Helix Arts

Jon Hook presenting

How can creative technologies help people re-build their lives after challenging experiences?

SiDE is working with the creative charity Helix Arts to explore how new forms of digital technology can help more people get involved in arts activities, from video editing to creative writing. The project is designed to give participants an opportunity to be creative, to express themselves and to improve their well-being through art.

Researchers worked with disadvantaged people from the community, running participatory workshops over a 15-week period. Activities included creating diaries of daily activities using audio recorders using Autographer automatic wearable cameras, and using those images to inspire their artwork and writing. Participants also took part in Diary Room 2.0, in which they were asked to describe what various photos meant to them, and their words were overlaid on the images themselves.

The artwork created in the workshop – as well as the data collected from it – were stored on a private project website.

Researchers also developed technologies to support the participatory workshops and enable them to capture interesting data. The Something Just Happened camera is a capture system which allows someone to store the previous 30 seconds of footage by pressing a button. The device allowed users to capture something that had just occurred, but also sparked discussion as to why it was worth recording.

Helix Arts was set up to allow at risk and vulnerable people to access creative activities, such as animation, writing, design, photography and dance. Its work with SiDE is focused on developing a suite of digital technologies that allow participants to document and reflect on their experiences of taking part in creative projects, and to make the benefits of these projects visible to a larger public.

Contact Us

Jonathan Hook (jonathan.hook@ncl.ac.uk)