Tagged: digital

Experiments and reflections on digital media community exploration

As someone with a huge passion for  exploring my local environment and digging into the history and architecture of an area, and ways of presenting this creatively I am rather taken by a project which I found on Twitter called “Walk My World”, the invention of William O’Byrne who is based in Newhaven, USA.  The idea is that you carry out a journey, once a week, and then record and share that using various digital media tools (he suggests Twitter, Vine and Instagram and produces a handy guide for newcomers to these on his site).  There’s still an opportunity to take part if you wish… join in!

I personally have not used Instagram much as until fairly recently I didn’t have a phone with a very good camera (it was quite a low resolution), preferring to play with my SLR, but since I got a new phone in November I have been playing with the many free and low cost apps which allow you to snap, shoot and share your view of the world.  The Walk My World project seemed a good time to try out Instagram.. so I took a wander around Govanhill in Glasgow.

A wonderful multi-lingual community cafe, in an Evangelical church hall, which asks for only donations for breakfast:

Multi lingual coffee

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Said free/ donation breakfast (which was lovely, as were all the people in the pop up cafe):

#walkmyworld coffee stop!

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Library exhibition on wartime experiences:

library exhibit on wartime life and stories #walkmyworld

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The library history exhibition, including a little alcove devoted to R D Laing, an influential psychiatrist born in the area:

The many languages of Govanhill:

Some of the many languages of Govanhill #walkmyworld

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International peace garden:

International peace garden #walkmyworld

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Community baths (I had visited these at Doors Open Day before):

United we swim, community trust wellbeing centre including baths refurbishment #walkmyworld

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Wonderful tenements, a Glasgow architectural icon:

I love tenements, even in the rain they are beautiful #walkmyworld

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I discovered a lot about the area, even from this short walk!  I had not created a video in Instagram before, and also played with the tagging and mapping functions.  I know Instagram is not exactly “new news” but it is funny how sometimes we need a reason to play with new stuff.  I also learnt that embedding Instagram posts in WordPress only needs the URL, not the embed code.  I like to learn through play, and this sort of project is “right up my street”, thanks William!

I completely agree with the comment in William’s blog post that educators should create an online brand for themselves (thinking before they share), I am quite aware of my “digital footprint” and in some ways my background may appear somewhat diverse (town planning, conservation, education, creative media) but I am lucky enough to be able to combine all of these through the various strands of my professional work (on reflection, I am needing to revisit my own website to better represent this; although I was very happy with it when I created it at the time and I have gradually added content such as my “Are You Here” project exploring family history links and the environment of Bristol and Brighton, my professional practice has evolved to represent a variety of skills).

As well as undertaking freelance illustration and digital interpretation projects in arts and heritage, and volunteering my time for Planning Aid Scotland, in my other professional persona I am currently working as Educational Co-ordinator at the University of the West of Scotland, on the Digital Commonwealth project.  This is a project which is designed to help marginalised communities (such as those who live in areas of socio-economic deprivation) develop digital media literacy skills using readily available technology and tools.  The project is framed around the digital reporting of Queen’s Baton Relay for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with projects based around the topics of people, place, culture and exchange.  I have been really impressed with the creative results of the #walkmyworld project beginning to be shared on Twitter and it made me even more excited about the possible results of planned creative digital media projects which will take place as part of the Digital Commonwealth project!

Here are some of my favourite #Walkmyworld posts so far:

Vine poetry:

Happy Twitter dogs!

  More dogs (but Vine):

The wonders of Islay:

The fabulous benefits of creating enthusiastic online communities!

Happy exploring, creating, learning and sharing!

December 16th unconventional advent calendar

Image taken from page 59 of 'Gill's Imperial Geography ... Illustrated with ... maps and ... woodcuts ... Revised edition'

Today’s unconventional advent calendar celebrates archives and the release of over 1 million images owned by the British Library on Flickr.

I previously blogged about the Glasgow image I found, but there are literally millions to see, from all over the world!  You can also add tags to any of the images yourself, and use the usual “favourite” tool in Flickr which will make it easier for you to re-find what you’re after again.

Some of my favourites are below, this time with a tourism and transportation theme… for cultural planners this is an amazing research resource.
Image taken from page 233 of '[Our own country. Descriptive, historical, pictorial.]'

Image taken from page 5 of 'Wensleydale and Swaledale Guide ... Illustrated'

Image taken from page 328 of 'A Text-book of Ore and Stone Mining ... With frontispiece and 716 illustrations'

Image taken from page 313 of 'Pariserliv i Firserne ... Med talrige Illustrationer'

Image taken from page 2 of 'Paterson's Guide Book to England and Wales. With maps and plans ... 1886, etc'

For previous unconventional advent calendar entries see this link.

British Library Flickr images

I have been browsing the new Flickr resources from the British Library, some wonderful things on there, including this great image of Trongate in Glasgow’s Merchant City.

The unconventional advent calendar

I’ve been creating an unconventional advent calendar related to cultural planning

UWS 2013 Cultural Planning Course

I have been playing with devising an alternative advent calendar with a daily cultural planning thought, comment or notable bit of news, as I enjoy making web projects and also wanted to continue reflecting on some of the points which were raised in the course.  My project presentation as part of the course was about considering how to use online tools to make cultural planning accessible and understandable to a wide range of people, I felt that using a thought a day type approach was perhaps one way of doing this so I’m experimenting to see what results.  The cards are designed using the Firefox web maker programme, a free online tool which allows you to create various creative and interactive items for the web (templates are provided for you to remix, where you create half of the page in code then watch the result on the other half…

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Playing with You Tube capture

Today I have been playing with You Tube capture, an app I only recently downloaded (most of my video editing has been done in iMovie or Premier Pro, with the odd session of Final Cut Pro thrown in for good measure).

I find that although you can only do a minimum of editing with the app, it is good for stabilising the video and also trimming the clips. It is also quick to upload via wifi, and you can add the main details such as titles, keywords and privacy levels. It also lets you share directly from the app, which could be handy for quick sharing. I used my iPad mini to record an unlikely Edinburgh Tourist attraction, the great glass elevator in Waverley Station. This gives you a handy panoramic shortcut to get to street level from the station concourse. Not the most conventional of tourist attractions, but worth a look!

Reflections on learning from #Mozfest #mozbug

This weekend I spent quite a lot to time glued to my screen, but I was interacting with people from all over the world through the marvel that is Mozilla Fest. This is a conference and event, celebrating all the things which Mozilla do (the festival ran in London, but I was able to interact via Twitter and also through watching the Keynotes online (live stream video), and audio on SourceFabric).

I deliberately sought out ways to get involved from afar, as I wanted to learn some new things and find out about all the great things which people were doing around the web.  I love projects which integrate analogue and digital elements, I recently did a project which retraced the steps of my family history using illustration, photography, writing and a book on iBooks (look under the tag “are you here” on this blog for more info). With this in mind, when I found out that there was a Mozilla scavenger hunt at the event, which allowed for remote participation, my first challenge was to draw the Mozilla Fest logo:

This was an easy one for me… and a few points!  I also started following others who were taking part and browsed some of the great online info.  The evening keynotes had some really interesting points about the concept of digital natives, yes, many people who have grown up with the internet (and never done homework without it) are comfortable with using all sorts of online platforms and sharing posts with friends, but do people look underneath “the box” and see what is going on?  (Mozilla makes it easy to do this with various online tools such as Webmaker, Thimble and Xray Goggles).  You can view this (and other evening keynotes, including the launch of a new tool called Lightbeam for checking where your data is being shared) here.

That evening I also tried out some code in a collaborative storytelling project.  I am not a natural coder (I know the simple things like embedding codes, changing fonts and links etc, which I have learnt from years of tinkering with things like basic web design editing alongside  WYSIWIG tools as early on as Netscape Composer up to Adobe Muse combined with Dreamweaver but I have never been “taught” it in a structured manner, I’ve just picked things up here and there and like to play with the results, which is why I like Mozilla Webmaker so much as it gives you challenges to remix or start from scratch).  I have not yet made my Github project join up with others, I think I am a little stuck on the terminology at the moment, but one learns over time, so any hints how to make this work, add and collaborate welcome!

The Twitter feed #mozfest was really busy all day, and people were getting creative with the Firefox logo in their coffee:

One off the challenges was find a fox.. soon a new papercraft analogue-digital Firefox will be gracing my desk:

If you would like to make one, there are a few variations on a theme here

I also tried out the challenge on HTML poems, using mixtures of code I know, an HTML cheat sheet from web monkey and the visual interface which highlights things when you make errors (forgetting “/” to end things, or putting things in slightly the wrong place) but also changes as you edit on the right hand side of the screen so you instantly see the results of your input.  It was fun to try and make things rhyme and add the real text to make code.

The next challenge was to open source your food.  As I couldn’t give away a coffee and muffin to a fellow conference attendee, and wanted to do something digital, I used Webmaker postcard creator to make a recipe card.  I uploaded a photo to Flickr, then worked out how to embed this with the instructions in the remixer… I rather like the results and reckon I might send a few more of these.  You can remix it yourself too, it’s open source… go play!

Amazingly, I found myself with a little short lived mozbug glory at the top of the leaderboard at one point.. please don’t think I’m boasting, I just hope others will see more of the project and join in! There’s still time… go to  #Mozbug on Twitter or check out the Mozbug adventures for more details on the challenges.

I am hoping to have a play with some more of the challenges before the end of the day, it has been a lot of fun trying out creative ways to respond to the scavenger hunt, and explore more of the amazing things going on.  Thank you Mozilla and all the volunteer Mozillians for a great interactive weekend of inspiration and web making, but most of all learning through play; I do like a challenge.