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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J005215/1
Title: Dream Fellowship: Inspiration, Immersion and Impact with the Creative Industries
Principal Investigator: Benford, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Computer Science
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2011 Ends: 30 April 2015 Value (£): 198,490
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Graphics & Visual. Digital Art & Design
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Creative Industries
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Computers have evolved from being tools for workplace productivity to being fundamental enablers of creativity, culture, entertainment and sociability. They have also diversified in form, breaking away from the desktop to become mobile, wearable, embedded and immersive. In response, researchers have proposed alternative visions of how we will interact with computers in the future from immersing ourselves in the fantastic virtual worlds of games and online social environments on the one hand, to enhancing our everyday activities through ubiquitous computing on the other.

While these visions have often been articulated as competing with one another - ubiquitous computing was proposed as the antithesis of virtual reality - I take a different view. In a forthcoming book to be published by MIT Press, I argue for a more holistic view of the user experience as something that extends over multiple real and virtual spaces, timescales and diverse forms of interface, and yet maintains an overall coherence. Experiences such as visiting a gallery, museum or theme-park, taking a holiday or business trip, buying a house, or maintaining a friendship over many years, need to be designed as continuous threads - or trajectories - that interweave with one another and with those of other people. Designing these future user experiences, however, also requires a fundamental transformation in our underlying methods, extending them to encompass radical new approaches to creativity that draw on perspectives from the arts alongside those from science, engineering and the social sciences.

From Xerox PARC's pioneering residency scheme onwards, many laboratories and companies have turned to the skills and creativity of artists to catalyse research and design. Over the past decade, I have evolved a distinctive approach to working with performance artists who bring a particular expertise in the design and delivery of live experiences. My approach is artist-led, in that it gives artists creative control over the form of the experience, and practice-led, in that it revolves around the iterative creation and study of experiences that tour the globe. While this approach has already delivered landmark artworks alongside award-winning scientific papers and attracted widespread attention in the research community, it has so far only been applied to a relatively narrow genre of experiences. The challenge now is to apply it on an industrial scale across the creative industries and into the mainstream beyond in order to transform the computing industry's approach to designing user experiences.

My fellowship will tackle this challenge head on by facilitating a personal transformation in which I will immerse myself within key industry partners in order to broaden my experience and perspective. The outcomes will be to:

- Articulate an overarching research agenda for creative computing over the next ten years

- Establish the foundations of the artist- and practice- led creative methods that are required to deliver this on an industrial scale

- Ensure the impact of this research by grounding it in a deep appreciation of industry needs

- Establish close relationships with key industry partners to underpin future collaborations

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk