Last Sunday we headed off to Arts Depot in Finchley for the first of our Clive workshops. We began our session with a percussive warm-up and revisited some of our favourite ReacTickles Magic Apps, Expand and Orbit. Everyone enjoyed seeing the effects of their actions, adding lovely flowing movements, using Somantics Sparkles, Kaleidoscope, and Silhouette, simultaneously exploring speed, direction and body parts. Everyone responded positively to our new Somatopia concepts for Raspberry Pi. The group contributed some great ideas for the themes we are proposing: Cause and Effect, Flow and Space. Already, there is excitement for the performance on the 21st Feb.
Beginning on 18th January, we are running workshops with Arts Depot. The workshops will be a pilot for developing our resources for Somatopia – and a test bed for inclusion by inviting adults with LDs to take part in weekly activities that culminate in them choreographing and presenting a performance using interactive digital artworks.
This is an introduction to our new project, which is a partnership with Cariad Interactive, Raspberry Pi, Cardiff Metropolitan University and a number of schools and Arts Organisations, which will be described in regular blog posts.
The overarching aim of Somatopia is use the inherent accessibility of RaspberryPi as an inclusive design tool for enabling young people with a wide range of abilities to co-create interactive artworks.
Our idea is to generate computing modules that use the RaspberryPi as a creative platform for inclusive, experimental artworks. The unique context for this project, which sets it apart from its competitors, is that it foregrounds participatory design methods, bringing novice developers together with potential beneficiaries throughout the project lifecycle. The outputs of this process are expected to be creative, experimental interfaces that can be scaled to suit any environment. Significantly, these outputs must embody inclusivity, permitting personal and social interaction to emerge through bodily (soma) exploration.
At a more ambitious level, when we have fully tested Somatopia with existing partners, we will widen participation in the project by working with local school pupils. Although our primary group would be those studying WJEC (CBAC) GSCE Computer Science or WJEC (CBAC) GCE Computing, we are also interested in widening participation to other subjects and have approached the Heads of two local schools keen to explore inter-disciplinarily collaboration and hybridity. Working with Raspberry Pi, we will test the feasibility Somatopia as a method for enriching the learner experience of inclusivity and accessibility in Human Computer Interaction (HCI).