Bromley Summer School kicks off with Hal MacLean

Hal spent the day in the Bromley area working with partner schools on their Summer programme of activities. Bromley Learning Alliance, the organisation behind the initiative hires in Ultralab each year to set the summer challenge for young people with their region. Previously to working with the BLA Ultralab worked with SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone), BLE’s staff moved from SEEVEAZ when SEEVEAZ reached the end of its natural working life.
It was SEEVEAZ that helped pioneer the first ever Ultralab digital creativity summer school back in 2000 so Ultralab are pleased to continue the working relationship withe the BLE team.
Hal worked with a group of 30 young people in the morning, and 30 in the afternoon.
Hal set the young people their Summer Challenge, which is to make a modern day interactive comic.
Initially Hal taught the young people how to animate and here are the first movies created in just one hour on the training day:

Wacky Races: Play Now | Play in Popup
The Race 1: Play Now | Play in Popup
The Race 2: Play Now | Play in Popup
JJL Movie: Play Now | Play in Popup

Digital Creativity Celebration huge hit to audience at V&A

seeveaz2.gifAn audience of three hundred attended the 4th annual Summer School creativity celebration at the Victoria & Albert museum in London. The event, which showcases the movies by the children is projected in the V&A’s prestigious lecture theatre, which they then defend from questions from the audience was an amazing experience, as ever, for all involved.
seeveaz1.gifThe event, run in conjunction with SEEVEAZ was broadcast internationally over the Internet. Neil Boughen, technician at the event and his team put on exceptional technical performance made perfect by the input, interaction and positive comments from the audience.
Prior to the presentation, hosted by Professor Stephen Heppell was the work from around the world, including the project in conjunction with TVNZ (New Zealand), the Belfast peace project and a movie from our friends in Singapore was shown and well received by the audience.
Once again Ultralab’s SMS service accepted over 400 text messages from the audience, who were able to text to a big screen throughout the event.
For the first time joined the project, producing three excellent movies.
Greg Childs, from Childrens BBC, guest speaker at the event commented on how the work the children were doing really did matter to the future of British Television.
Ultralab and SEEVEAZ would like to thank once again the team at the V&A for their support in the project, and to the Children for their once again exceptional, head turning, internationally renowned creativity.
Each child went home with a certificate, DVD containing their work, a Summer School branded hoodie, and the memories. The Ultralab team enjoyed a Pizza Hut on the way home! 🙂

2001 Ultralab Summer School DVD Production complete

2001box.gifUltralab’s first ever DVD production has been completed and pressed 1000 times. Congratulations to all the team involved in a day and night production. The disc contains all the work from the 2001 SEEVEAZ Summer School and will be given out at the 2001 V&A event, one copy to each researcher involved in the project.
Films included on the production include:
Spectacular, Vital, Tragedy, Dazed, Tacky, Hopeless, Aqua, Fast, Superfluous, Ordinary, Phobias, Posh, Attractive, Smooth, Emotions, Brittle and Torn
Team: George Variopoulos, Matthew Eaves and Alex Blanc

Emotions Film Research Project starts with SEEVEAZ

The next Summer School project called ‘Emotions’ has begun with a new batch of ‘Researchers’ had to ‘tell an emotional’ story about a word. Each child picked one word out of a hat out of a possible 100 words. The first challenge, in groups of 4, was to decide which of the words picked out of the hat by the groups members should be made into a film.
In groups the young people will need to decide from the words they have pulled at random, which of these will they make a film about? This challenge requires the groups to bond quickly in order to being their tough challenge.
The film had to last for no more than 3 minutes, have a suitable soundtrack, loop and contain the word and names of the Researchers involved in the movie.

If the films created by the young people are good enough they will be included in a DVD production and displayed at the V&A museum in December.
This project is funded for the second year by SEEVEAZ, the South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone.

RNLI calls on young people and Ultralab to explore image and brand perception

On 19 January 2001 the very creative SEEVEAZ Summer School researchers came together at Burnham-on-Crouch Lifeboat Station to assist with Ultralab’s joint project with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) to come up with ideas how the lifeboat service could be made ‘cool’ in the eyes of young people.


Ultralab used the research findings to embark on the ‘’ project in conjunction with the education department of the RNLI.


The Summer School researchers came up with a variety of ideas which led to the launch of Lifeboats.TV, the biggest video based website on the Internet, and home of the ‘Virtual Lifeboat Station’. 467 movies were created and made available in various formats.


Lifeboats.TV ran for three years and is now offline, research complete.


Stephen Heppell (Ultralab)
Matthew Eaves (Ultralab)
James Vaughan (RNLI)
Anne Millman (RNLI)

The below films will take some time to load, please be patient:

 Watch the RNLI project movie, with early Matthew Eaves and Colin Elsey footage.: Play Now | Play in Popup
 Watch 180 people the movie – made by Matthew Eaves this film includes nearly everyone who was a part of the Lifeboats.TV project.: Play Now | Play in Popup
 Filmed and made in Burnham this film was created to initiate the project vision.: Play Now | Play in Popup
 Also by George, a dramatic cut using RNLI archive footage: Cut 21 Movie. It was made from a lot of archive training video footage, the objective to demonstrate to the RNLI that existing footage could be recycled.: Play Now | Play in Popup

Transformation Digital Creativity Project concludes at the Millenium Dome


SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone) approached Ultralab to ‘do something creative’ with children during the month of August 2000. The ‘action zones’ were set up as part of a government initiative to support schools within regions who had not fully adopted technology within their teaching and learning. SEEVEAZ became the only ‘virtual’ action zone in the country and worked closely with Ultralab throughout its five year life-span (starting in 2000).
SEEVEAZ initially challenged Ultralab with young people from its regional schools which were considered ‘gifted and talented’ but were also ‘not performing to their potential.
The objective of the first summer school was to give a ‘touch challenge’ which would try and test the young people involved in the project to ‘raise their game’ when returning to academic lessons after the summer break.
Ultralab Director, Stephen Heppell challenged the young people with a project called ‘Transformation’. The young people were given still cameras and computers and set the task (in groups) to ‘tell the story of transformation from one state to another in a series of still images’.
The completed pieces of work were exhibited at the Millenium Dome, where Ultralab worked with Tesco to design ‘The Learning Zone’.


One of the seven movies, ‘A Century of People’ is based on the ageing process in humans. The movie starts with a pregnant woman, then a newborn baby, then a one year old right through to a one hundred year old person. The movie points out the differences between the ages that you would not normally notice. There are a hundred photographs, one for every age.


The movies produced by the children from the SEEVEAZ schools in Essex and Kent were so exceptional and led to the 2001 project ‘Emotions’, which budget was allocated to for the purchase of equipment schoolwide.
Lots of lessons were learnt from the initial pilot project which went on to being and formulate the Ultralab formula to running an effective digital creativity project on a global scale.
Some of the movies are here on, click below to watch them:

icon for podpress Century of People : This project is based on the ageing process in humans. It starts with a pregnant woman going on to a newborn baby then on to a one year old up to a hundred year old. It points out the differences between the ages that you would not normally notice.: Play Now | Play in Popup
icon for podpress Tempus Fugit : Our transformation takes you through the life of a person in a series of still photographs with text, from birth to death. As time goes by (shown by the scene in the background changes) we show that a person would transform, by using different actors walking across the foreground. We used similar clothes, however throughout the entire piece to show that some things always stay the same.: Play Now | Play in Popup
icon for podpress Time to Die : The project is based upon Weapons of warfare and shows a good mix of weapons and battle scenes. It starts from the simple flint dagger to the powerful mechanical weaponary of the modern day.: Play Now | Play in Popup
icon for podpress Papernautics : Papernautics is about a piece of paper transforming into different objects and going on a journey.: Play Now | Play in Popup
icon for podpress Time and Tide : A series of digital images which portray the transformation of a sand castle decaying with time.: Play Now | Play in Popup