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Train and Engage
Winners of Train and Engage funding announced
8th Sep 2017
UCL Culture is committed to the development of UCL staff and students, and firmly believes that Public Engagement can be a major contributor to this development. Train and Engage is a program designed to do just this, giving UCL research students training in the theory of public engagement, along with practical tips for running a project. Upon completing the training, students have the opportunity to bid for up to £1,000 to make these projects happen.In the past, the program has funded over 50 project leaders, who have gone on to continue their career in research, gain promotion, and use their new skills to work on other projects in a variety of contexts.[[{"fid":"5627","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20at%20Ruth%20Slatter%26rsquo%3Bs%20%26lsquo%3B200%20Years%20of%20Methodism%20in%20Stoke%20Newington%26rsquo%3B%20project.%20%26copy%3B%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20at%20Ruth%20Slatter%26rsquo%3Bs%20%26lsquo%3B200%20Years%20of%20Methodism%20in%20Stoke%20Newington%26rsquo%3B%20project.%20%26copy%3B%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"667","width":"1000","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]We are proud to announce the winners of 2016/17 grants and to welcome our newest cohort of funded PhD students. Nine project leaders have been funded, and will be working with public groups on projects linked to festivals, playgrounds, infant development, herbal medicine, photosynthesis and much more. The information on each of the project leaders and a summary of their project is available to download.[[{"fid":"5635","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Train and Engage","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EMaddison%20Coke%20and%20team%20at%20Green%20Man%20Festival%202016%2C%20with%20%23challengeMartha%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Train and Engage","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EMaddison%20Coke%20and%20team%20at%20Green%20Man%20Festival%202016%2C%20with%20%23challengeMartha%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"720","width":"960","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]The next training sessions for Train and Engage will be in the spring term and the next funding deadline will be in June 2018. You can find more information on Train and Engage here. For announcements and information about Train and Engage and other funding opportunities for public engagement projects you can also sign up to our newsletter.
Chicken
The Museum of Ordinary Animals
7th Sep 2017
[[{"fid":"5555","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Ordinary Animals","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Ordinary Animals","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"605","width":"1400","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]Dogs, pigeons, cats, cows, chickens and mice - The Museum of Ordinary Animals tells the story of the boring beasts that have changed our world.We tend to take these animals for granted since they are such a normal part of our lives, but these often overlooked creatures have had a profound impact on humanity and the natural world. In this free exhibition, we’ll be investigating where they came from, and the extraordinary things we have learned from them.[[{"fid":"5543","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Dog nose","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Dog nose","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"640","width":"960","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]The exhibition will include a wide range of objects exploring archaeology, art, zoology and the history of science, and will feature stories from cutting-edge research taking place at University College London that investigates 'Ordinary Animals' in the wider contexts of culture and the environment. Exhibits include a wall of 4000 mice skeletons hand-collected from islands across the world; a brand new (ethically sourced) taxidermy chicken; famous animal-based artworks from UCL Art Museum’s collection; and Egyptian cat mummies and what may be the world’s oldest veterinary text, on loan from The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.[[{"fid":"5559","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Lucky cats","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Lucky cats","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"643","width":"1024","class":"media-element file-medium"}}]]“Ordinary Animals are everywhere, and the ways they interact with our lives are endless and varied”, said Jack Ashby, Manager of the Grant Museum, “We have invited them into our homes as pets; their role in our diets has changed us biologically; they are critical to modern medicine and they hold huge symbolic value in many cultures. This exhibition aims to shed light on the profound ways that these familiar creatures have changed both the human and natural worlds”. [[{"fid":"5539","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Pigeon skeleton","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Pigeon skeleton","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EPigeon%20Skeleton%26nbsp%3B%3Cb%3E%3Cfont%3E%3Cfont%3E%26copy%3B%26nbsp%3B%3C%2Ffont%3E%3C%2Ffont%3E%3C%2Fb%3EUCL%26nbsp%3B%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Pigeon skeleton","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Pigeon skeleton","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EPigeon%20Skeleton%26nbsp%3B%3Cb%3E%3Cfont%3E%3Cfont%3E%26copy%3B%26nbsp%3B%3C%2Ffont%3E%3C%2Ffont%3E%3C%2Fb%3EUCL%26nbsp%3B%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"683","width":"1024","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]"Before humans, there were no 'Ordinary Animals'. We created them – either physically, through the process of domestication; or conceptually, through the ways we consider common wild species.” We hope you'll join us in giving these animals the attention they deserve! Check out more about the exhibition and linked events.[[{"fid":"5547","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"mouse","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"mouse","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"467","width":"960","class":"media-element file-large"}}]] 
