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Introducing our second round of Connected Innovators

This week we welcome four new projects to Connected Innovators, which is supporting creatives in growing their practice in a data-driven way.

Part of the wider Creative Informatics programme, Connected Innovators supports emerging leaders who want to incorporate social impact into their practice. The selected creatives have applied for up to £10,000 funding for research and development or professional development around data and data-driven innovation.

The selected participants in the second round of Connected Innovators are:

Sara Robertson and Sarah Taylor for their research into smart textiles, in particular on the design and use of light emitting lace within a theatre and performance context.

"Through this project we aim to find more sustainable approaches to working with technology driven materials and craft processes through a creative and more focused approach to transforming data. Through collaboration with theatre and performance experts the project provides the opportunity to learn and develop an understanding of how they work with data and think about data as part of their creative process. Our goal is to extend our use of data beyond the materials themselves, creating lively and characterful experiences that can engage an audience, exploring how materials can be imbued with data that extends beyond them.

Kate Steenhauer for Painting Music, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create music from live painted drawings.

"This research and development project began in 2018 in collaboration with AI developers Dr. Starkey and Jack Caven from Aberdeen University. The AI algorithm is based on the type of learning used by the human brain. It exploits areas of similarity within the two distinct artforms to respond to the live-painted elements and produce musical notes that reflect the development of the evolving artwork. A portable standalone and autonomous system will be engineered in collaboration with art studio Ray Interactive to enable live broadcasting of the artist’s practice to audiences and creatives through any physical and digital platform."

Civic Digits for their project The Data Driven Actor, which explores the use of data and motorised emojis to create live performance with young people.

"I’m going to use this Connected Innovator funding to support research and development for Civic Digits’ second project, ‘bad actor’, and to up-skill so that I can use Vizblocks, a tangible data visualisation kit. As part of our first project The Big Data Show we used Vizblocks to create a ‘Build Your Own Motorised Emoji’ workshop, where young people were able to explore data as a creative material. They used their facial data or weather data to create characters and stories. The idea of this project is to develop the ‘motorised emoji’ into a more expressive ‘data driven actor’: a Vizblocks robot that can be fed with data, potentially live, and as part of a performance and integrated into a performance written by the young people, about their safety and security online."

Mairi Lowe for Sustainable Fashion Scotland, which is looking to connect Scotland's fashion industry to look for achievable climate action solutions together.

"Sustainable Fashion Scotland (SFS) is a community-led social venture with the mission to connect the fashion community in Scotland and facilitate a sustainable fashion transformation. The Connected Innovators fund will give our small but dedicated team one of the most important resources - time. Time to effectively drive forward our transformative vision led by data. We view our role as a facilitator of change, meaning we act as a convener and connector of our community. We will be gathering lived experiences from the fashion community in Scotland, creating spaces to encourage participation and co-creation, learning and adapting our actions through analysis of this live data, and experimenting with collective action initiatives to identify and understand what the most impactful opportunities for change are in Scotland's fashion landscape."

We also say good bye to our first cohort of Connected Innovators this week, who have spent the past six months researching and developing their ideas. Read about the first nine Connected Innovators projects here.

Picture: Lit lace example part of Sara Robertson and Sarah Taylor's Smart Textiles research.

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