[-empyre-] empyre: engagement is all

Gould Charlotte C.E.Gould at salford.ac.uk
Fri Jul 12 05:32:53 EST 2013

Dear empyres   

Speculation around the San Francisco air crash suggests that the accident may have been  mitigated against if the automated system for tracking aircraft height had been activated, so that it was not wholly reliant on (implied) inferior human judgement. So while new technology creates new risks, it also protects us from human infallibility.  

I have spent the day at a seminar on e-learning for employability with a keynote lecture by Mike Ryan, founder and “Digital Futurist” at Fusion Futures Limited, who was commissioned by the UK government to undertake research to determine the impact of future technology on culture. In his introduction he suggested that we are moving towards a future with  “no secrets” so while nanotechnology may bring with it invisible threats, digital culture makes us visible, track-able, measurable. He sites airline pilots and drivers as amongst the existing jobs that will disappear in the future as vehicles are already becoming automated so that one third of existing jobs will go and new jobs will emerge.  The growth areas will be in technology and science, more people will be freelance and unskilled jobs will disappear. Ryan identifies new roles that will emerge over the next decade and a half, which will include body part makers, the nanomedic, the pharmer, the space pilot, vertical farmers, data miners and big data consultants. 

It saddens me to think that our current graduates may not be able to expect to receive a pension. They may have to negotiate five careers throughout their lives, until they eventually retire in their seventies. The disappearance of non-skilled jobs may well result in a greater divide between rich and poor than is already evident. Today on my journey between campuses at Salford this was clearly visible. At MediaCityUK on the grass at lunchtime under the big screen (watching images of the crash in San Francisco) I sat amongst the media and digital technologies professionals then on the bus on the way to main campus, I passed “Salford Shopping City”, where there is a plethora of pound shops and cash generator stores with multiple empty retail spaces. The disparities of wealth within the two environments, less than two miles a part were clearly visible. 

This brings me back to Paul Sermon’s comments about “popups” at ISEA and the idea of the arts as intervention within communities. As we enter a shift in our approach to learning towards a life long model and a flexible approach to future careers how can artists/groups support communities to engage with digital culture and learning in order to enrich the way we experience place? Through “Hub” a popup gallery and innovation space in Salford set up in 2009, we commissioned digital artists and designers to develop projects, which aimed to support the regeneration of Salford. http://creativetechnology.salford.ac.uk/hub/index.html. 
One of the projects “Zombie Nation” http://creativetechnology.salford.ac.uk/hub/week5.html took place in Eccles shopping Centre as part of the “Eccles Festival” (this is an area that has been hard hit by the recession.) Developed and presented by “Lets Go Global”. This was a pervasive game in which a group of zombies had taken over the shopping centre and youth groups “Salford Lads Club” and “Global Youth” as well as the general public aimed to solve the clues with the aid of digital technologies. Professional make-up artists were employed to make-up participants as zombies for the day. The game-play was filmed by the participants and edited in a pop-up editing suite, set up inside an empty shop. University of Salford students worked with the Lets Go Global team as technical support, helping the participants to film the activities and performance students played characters within the game. The aim was to offer young people and the wider community the opportunity to consider future careers in digital media but also to change the way that we engage within the urban environment though digital media. 

The spirit of the pop-up as flexible, responsive to environment, engaging with community, collaborative, interdisciplinary, sharing, DIY is in-keeping with the kinds of key skills that our future learners, the digital natives, will embrace as they navigate their future culture. 



Charlotte Gould
Programme Leader | BA Hons Graphic Design
G08, Allerton Studios, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT
t: +44 (0) 295 6079
c.e.gould at salford.ac.uk | www.salford.ac.uk

From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Gary Warner [gwarner at cdpmedia.com.au]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:41 AM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] empyre: engagement is all

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