Liz Pellicano
Provost's Awards Spotlight: Promoting wellbeing of autistic young people
7th Sep 2017
One of the highlights in the UCL public engagement year is the Provost's Awards for Public Engagement. This takes place every year in the spring and recognises the fantastic work that UCL's staff and students do to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world by engaging with communities.There were seven winners earlier in the year – which you can read about here but we had over fifty nominations from across UCL.  With such a wealth of projects, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to shout about this work – which is all amazing.   So we decided to run this new news feature - the Provost Awards Spotlight.  This feature will run throughout the rest of the year in the run up to the next Awards, and will tell the stories of these individuals using their platform at UCL to mobilise, inspire and amplify.[[{"fid":"5459","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Everyone's normal is different","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Everyone's normal is different","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"281","width":"500","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]What would you define as normal behaviour? And if someone described you as being normal would you think that was a good or a bad thing anyway? Everyone’s definition is unique, and it was exactly this idea behind a brilliant public engagement project to help young autistic people with their mental health.Know Your Normal was the result of the partnership between Professor Liz Pellicano of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) and charity Ambitious about Autism. Their research project set out to help promote an understanding of what wellbeing looks like for autistic children and young people. [[{"fid":"5487","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"CRAE and Ambitious about Autism","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EProfessor%20Liz%20Pellicano%20and%26nbsp%3BDr%20Laura%20Crane%20of%20CRAE%2C%20Jack%20and%20Georgia%20from%20Ambitious%20about%20Autism%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"CRAE and Ambitious about Autism","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EProfessor%20Liz%20Pellicano%20and%26nbsp%3BDr%20Laura%20Crane%20of%20CRAE%2C%20Jack%20and%20Georgia%20from%20Ambitious%20about%20Autism%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"771","width":"1878","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]“We worked with a team of young autistic people, from the charity Ambitious about Autism, to carry out an important piece of research on mental health in young autistic adults (16-25 years). The young people selected the topic of the research, decided how they wanted to research it, and took an active role in analysing and reporting the findings – all under the guidance of the CRAE team. The resulting report, co-authored by CRAE and the young people themselves, highlighted high levels of mental health problems in young autistic adults. It also called for better support for young autistic people, to help them identify that they are experiencing mental health problems, as well as more initiatives to reduce stigma associated with autism and mental health, and greater autistic involvement in service design and delivery.” – Liz Pellicano[[{"fid":"5479","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Crisps in size order","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Crisps in size order","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"281","width":"500","class":"media-element file-medium"}}]]Autism is not a mental health condition, yet a staggering 70-80% of children and adults on the autism spectrum have experienced mental health problems. Liz and her team conducted interviews with young autistic adults to try to identify why that connection exists. Liz found, “Many young people felt that these problems stemmed from the pressure to act “normal” in a “neurotypical” world (the world of non-autistic people). As one young person told us: “If somebody who wasn’t autistic grew up being excluded, bullied, and pressured to be something that they are not, they would very likely develop the same conditions.”At a presentation event earlier this year, Fern from the charity explained how confusing even professionals can find diagnosis, “Many of us have experiences of our ‘normal’ being mistaken for mental health issues, while many of us have had mental health issues and have been told it’s just part of being autistic, and it’s been dismissed”.Since the Provost Awards in February for which Liz’s project was nominated, the collaboration between CRAE and Ambitious about Autism has gone on to create a digital toolkit to identify mental health issues. This video explains how to use it.[[{"fid":"5463","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Know Your Normal","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Know Your Normal","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1005","width":"1860","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Finding solutions like this would not be possible without such close collaboration with the users themselves. Liz told us, “We have worked towards making sure that autistic people and their families are more involved in the decisions that shape their lives – including the type of research that gets done. My own belief is that we need to listen more to the people that we ‘study’ and that we need to work together to make the research that we do really count. Persuading all of my scientific colleagues to reach out in this way can sometimes be difficult. But I’ll keep trying.”[[{"fid":"5467","view_mode":"small","fields":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Liz Pellicano","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Liz Pellicano","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1500","width":"1000","class":"media-element file-small"}}]]It’s also a question of sharing those unique findings with a wider community. Since research of this type and quality is in short supply, spreading the word becomes important too.“Our aim at CRAE is to make sure that people on the ground - autistic people, their families and friends, educators, clinicians, and the wider public - hear about the results of studies just like this one. To this end, we give talks to professionals and parents, highlighting the results - in this case, the alarmingly high rates of mental health problems in young autistic adults and their negative experiences of the (mental) healthcare system. For example, I gave a talk last week to the Hackney Autism Alliance Board, a partnership board consisting of stakeholder representatives (autistic adults, parents, local councillors, professionals) set up by Hackney Council and City and Hackney CCG in response to the Autism Act 2009. They are developing an Autism Strategy for children, young people and adults in Hackney - and so they were keen to the Know your Normal findings and how they might better serve the mental health needs of young people in their borough”.This sense of urgency was emphasized by Fern from Ambitious about Autism, who said “What autistic people deserve needs to become something we don’t just talk about here, or something that’s only tweeted about tonight, or something that is just presented in research findings to show what we’re not achieving. Instead what young autistic people deserve is for active changes to take place so that we can identify mental health issues when they occur, be taken seriously by professionals in mental health services and get support that works and helps us return to our normal”.You can read a full report of the Know Your Normal project here, and listen to a conversation about the project between Professor Liz Pellicano, Dr Laura Crane (also of CRAE) and Georgia and Jack from Ambitious about Autism here.Finally, if you are a young person with autism and want to join the discussion with Ambitious about Autism, you can find out about their Youth Council events here. 
UCL Culture postcards
Coming to a letterbox near you!
6th Sep 2017
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Close Protection
An Extension of the Eye: The Impact of Surveillance Technologies
31st Aug 2017
This week UCL Culture News features a takeover by Oliver Patel, Manager of the UCL European Institute and Research Assistant for UCL Grand Challenges. Oliver holds an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from LSE and a BA in Politics and East European Studies from UCL.Over the next three articles, Oliver will be reflecting on on our Transformative Technologies festival which happened back in June. The programme of events was fuelled by UCL research exploring the power of technology, and its potential to radically reshape the world we live in. So let's dive in and see what he found![[{"fid":"5391","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Close Protection","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"An Extension of the Eye: The Impact of Surveillance Technologies","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EClose%20Protection%20by%20Graham%20Gussin%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Close Protection","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"An Extension of the Eye: The Impact of Surveillance Technologies","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EClose%20Protection%20by%20Graham%20Gussin%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"675","width":"1200","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]The device you are reading this on knows everything about you: everywhere you go, everyone you’ve loved and everything you want to do. By extension, a whole host of organisations and individuals also have access to this information. In the digital age, privacy is ostensibly non-existent; a relic of the past. The question is, do you care? If you did, then you probably wouldn’t be using this device. Or maybe you do care, and you’ve changed your behaviour accordingly. These days, everyone seems to know how little privacy they have. But does it change the way they act? Does it change how they view themselves and those around them? Does it change who they are? These are the questions which UCL Slade artist Graham Gussin explores in his piece: Close Protection. This piece was the focal point of one of the most thought-provoking events in the Transformative Technologies Festival - An Extension of the Eye: The Impact of Surveillance Technologies. [[{"fid":"4759","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"An extension of the eye projected image","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"An extension of the eye projected image","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"2520","width":"3780","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]This intriguing event, which took place in the grand surroundings of UCL’s Art Museum, displayed Gussin’s piece throughout the day, enabling students, staff and other passers-by to engage with this excellent piece of work as they pleased. Close Protection is a three-screen video work which shows dancers elegantly gliding across a somewhat surreal and eerie external environment - a ‘false village’ in a UK army base deep in the South of England. (The village was built for training purposes, to replicate combat environments in Afghanistan.) The entire piece was filmed at night, in pitch black darkness, using sophisticated military grade night vision cameras. Gussin said that he was interested in seeing whether the fact that it was filmed in the darkness, with night vision cameras, impacted on the way in which the dancers performed. The result was a visually stunning and fascinating work of art, replete with absorbing and thoughtful contrast, from the graininess of the video and the rugged army village, to the precision of the dancers and the elegance of their movement. For those of us lucky enough to attend the evening event, we were treated to an intimate discussion with the artist himself. Gussin first spoke about the work; his ideas behind it, how it was made and what it means to him. All the while, the work was playing in the background. To be precise, we sat with the artist around a large table, with the three screens surrounding us. It is not often that one is able to observe a work of art and ask the artist questions about it simultaneously. This was a real treat, seized upon by the eager and engaged audience.