ULTRALAB DIGITAL CREATIVITY AT THE V&A – 10 DECEMBER 2004

(above: (picture care of Jonathan Furness of Jonathan’s Blog) Richard Millwood and young people from Derry, Northern Irealand (more pictures care of Shirley)).

2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 have all been pretty special for Ultralab (1990-2006)‘s team of people who under the banner now known as ‘Digital Creativity’. We should not forget the ‘SummerSchool’ banner, but it no longer fits with all the stuff we are doing now in the digital creativity field, we’re growing all the time. Together as a team at Ultralab (1990-2006) we’ve worked really hard over the past five years to challenge and empowered people worldwide with the potential of digital technologies for creative purpose. Together we’ve had a lot of fun, made some great friendships and we’re hearing all the right noises from all the key people who push us, and challenge us to take our research further, and deeper.

Friday, the final day of the 2004 projects was probably one of the highlights of my time here at Ultralab (1990-2006).

31 Ultranaut’s have been involved in SummerSchool / Ysgol Haf / Digital Creativity this year….from Graham and Greta checking the DVD structures, Mark cleaning audio, Tony Browne working close with young people in Derry, Michael Hartley in Ayr College, Alex doing the SMS and Graphics, Jonathan liasing with visitors, and Geraint running around the V&A with a microphone interviewing the audience…..it would be impossible to say thanks to everyone without missing someone out…..

This year we’ve been followed, broadcasted and exposed on BBC Television, we’ve built up a reputation that we’re so key in this area that we’re now advisors on panels which were previously places you found historical film industry experts, we’ve proved others are now looking in our direction, these days, we sit next to them, and genuinely have the coolest ideas.

Our teams have worked in Derry, with communities considered divided, we’ve worked with prospective University and College students, and young people who live in Rural communities, we’ve been focused, we’ve been efficient and we’ve been brilliant at bringing people together to be creative, share ideas and we’ve been enabling, critical and supportive. We’ve met nice people, we’ve met some dodgy rogues, and we’ve had our fair share of bumps and smiles along the way. We’re still chasing some outstanding money, this was the first year where we met and worked one of those people you meet in life that you wish you had not met, but we’ve learned from that, and we’ll build and develop from our learning.

On Friday over 500 people attended the V&A from all over the UK to witness and celebrate the special event held to showcase the creative output from our 2004 portfolio of digital creativity projects. Each year we’ve tried to spread out which Ultranauts attend, and no matter what year, and what team work the V&A, it always goes like clockwork.

For me, it was not the event that was special, it always is. My highlight was being one of the Ultranaut’s who worked in a team which was so close nit. Everyone knew what they were doing, and everyone did everything they could to make the 2 events in the lecture theatre run without hitch. All Ultranaut’s performed and delivered one of the most amazing celebrations I’ve ever attended. Imagine two Ultralab (1990-2006) teams working together on different floors with 10 groups of people who all want to know what is going on, want a t-shirt, want to know where the toilets are, want to know what they have to do, or where to store their bag, or how long they have got to eat, or where they can buy tea or coffee, or who’s having an affair with Deidre in Coronation Street……its crazy….but everyone got the answer, everyone was in the right place at the right time, and no, Hal is not having an affair with Deidre in Coronation Street.

So, a huge well done to all the team at home, and at the V&A who did so much to make the ‘Digital Creativity’ (new name for SummerSchool) project end with such a bang….

….and not forgetting everyone involved in a SummerSchool based project, or involved in the production of the DVD set, which is a pretty special achievement in its own right….

Cheers everyone 🙂


—-PRESS INFO:

On Friday 10 December Ultralab (1990-2006), Anglia Polytechnic University’s (APU) groundbreaking learning technology research centre brought together project partners from around the globe for the 2004 Digital Creativity celebration. This event, run by Ultralab (1990-2006) and hosted by the Victoria & Albert Museum in the prestigious lecture theatre was being held for the fifth year in succession (year one, and launch were hosted at the Millennium Dome).

During the whole day event, over 500 people attended to watch young people from around the UK present their work to the audience. Ultralab (1990-2006)‘s digital creativity projects spanned Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England as well as the APU Summer School, which Ultralab (1990-2006) hosted in July in association with APU’s DACS and the APU Regional Office. Also represented were projects from New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and young people from Tasmania chatted live through the Internet to explain the story behind their work.

BBC television, who have been broadcasting Ultralab (1990-2006)‘s digital creativity projects over the past few months were on hand to give careers advice (and free giveaway stuff!) to the audience of researchers, parents, nans and the press.

Ultralab (1990-2006) provided on screen expert advice and creativity critique for the BBC Blast programme, which is a place for young people to share their creativity. In 2002 Ultralab (1990-2006) undertook a key research project with Children’s BBC (CBBC) to find out if and how children coped making their own short films (young people were challenged to produce content for BBC channels themselves (Input CBBC))

This was the fourth time the V&A had hosted the digital creativity event, which was launched in the zone designed by Ultralab (1990-2006) in conjunction with Tesco at the Millennium Dome back in 2000. Next year Ultralab (1990-2006)‘s pioneering project with Creative Partnerships to build a qualification around digital creativity will build on lessons learned, and strive to create a certificate in creativity for everyone (more information at: www.i-cert.net).

During the performance, Ultralab (1990-2006) used the latest digital communication technologies to beam in a school from Australia who are respected for their creative edge who had taken part in the celebration of digital creativity:


Peter Lelong technology director at Fahan School, Tasmania, Australia reflects:

“Having the opportunity for my students from Years Nine and Ten to work so corroboratively with the Ultralab (1990-2006) was an empowering experience. Imagine asking students to work through their holidays on a class project and then to turn up at 5.30 am during the first weekend of the holidays to be part on an online conference?


Each of the girls have gained so much from the opportunity to work with the team at the Ultralab (1990-2006). The proof of the pudding is in the fact that each of the girls in Year Ten involved in the project has now enrolled in the Certificate II Multimedia course for 2005.


Normally I have two to three girls enrolled. Following work done with creative media activities such as the ‘Digital Creativity DVD project’, students are now much more engaged with ICT as it is now taught at Fahan school.

In 2005 we are working on a State wide (Tasmania) project, linking students together around the world as part of the Ten Days on the Island cultural festival. The innovative work being done at the Ultralab (1990-2006) has been the catalyst for change in a number of our schools here in Tasmania.”

David Anderson OBE, Director of Learning & Interpretation at the V&A said:
“At the V&A we only show the best and if Ultralab (1990-2006) do not come to us and use another venue to show the creativity of young people, I’ll personally want to know why”.

Since 1990 Ultralab (1990-2006) has been pushing the boundaries of digital creativity in projects in all sectors of education.

Ultralab (1990-2006) has been working hard over the past few months building a DVD containing all the work from all the digital creativity projects, the double dual layer disc set DVD was given to every young person that took part in the project.

Richard Millwood, Ultralab (1990-2006) & Matthew Eaves, Ultralab (1990-2006)

For more information visit: Digital Creativity

:: :: Matthew Eaves

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Matthew Eaves

Matthew Eaves is Director at Creative Learning Systems Ltd

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