NetPark: Research & Development Report

Frauke Behrendt, Karolina Doughty, Simon Poulter, Colette Bailey, Josephine Reid

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The aim of NetPark was to test the potential for artists, researchers and developers to create an extensible and mobile experience that connects to public spaces as a dynamic locative experience. Additionally, the project aimed to explore the educational potential of Netpark by creating educational works in collaboration with local school children. As a funded R&D project, NetPark was a collaboration between the arts organisation Metal, the mobile app development company Calvium, and researchers at the University of Brighton. This report presents the process and results of creating a free public digital arts park in Chalkwell Park, Southend-on-Sea, where Metal has its base. Five artists were commissioned to create digital artwork to be experienced by the general public in the park, supported by Metal and Calvium. Jamie Gledhill created the augmented reality project ‘Talking Trees’ utilising the Junaio browser; Rosie Poebright created ‘ Run to Flight’ a locative audio app using GPS; Joel Cahen created ‘ The Oneironaut’ where users experience a narrated dream and contention of reality; Mark Grist and DJ Mixy (Michael Riccardi) created ‘ The Spoken Word Tours’ - a series of performance and musical works based on observations of park users, also including work with school children as performance poetry. Finally, Metal commissioned music duo Matmos to create a new sound work app, where the artists sampled sounds from the park and made new musical works. In addition to the commissioned artists, five local primary schools took part in a series of eight-week long workshops to create locative story apps for younger visitors to the park, in collaboration with professional authors and illustrators. The researchers at the University of Brighton’s School of Arts, Design and Media collected and analysed research material, including interviews and observations, that provided insights into stakeholder issues related to the project delivery, the perspective of makers on creating locative media art, the user experience of artworks in the form of locative media apps, and the educational aspect of creating works with schools. The key insights are: * NetPark is a creative response to the challenges local authorities face around public spaces and parks, drawing on opportunities of the digital and creative economy, to establish a process for artistic and educational creation as well as stakeholder engagement. * NetPark shows how the combination of the park setting park with digital, mobile and locative technologies facilitates new user experiences and engages new audiences. * Engaging local school children in locative media creation for NetPark has a range of educational opportunities and benefits. * Understanding the user experience and the educational opportunities of NetPark can inform further engagement with diverse communities. * Curating and maintaining NetPark is an important part of its strategy and follows the setting-up process. * The NetPark Toolkit contains guidance and resources on the process of commissioning, producing and maintaining both locative digital art works and locative educational digital works in public outdoor spaces. * The NetPark projects makes a contribution to the long-term development of public space in a digital age.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLondon: NESTA
Number of pages57
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015


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