[[{"fid":"5395","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Close Protection","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"An Extension of the Eye: The Impact of Surveillance Technologies","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EClose%20Protection%20by%20Graham%20Gussin%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Close Protection","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"An Extension of the Eye: The Impact of Surveillance Technologies","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EClose%20Protection%20by%20Graham%20Gussin%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"679","width":"1200","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Gussin explained that he wanted to explore whether the dancers behaved as if they were being watched, and whether they danced differently because it was filmed in darkness. He also wanted to demonstrate that such surveillance technologies represent an extension of the human body, as they enable us to see in the dark. Although Gussin wasn’t making any explicit arguments about the merits or dangers associated with surveillance technologies, he wanted the piece to stimulate discussion on the issue, which it certainly did. The participants discussed a range of privacy-related issues with the artist, such as how surveillance technologies are changing the way the way we act and think, and whether we are increasingly willing to sacrifice privacy for convenience and other benefits. An Extension of the Eye: The Impact of Surveillance Technologies was an extremely successful event. As well as taking in a fascinating work of art and engaging with the artist, participants left with a clearer sense of the ways in which surveillance technologies are encroaching upon our privacy and changing the world.All image credits: The artist and Art South Collaborations
Big Data Sing
Big Data Sing
30th Aug 2017
This week UCL Culture News features a takeover by Oliver Patel, Manager of the UCL European Institute and Research Assistant for UCL Grand Challenges. Oliver holds an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from LSE and a BA in Politics and East European Studies from UCL.Over the next three articles, Oliver will be reflecting on on our Transformative Technologies festival which happened back in June. The programme of events was fuelled by UCL research exploring the power of technology, and its potential to radically reshape the world we live in. So let's dive in and see what he found![[{"fid":"5371","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"600","width":"900","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Data is ubiquitous in the digital age. Virtually everything we do, both online and offline, is measured, recorded and stored as data. Information about the messages you send, the websites you visit, the videos you watch, the food you buy, the trains you take, is sitting in a large data set somewhere, being used by someone - probably to make money. The unfathomable amount of data which is generated each day has become the most valuable resource in the world; it is the currency which fuels the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon. The explosion of big data sets - and the tools we have at our disposal to analyse them - presents serious challenges and ethical quandaries, as well as great opportunities for advancement. Through debate, discussion and music, Big Data Sing explored these important issues, in what proved to be a fun, engaging and insightful evening for all involved.Situated in the majestic Grant Museum of Zoology, appropriately surrounded by centuries worth of data collected by natural scientists (stored in glass boxes as opposed to Dropbox), participants were treated to a banquet style setting complete with food, wine and entertainment. Throughout the evening, the Big Data Choir performed a number of big data related renditions. Songs about the opaque and mysterious nature of cloud storage solutions, and the ridiculous number of zeros associated with various units of data storage (yottabyte, anyone?) were among the most amusing hits, and provided a welcome respite from the mind-boggling topics being discussed.[[{"fid":"5379","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"600","width":"900","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]The audience was also treated to insightful talks from two UCL scientists. Dr David Barber from UCL’s Computer Science department opened proceedings with a talk about big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. He stressed that most advancements in artificial intelligence, such as search engines and self-driving cars, are driven by big data. However, big data is meaningless without big computing (i.e. enhanced computer power to process the data). Second, Dr Li Wei from the UCL School of Pharmacy spoke about the indispensable role that access to personally sensitive big data sets plays in her research. She explained that without access to medical data about the types of painkillers patients take, her team might not have established that there is a causal link between painkillers with higher sodium content and increased risk of hypertension.[[{"fid":"5375","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Big Data Sing","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"600","width":"900","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]These fascinating talks about the future of artificial intelligence and the use of personal data sparked heated debate amongst participants, who were encouraged to share ideas throughout the evening. Questions debated by the audience included how much privacy should be given up for the sake of scientific advancement, how many people should self-driving cars be allowed to kill before being considered too dangerous, and whether an advanced security safe is a better place for private documents than Google Drive. The diversity of the audience ensured for an interesting discussion, in which everyone got involved. All in all, Big Data Sing was one of the highlights of the Transformative Technologies Festival. The mixture of academic discussion, debate and music proved to be a hit, and the audience members went home with enhanced understanding of a defining feature of the modern world: big data.
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