Ravensbourne currently hosts a wide range of Research Projects, from the multi-partner European Horizon 2020 project WEKIT to internally funded small grants for staff.
All of them arise from our collaborative ethos and the many interests of our colleagues, who are working in varied areas across design, communication and digital creativity.
On these pages we are showcasing both current and historic projects that demonstrate our work.
The current phase of the Data Walking research project is to collect environmental data while walking around North Greenwich, to build a rich picture of that area over time. There will be one walk per month for the twelve months of 2016 and open to anyone who wants to join and explore the area, develop ideas on data gathering techniques and the field of data visualisation.
By David Hunter
Driverless cars (GATEway 2030)
As part of an exciting collaboration between Ravensbourne, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and Royal Borough of Greenwich, young designers showcase their visions of a re-imagined Greenwich Peninsula with the introduction of driverless cars. Ravensbourne continue in a longstanding reputation of nurturing design talent by inviting students to take inspiration from the TRL-led GATEway project to propose their own model of driverless vehicle. GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is an £8 million funded research project based in Greenwich with the aim of helping industry and policymakers to understand the implications of automated vehicles in the urban environment.
OurOwnsKIN investigates how human foot skin is structured and behaves to inspire the design of the material and construction of footwear. The research was initially funded by Ravensbourne, won external funding from MV works program at Makerversity and from this have been awarded Innovate UK Arts and Technology Pilot Program funding.The project has been collaborative with artist Rhian Solomon whose work focuses on facilitating knowledge transfer and co-design activities between reconstructive surgical specialists, designers and patient groups and Manolis Papastavrou, a parametric, 3D print technologies, medical device, product designer.
By Liz Ciokajlo
Frankenstein is a collaboration between Dr James Morris and John Gulliver at Ravensbourne with Marty St James, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire. It’s a multimedia project blending user-generated content with portraiture around the theme of contemporary identity, reflected through the lens of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and timed to coincide with the latter’s bicentenary. Everyone has some part of a monster inside them, and everyone’s personality is made up of elements stitched together from disparate life experiences. That’s one of the key messages of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. So when creating our Frankenstein for the 21st Century, this was an important consideration. In an era that is rife with social media, we now build up the personality we want the world to see from a series of self-portraits or “selfies” blended with images taken by others into which we are tagged. To this end, we are building an app that has the primary function of collecting selfies, but also integrates features allowing the user’s own selfies to be blended with those of others, either a collection of friends or complete strangers. The tool allows the user to select selfies from their own collection and construct a composite monster using a different person as the origin for each body part – an ear from one person, a nose from another, eyes from another, and so on. Alternatively, these can be selected automatically from the global image database we are building, either completely at random or according to certain regional criteria. In collaboration with Streaming Museum, these portraits will be projected on giant public screens all over the world.
Ubiquitous Wearing: Camouflage for a Virtual Landscape
Ubiquitous Wearing is one of our long term ongoing projects. Triggered by the MARPAT, a pixelated camouflage pattern used by many armed forces, we grew curious to understand the impact that virtual environments will have on our garments and the way that we will make them perform for machines rather then for humans.
We researched and analysed the look, materials and functions of camouflage patterns before we designed four alternative patterns that would not only incorporate a disguising function for enhanced vision systems such as thermo- and nightvision but would reflect on the surroundings and the landscape that influences their pattern: while the well-known woodland pattern takes its inspiration from the bark of a tree, we referenced the surveilling view of a drone using arial images as a starting point.
Each of our developed patterns reacts to a different vision system, and lastly brought us to question wether our aesthetic understanding of the world around us will soon be including factors such as temperature and motion as ingredients for design – enhancing not only our vision but the commonly used properties of colour, material and shape.
In a first iteration, we collated research and pattern-developments in form of a broadsheet publication, while the prints we developed have formed into distinct but still historically referencing materials, but will only come to full expression when viewed with a distinct imaging system:
As we are working on this project, we discover more and more intriguing factors and develop not only the reactive materials further but understand more about the overall impact of the virtual on the everyday and the human perception of others, the self and the machine as a system that will change basic human experiences and evalutaions of our surroundings.
Hence we have decided to stage the project as a participatory performance that will turn its audience in ‘Surveillor’ or ‘Surveilled’ and will engage with a rather playful though meaningful inquiry: how will human-machine interaction change our perception of the self and the body? Will we start to disguise or will we dress up for machines?
Link to website
Towards a Black Film Pedagogy
This paper explores the politics of race in the teaching and learning of Film Studies in British universities. It interrogates the notion of black film pedagogy and argues that it is essential to develop models of teaching and learning that address the disadvantages that black students encounter, compared to their peers, both during their studies and after, in terms of their graduate employment prospects.
Universities are under increasing external pressure to remove the disadvantages and raise the achievement levels of BME students. This pressure results from a rapidly changing political and financial environment and from new policy developments, such as the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Given that one of the TEF’s stated aims is to ‘improve teaching quality to reduce variability’, there is a risk that such measures are devised to bring about positive change, but they may detract from or even undermine the necessity to focus on how individual subjects are taught and the variety of ways in which students thrive and learn. A definition of black film pedagogy, like that of black film itself, will remain contested. Nevertheless, black film pedagogy must develop beyond traditional models, in which black films are peripheral to the core curriculum. Using evidence from policy documents, comparative analysis of Film Studies courses, case studies of innovative practice and interviews with students, the paper outlines a possible framework for a more inclusive and effective black film pedagogy: one that places an emphasis on the variability of the learner, on identity and reception, as much as on the film text itself.
1. The outcomes of this research project are:
Stage one outcome: presentation of project and first stage outcomes at ‘Black Film. British Cinema’ conference, ICA/Goldsmiths, 18/19 May 2017.
Stage two outcome: framework for good practice in improving achievement for BAME students in Film disciplines for good practice and workshop, disseminated nationally.
2. Many factors may impact on BAME achievement.
Our focus is on classroom based teaching and learning practice and pedagogy in undergraduate Film courses at a variety of universities (London-based for stage one; national for stage two).
interviews with CLs + questionnaires to students