BBC Northern Ireland Mental Health Campaign Pilot… in animation!

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I spent today (Friday 27th October) and yesterday at BBC Northern Ireland in Belfast working with the BBC Blast team on a new pilot project for BBC One NI’s Mental Health Campaign.
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I worked closely with Emma Majury and Rod from the local college to create a 90 second animation which followed a soundbite story of a person who had recovered from depression.
We spent Thursday planning, Friday morning buliding sets and the afternoon animating. We filmed the entire sequence in reverse scene order, then strung it together in iMovie and added the sound. Here it is, as broadcast on BBC 1 Northern Ireland:

BBC Blast Truck in Hull 31st August and 1st of September 2006

The BBC Blast Truck is being supported by the Ultralab team for a tour around the UK undertaking creative outreach work with young people.

The big grey trucks rolled into Hull and were situated in Hull College car park for a two day visit with extended hours. The truck acted as a drop in centre for young people wishing to experiment with digital creativity, dance, music and ethical fashion. Bookings were also taken though the BBC Blast website. The venue was run by Paul from Connexions Humber in association with the BBC. Sadly it rained for the duration of the visit.

I ran classes in clay animation, digital photography, silent movies and creating comics.


It was really nice to be back in Hull, this is not the first time I have worked within the Hull region. In 2004 I was part of the ‘International Certificate in Digital Photography’ (ICDC) project in association with Creative Partnerships Hull.

Back in 2002/3 I worked closely with Richard Millwood, Hamish Scott-Brown and Professor Stephen Heppell of Ultralab on the ‘Input CBBC’ project. We worked in Hull and the North of England region with schools, colleges and community centres to find out what television would be like if young people made it themselves. There is more information on the project on this website.

BBC Blast Truck in White City, London 19th, 20th and 21st of July

Hal MacLean and myself joined the BBC Blast Truck in White City to in the lead facilitation role working with young people from the London Region on Digital Creativity projects. Hal and I spent two days of the event working with a group of budding young enthusiasts interested in a career in television. We demonstrated to them the technologies before undertaking a tough filming task. On the first day of White City we were joined by Ultralab’s Colin Elsey and co-Blast Lead Facilitator Hamish Scott-Brown who brought the young people from the Anglia Ruskin Summer School for a day on the truck undertaking an Animation task.
King Harold School’s Malcolm Burnett arranged for a bus load of his young people, spending their time between the truck events and the BBC’s 21CC Creativity Centre.
A huge amount of BBC staff were about for the three day event, in particular a strong presence of BBC mentors…. that’s people that work for the BBC helping the young people with advice.

The final day was completed with a big celebration of music, film and dance attended by well over 100 people. A great time was had by all.
Richard Millwood, Director of Ultralab joined the finale event and filmed the performances from one of the live cameras. Iona Walters, friend of Ultralab from ‘Input CBBC’ project days was also in attendance filming the dance participants in action. It was also great to see Gail Taylor, who was part of the Ultralab ‘Online Soap’ project back in 2002 (read more about it on this site), Gail now works for the BBC on mobile telephone projects and will be joining the Blast Truck when it arrives in Bristol, as a mentor.

Some images from the event:

BBC Blast Truck in Sheffield 6th, 7th and 8th of July

sheffield.jpgHal MacLean joined the BBC Blast Truck as lead facilitator onboard as it arrived in Sheffield for a fun packed three days, including a big showcase event of young peoples creative work.
The Ultralab team have worked extensively in Sheffield in the past, back in 2002 Hamish Scott-Brown, myself and Richard Millwood spent time working here on the BBC’s Input CBBC project, which gave young people the opportunity to be creative using computers to make television for broadcast, without adult intervention.

Helping the BBC Blast share their vision with BBC Staff

Hal MacLean, myself and Director of Ultralab, Richard Millwood from the Ultralab team at Anglia Ruskin University spent the afternoon and evening with the BBC Blast team in White City’s Media Centre, London to share and celebrate with the wider BBC the progress made by Blast, the BBC’s creative platform giving kids a place to be creative. Malcolm Burnett and two students from King Harold School supported the event by demonstrating creative Animation work to the BBC audience.
Ultralab’s SMS wall of stickies was available, developed by Alexander Blanc, the underpinning SMS system ‘UltraSMS’ developed by Tim Ellis.
Some images from the event:

BBC Blast, 21CC, Ultralab, Apple, BETT Show and EastEnders

Today, (Saturday) Maureen Gurr and myself headed to London to the BBC Broadcasting House bringing together the young people from Saffron Walden County High School and King Harold School for the planning day for ‘Create at BETT 2006.
For the past five years Ultralab have been working in conjunction with Apple Computer and other partners to deliver the ‘Create at BETT’ feature at BETT, the educational technology show at Olympia in London (11 – 14 January 2006).
The BETT Show attracted 24,000 visitors last year, the ‘Create at BETT’ stand is one of the few stands which does not actually sell anything, it is purely there to demonstrate how creative young people can be with technology.
Considering that people under the age of 18 are not allowed into the show, it is great that ‘Create at BETT’ continues to be the only stand fully staffed by young people ‘being creative’, the idea is that visitors will leave the show with creative ideas to take back to their institutions to move creative use of technology forward.
BBC Blast! are involved in the project this year, our training day for the young people involved took place at the BBC’s 21CC (21st Century Classroom) facility at broadcasting house.
On the stand the young people will be demonstrating film, sound, podcasting and animation technologies, all surrounded by an EastEnders theme. BBC EastEnders will be the focus of new script ideas, model animations of classic scenes and the challenge to create a new theme tune sequence for the show.
Both involved schools, friends of Ultralab’s Digital Creativity projects will be sending sixteen children to the show between them. The young people will stay in London with Ultralab.
Maureen Gurr, Richard Millwood, Kris Popat and Matthew Eaves will be representing Ultralab for the duration of the event on the ‘Create at BETT stand’.
Some images from the event:


CREATE AT BETT 2005 – Creative Norfolk and Essex Schools rule the show!

I’ve been so busy since returning from the 2005 BETT Show that I’ve not had a chance to write a full review of Ultralab‘s involvement in the show.
2005’s BETT show took place on Tuesday 11 January to Saturday 15 January 2004.
Each year learning, technology & research centre Ultralab work on the ‘creativity stand’ at the show, demonstrating new and emerging technologies and how young people are using them. Each year Ultralab bring a group of young people from Ultralab projects who demonstrate creative use of technology within their organisation, institution, school or learning centre.
The ‘Create at BETT’ stand is a collaborative project between Apple Computer, Ultralab, Media Education Wales, Solutions Inc, Film Education, Emap Education, South Street Studios, Canon and DV in Ed. The stand is the only stand at the show which is not selling any products, and becomes a form of light relief for visitors looking for creative ideas without being sales pitched products! 🙂
For the 2002’s BETT show the theme was ‘Internet Broadcast’ and pupils from schools taking part on Ultralab’s 2001 Summer School programme in conjunction with SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone) came together with young people from sixth form centre within Colbayns High School of Clacton Essex. The objective of ‘BETT Goes to the Movies’ was to demonstrate the potential of iMovie, the free video editing software from Apple along with the broadcasting software from Channel Storm called Live Channel Pro. BETT 2002 was a tremendous success, read our review of BETT Goes to the Movies 2002 by Richard Millwood and Matthew Eaves.2003 was a year of change, building on the success of 2002. Attending for Ultralab were young people from Sir Charles Lucas Arts College, part of Ultralab’s Summer School project with SEEVEAZ. Also attending were young people from a digital creativity project with the Hedley Walter High School, who stayed for the duration of the event pioneering forward ‘broadcasting’ and its capabilities. Young people from Greensward College were included into the event via an internet broadcast link from Ultralab. Sadly I can’t find the link to the pictures for ‘Bett goes to the Movies II’, but I do have the pictures from Ultralab’s BETT Stand 2003.
In 2004 Ultralab brought young people from our groundbreaking International Certificate in Digital Creativity project from the Andrew Marvell School in Hull who have been pioneering the project with Ultralab. Attending also were the young people from Ultralab’s Summer School project, the group of children were famous for their creative piece ‘Out of Step’. Here are the pictures from BETT goes to the Movies 2004. Watch David Baugh’s BETT 2004 Showreel
2005 had to be even more special than ever before. The ‘BETT goes to the Movies’ brand had served its time and ‘Create at BETT’ was born. The project brought together young people at Ultralab for a pre-event briefing, delivered by Oscar Stringer of South Street Studios, and Robbie of Solutions-Inc.
The 8 young people working on the stand for 2005 (Friday & Saturday) were from King Harold School, Wednesday & Thurdsday’s young people were brough by The Rural Norfolk Federation. The 8 young people from Norfolk represented the following schools: Fakenham High School & College, Reepham High School, Aylsham High School and Alderman Peel High School. All the Norfolk schools are situated in rural areas, the collaboration with the schools and Ultralab has been a big project for 2004.
Create at BETT 2005 was a tremendous success. The young people demonstrated their ability with animation, visual and sound technologies to the visitors.
In the evenings, the young people went out with the staffing team on the stand for meals, before returning to hotel accomodation.
The Norfolk and Essex young people and staff did us, their schools and all the project partners proud. Thanks loads guys! 🙂
Some images from the event:


Weymouth Webcam installed at Lifeboat Station

Mark Constable, Richard Millwood and myself headed to Weymouth to install the web camera for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)’s Lifeboats.TV project, run by Ultralab.

The project is near completion and the web camera will provide an eye for young people visiting the website to explore live images from a lifeboat station.
View some pictures taken at Weymouth Lifeboat Station on the day of the installation.
Some images from the event:

The project is really pioneering for the RNLI who are exploring with Ultralab how digital creativity technologies can be used to engage the younger audience with the work of the RNLI.

Input CBBC project completes in Hull

Today I headed off to Hull with Richard Millwood to visit the schools involved in the Input CBBC project. The young people have now completed their film work and presented it to us. For the past four months the young people have been making films for the project, which is research by the BBC and Ultralab to find out what television would be like if young people made it themselves. The Hull part of the project was extended due to time constraints for some of the young people.

A research findings report is being written by Ultralab and the BBC on the project and will be published for internal consumption shortly.
The work will be celebrated in London at BBC Television Centre next month.
Some images from the event:

Input CBBC and the Blue Peter Garden

Ultralab has been working with young people for the past two years using the latest free movie making software and Apple computers. The BBC attended the 2001 V&A Event at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Greg Childs, head of BBC’s Future TV spoke about how the BBC would need to adapt to meet the demands of changing audience capabilities and employed the Ultralab team to work in collaboration with the BBC to explore the future of children’s television.
InputCBBClogocircle.gifStephen Heppell, Richard Millwood and Matthew Eaves have been spending a lot of time in meetings at Television centre with the ‘Future TV’ team.
Richard and Matthew also visited the Top of the Pops and Blue Peter TV Studios.
The rest of the day was spent talking about how young people used technology for creative purpose and the potential places across the North of England where research with young people could begin using the Ultralab model.
Some images from the event: