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Dr Lewis Sykes is presenting a paper on he Touch: See: Hear project currently underway at LEVEL at the SEEING SOUND conference at Bath Spa University on the 9th of April.


The conference runs for two days and includes installations, performances (including a performance by Lewis) and papers.

Dr Lewis Sykes (Manchester Metropolitan University) – Touch: See: Hear

Supported by an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship, this 13-week, full-time project (February- April 2016) aims to prototype a bespoke, interactive environment for users of the LEVEL Centre – a multimedia arts space in Rowsley, Derbyshire, UK. More than just an immersive multi-sensory experience, this is a distinct art work with a purpose – a tool for individual and group audiovisual composition.

While LEVEL has a wealth of experience and expertise in ‘guided’ creative activities they also have a remit to develop ‘autonomous’ multimedia and creative technologies. Accordingly, they’ve recently initiated the ‘Inter-ACT + Re-ACT’ programme – simple, interactive installations (a current example is a digital ‘hall of mirrors’) that engage people through their journey around the building. No instructions are given and staff just observe the level of reaction and engagement to try and work out who does what and why. Touch:See:Hear responds to key questions raised through this emerging programming – “How might learning disabled adults engage with playful multi-media and multi-sensory environments embedded into the fabric of the building?” and “What unique benefits might this type of activity realise?”

This paper outlines development of the project to date, highlighting: research and theory that informed its conception; issues of interaction and usability; its emerging aesthetics; and key stages within an iterative design process that applies a User Centred Design approach (including significant user testing and analysis) to the development of the installation – all informed through LEVEL’s unique appreciation of the nature of learning disabled adult’s ‘usual’ engagement with interactive multimedia and creative technologies.