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Material Design Meets AI

About the project

Material Design meets AI is an interactive playground installation that explores the use of materials, design and art to introduce teachings on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The installation draws on surrounding landscapes of east London and insight gathered from creative workshops delivered at Hackney Quest Youth Centre. The project intends to make AI accessible to the communities underrepresented in AI careers whilst demonstrating the ability of materials to enrich learning experiences.   

Material Design is not situated in one specific area of design. It is fluid, experimental, dynamic and constantly challenging the way we see materials, the environment, policy and economics. The installation promotes material literacy education to fosters an understanding of the basics of how we treat material resources and build a society of future industry professionals who are concerned about the way we treat the earth’s resources. 

AI is a fast-emerging technology which increasingly impacts most people’s lives. However, many of the people who use AI are excluded from the research and development in the field, in particular women and people of colour are significantly underrepresented. This leads to discrimination and bias in the AI systems produced. This project hopes to open this field to a wider community and demonstrate a new way of teaching AI through art, materials and design.  

The earlier stage of the project began as a series of conversations between Ella Bulley, Material Designer and Amy Widdecombe, AI PhD student at University College London UCL. Ella has translated the conversations into a series of creative workshops that were delivered at Hackney Quest Youth centre, introducing the subject of AI to a younger audience as well as the prospects of a career within the technology and design fields. The creative workshops were centred on introducing materiality and design whilst teaching elements if AI, such as coding in the form of patterns and categorisation techniques.   

About the artist

young black woman with long dark hair and white t-shirt stands against white wall and looks slightly off camera
Ella Bulley is a Material Designer based in London, creating work that frequently crosses the realms of textiles, product, art and set design. Interests in material exploration developed whilst enrolled at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design, where she completed the MA Material Futures (formerly MA Textile Futures) in 2014. Using contextual research and material experiments intersected with artisan techniques to direct her design approach, it becomes a tool to transform the raw into the refined. The design outcomes whether objects or experiences, narrate the craft process, material research and explored themes of historical, social and cultural movements. Ella is a Designer in Residence Alumni at the Design Museum, London. Her work has gone on to be exhibited at London Design Festival, Milan Design Week, Tendence, Ambiente, Sommerset House and the Design Museum, London. Ella was also listed as Crafts Councils design graduates to watch 2014 and 'Project Saccharum’ was awarded the ‘Form 2015: Innovative Craft’ award for the use of sugarcane as a material.

Join the festival

Free, Open daily: 
The Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, E3 4QY
29 April - 8 May, 11:00 - 18:00

NO BOOKING NEEDED. More details on the location and accessibility.


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