Creative Data goes to The House of Commons

 

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Taking The Collett School History Project to the House of Commons has been the highlight of the year so far. Lucy and I have come to the end of working with this wonderful special needs school in Hemel Hempstead. After a year of storytelling to celebrate their 50th Anniversary, we succeeded in our ultimate goal for the project which was to take it to Westminster to show Ministers and MPs the amazing stories of the school.

The school’s local MP, Mike Penning, who arranged for the exhibition to take place in Parliament, explained why he wanted to bring the exhibition to Speaker’s Green:

“The Collett School is a very special school and has a very special place in my heart. I visit as often as I can and I run my annual Christmas card competition with the children of the school. “This is a great opportunity for Ministers and MPs to hear first-hand the untold stories of the pupils of this great school. “This is the first time ever that an exhibition of this nature has been held on Speaker’s Green and it was a wonderful experience for the children and a great opportunity for my Parliamentary colleagues to learn more about special needs education and the experiences of those who have left the school and the difference it has made to their lives.”

Stephen Hoult-Allen, Head Teacher of The Collett School was thrilled that the school was offered this opportunity:

“It was fantastic for our pupils, past and present, to share our story with so many MPs at the exhibition of our oral histories project at Parliament. Our pupils were fantastic ambassadors for the school and people with learning difficulties, taking pride in their achievements, hopes and aspirations for contributing to our mainstream world.”

We had over 30 MPs show up on the day, Wednesday 24th June, and even Boris Johnson made an appearance. We were delighted by the positive response the exhibition received. You can read about what the MPs thought over on the Creative Data site.

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Speaking about Data Vis at Future Cities Catapult

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Having successfully produced a series of case studies about design in innovation for the KTN’s Design SIG earlier in the year, I was commissioned to create a report about Design & Data Visualisation for the KTN’s members. This report was based on an event that I spoke at in October 2013 at NESTA.

For the launch of the report I wrote about the publication for the KTN site and I was also invited to speak, on May 6th, at the Future Cities Catapult at a Cross-Catapult Design Group Meeting which was used for sharing new ideas across industry.

I spoke about how the report is an introduction to the crucial role of design in data visualisation and all the ways it can be used to better communicate information in this digital age. I highlighted a few of the contemporary data visualisation practitioners who are showcased in the report.

By presenting case studies of their work the Design SIG aims to stimulate thinking on how design and data visualisation can support innovation and deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits.

Creating the Additive Toolbox

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Earlier this year Belgian company Plan C launched The Additive Toolbox to accompany The Additive Challenge, inviting the 3d printing industry to address a better future for people and planet in their creations.

I had a great experience designing the Toolbox with talented fellow designer Joana Casaca Lemos. We were commissioned by Forum for the Future who in turn were working with Plan C on the iMade project, which looks at additive manufacturing as the third industrial revolution. I just got my Additive Toolbox prototype in the post and I’m so delighted with how it all turned out.

Joana and I worked together to create the identity, graphics and physical form of the toolbox, including a poster, a set of postcards and a worksheet. These tools outline 6 making principles and 6 maker communities to guide designers, makers and manufacturers through the considerations of materials, production methods and life cycle for their products.

The toolbox was given out to anyone who entered the Additive Challenge. The latest news about the challengers in the competition can be found on the project site. As a designer it’s a pretty great to be asked to create a tool to help other designers and I’m excited to see who the finalists are in this competition.

Speaking at Design Junction 2014

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I was kindly invited to speak about my work in September by Aidan Walker, curator of the Design Junction seminars. It’s always fun, if nerve wracking, to be asked to speak about what I’m doing with design storytelling and particularly with Creative Data.

I was especially pleased to be speaking at a mainstream London Design Festival event such as Design Junction, rather than a sustainability side show. I think it’s good news that curators like Aidan are programming a diverse range of speakers that use environmental design at the core of their work.

I was on stage alongside the NYC design firm UHURU who make beautiful furniture and interiors from sustainably sources materials. I think our different approaches contrasted nicely on the common theme of social and environmental awareness.

‘Why is Science Beautiful?’ workshop for the Met Office & British Library

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Lucy Rose and I, in the guise of our Creative Data partnership, had great fun designing and hosting the ‘Why Is Science Beautiful?’ workshop at the British Library this week. We created the event for the Met Office in the context of the ‘Beautiful Science’ exhibition, currently on show in the library.

This experimental one-day workshop on Monday 12th May was co-hosted by the British Library, the Met Office and Creative Data. The event invited attendees (15 Met Office scientists and 15 selected creatives) to take an exploratory journey into the creative potential of data and scientific practice.

Here’s the Storify of the event, which collates all the social media captures of the day.

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