions, which combine the style (e.g drunk, childish, tired) from one motion and the content (walking, running, dancing) from another?
  • Tariq Rashid(Cornwall) started Data Science Cornwall, and is interested in improving artificial emotional intelligence, focusing on the automation of generative visual art that has emotional content as a primary design element.
  • Joseph Wilk(Bath) is interested in questioning the social and ethical impact of automation through the lens of disability. How can the design of automation reflect peoples who are often already marginalised by the environments they have to live in? Is disability a thing to solve?
  • Ruby Jennings(Bath) is a visual and multimedia artist, working alongside theatre and circus professionals. Ruby asks, can we create a narrative between human and automaton, or experience life from a machine’s perspective? Will technology cross boundaries between mechanic and organic?

We are meeting with this wonderful new cohort in April for our first workshops, and we can’t wait. Keep up to date with their work and news here on our website, or follow us on Twitter @SW_CTN, or Instagram @swctn for updates.