Poems for Doctorsis a collaboration between Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) and the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews. For that project over about three years I made a collection of 28 video readings of poems from an anthology about experiences in healthcare. The readings were (mostly) not given by their authors, but by medical professionals working in the NHS, who also explained why they chose the particular poem that they read. All of this went online via a blog, and various social media postings.
As the project recently moved into a slightly different phase it seemed an ideal point at which to prepare a summary report on work done so far. I think it’s often very useful to have a document like this to refer to, and to help interested parties quickly gain an idea the scope of what has been achieved.
In the report I used combined colour elements from two publication runs of the anthology Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors with simple graphics developed to accompany the online project, video screen-grabs from the films, and production stills. These design elements were used to bring together project timelines and quotes from participants and social media group members to create a colourful and lively tour of the many areas with which the project had become involved.
The result was distributed to interested parties either as pdf or as a 20 page spiral-bound A4 booklet.
This job was to design graphics for two panels for display in the lobby of the new Scottish Oceans Institute. The main panel was a timeline showing the history of Marine Science at St Andrews, which was developed with Dr Sascha Hooker from a presentation she had written perviously. The other panel showed details of a local school science engagement project about plastics in the marine environment.
I developed branding for both which included the SOI logo, but also made a connection to long wave-like decorative panels on the exterior of the new building.
The location where these panels were to be shown is also to include a large aquarium featuring typical North Sea marine species. Unfortunately the aquarium had not been installed at the time when the building was to be opened by Scotland’s First Minister. When I visited the site about a fortnight before the opening, there was an 3x1m empty gap filled with some blue plastic boards, and the aquarium was not expected to be present, let alone set up and running for a month at least. That didn’t seem ideal, so the SOI Director and the aquarium manager agreed that we should use the large ‘window’ to make a large temporary photo-frieze showing images of ‘BioBlitz’.
‘BioBlitz’ is a major annual national citizen science project that staff from the School of Biology at St Andrews have taken part in for several years. I designed a photomontage of images I’d shot over about three years using the same branding as the other panels. It might only be temporary, but I was keen for it to fit in and look good.
I’ve got a fun job I’m working on for an exhibit about work by University of St Andrews researchers studying the songs of humpback whales in the South Pacific. There are several displays and interactives which will feature in an area we are calling Sea Symphonies at the Dundee Science Centre.
One of my design tasks was to develop some symbols to represent fragments of humpback whale sounds…
I made a test piece with some of the symbols I developed. You can try it out at here – tap the symbols to hear the sounds (warning – these may surprise your pets!)
It’s been a while since I’ve got around to posting here – I’ve been a busy design bee. For the project which is the subject of this post, I wasn’t sure if I should put the details here, or on my other blog where I mostly write about poetry – here goes…
Doctors regularly share the most personal, vulnerable, and crucial moments of other people’s lives. SPL were interested in finding a way to make a related online project. Using poetry this would hopefully create opportunities for discussion as doctors recognised some of their own experiences in those of others. The Dean of Medicine at the University of St Andrews expressed an interest in hosting a project, and a little later I became involved.
Working with SPL we came up with the idea of building on the book by making short seasons of videos of medics (qualified or in training) reading chosen poems from the collection. Readers also explain very briefly why they chose the poem they are going to read. We’d make the readings publicly available on a blog, and also host a closed Facebook group, where we hoped each reading could provide a seed for informal discussion. The group would be managed by a team of highly experienced medics.
Having helped define the form of the project, I made the blog site, and set up the Facebook group. Colleagues at the School of Medicine and Scottish Poetry Library brought together a team of experienced doctors to guide/moderate the discussion group. Meanwhile I set about creating a collection of new videos. Of course, all this turned out to be the just for starters. I’ve recently also been making a projection kiosk/listening point/exhibit which will allow students and others to sample a few readings, and get a taste of the project. Cue scrounging of a once loved exhibition plinth, old gear, etc, etc. Seems like a lot to pull together for a small exhibit, but it’s surprising what a lick of paint can do, and before you know it, there it is…
The project doesn’t have a launch day as such, instead it is easing into being live over the next few weeks.
I enjoyed taking some photographs at Kit Martin’s ‘Skyward’ sessions at the Gateway in St Andrews today. Visitors tried out both making cyanotypes and experiencing VR and 360 degree images (mostly for the first time). I was very impressed by the helpfulness of everyone involved. I think all had a very interesting, informative and entertaining experience!
I ran another one day ‘Introduction to Video Production’ workshop at work today. This was similar to the initial training I’ve given to undergraduate students on the ‘Recording the Past‘ module. Today however the class was mostly made up of budding filmmakers from the ranks of staff and postgraduate students. The session was organised with Mhairi Stewart, the University’s Public Engagement Officer as part of her initiative to offer a variety of engagement related skills training to staff and postgraduates.
Thanks especially to Daryl Haynes from Media Services for his invaluable assistance in class, and to Mike Mulreany for his cameo as ‘the man from Auntie’, but most of all to Mhairi, Iain, Vincent, Jess, Alina, Ona, and Will for taking part – it was lovely to see you all for what was a very enjoyable workshop.
Looking like a strange spikey Telstar, here are a few shots from the video studio showing sculptor Cavan Convery’s hard-won (all hands to the Marvin’s Medium!) rendering of a complex multi faceted sphere designed by renaissance genius Daniele Barbaro over four hundred and fifty years ago. As far as I know, this is the first time in all those centuries that this specific form has been realised as a three dimensional object.
The model has been produced for use in a short video I’m making for Laura Moretti about her success in developing an exciting book exhibition following her work on Barbaro.
Cool stuff from the desktop of my friend and colleague, sculptor Cavan Convery today.
Cavan has been building this fascinating paper model from the designs of Venetian Renaissance genius Daniele Barbaro. It’s being made as part of a short video I’m making for Laura Moretti about her success in developing an exciting book exhibition following her work on this pioneering figure.
OK, it’s not a ‘death star’ but one of Barbaro’s many explorations of how to realise three dimensional forms. And the finished model will be about 23cm (9″) in diameter, rather than something south of 150km. But still, it is real, and it is a physical realisation of a design made about four-hundred-and-fifty years ago – as far as I know it may be the first – and, to my eyes at least, a thing of beauty!
Prof Vincent Janik is now the Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute at the East Sands in St Andrews. The job brings plenty of responsibilities along with it, but also some exciting new opportunities. I noticed when I was looking at his profile the other day that the portrait image had obviously been selected in something of a hurry, so I suggested I should pop down to the East Sands and quickly shoot something a little more human.
Very quick shoot, not much time to guddle about. Grey day, so fill-in flash with a shoot-through, 50mm prime. Don’t think I took more than ten or fifteen minutes out of Vincent’s busy day. Result – not high art (not called for), but human, I hope!