Thursday, 11 May 2017

Site visit - Story World, The Word, South Shields

This morning anthropologist David Dupuis and I had a fascinating meeting with Richard Barber, Cultural Development Officer at South Tyneside Council and Mike Hamilton Strategic ICT Manager at The Word, National Centre for the written word in South Shields.

We are beginning to work on an audio-visual installation that will be exhibited at The Word in April 2018, and the meeting today was specifically to get access to the room where the installation will take place and get an idea of the facilities that can be used. This is no ordinary room, in the Story World space it is possible to create a 360 degree surround sound and visual experience.

Today we saw it being used to full effect with a group of school children. The students were really impressed, as were we!

The visuals can be projected on all walls in the rooms, helping to create the atmosphere of actually being in the environment depicted in the scene. For example, space imagery can be used to transport you into space! With 5 projectors, there are various possibilities in terms of screening photographs or static images alongside moving image, using all or a selection of the walls, repeating images around the space, having different images appear at different times on different walls and so forth.

The room has proven to be very popular with school groups who have been doing creative writing exercises in there. The pupils write as they sit in the projected landscape listening to sounds from that specific scene. Teachers have commented how much the quality of the student's writing has improved since using the Story World facilities.

I am excited and really pleased to be using the space in a less conventional way, and am ever so grateful to the staff at the Word who are ever so helpful and enthusiastic.

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