Tag Archives: Art

Adjusting to the COVID-19 reality

Today starts the 3rd week of staggered isolation & social distancing measures imposed for addressing COVID-19, which also affected Universities and research teams. As other PIs around the world, I had to think how the ART/DATA/HEALTH project could adjust to the new reality of the COVID-19 crisis. The ART/DATA/HEALTH project aims to work with communities and citizens to build their digital and data science skills in order to understand large amounts of data – and the way we do this is through creativity and the arts. But plans to run workshops with the project’s key partners and stakeholders were cancelled, while the Brighton Fringe Festival has been postponed until October 2020.

Inevitably we have moved to an extended period of working remotely, in order to realise the vision of the project, which is to benefit communities digest health and wellbeing data through arts and creativity. I have commissioned three artists for the ART/DATA/HEALTH project and they have all now shifted their practice and focus in order to adjust and respond to the issues emerging from the COVID-19 everyday practices and materialities:

  1. The bio-artist, Anna Dumitriu, was initially commissioned to explore domestic violence issues in consultation with the local charity RISE. She has now shifted her focus to also take into account data on the effect of quarantine and self-isolation due to COVID-19 on women (RISE is a Sussex-based charity that supports people affected by domestic abuse and violence. RISE stands for Refuge, Information, Support and Education). Beyond the impact of COVID-19 related measures on women in general and the reported rise in cases of domestic abuse, my collaboration with RISE has aimed to give voice to the experiences of staff. The impact of isolation due to COVID-19 on the wellbeing of charity workers who support survivors of domestic abuse is hence a key research interest for my work in the ART/DATA/HEALTH project. To explore these experiences, feelings and emotions around social distancing and staying at home during this challenging time, Anna and I will be sending art kits to RISE staff, which they can use remotely.
  2. The local community artist Ian Leaver was initially commission to co-facilitate the workshop Staying Healthy in Whitehawk earlier this month, and to co-produce, with local residents, an mural at Wellsbourne Healthcare CIC in Whitehawk. My collaboration with the Wellsbourne is aimed at understanding barriers to access the health services for citizens who live in an area of multiple deprivation. The workshops at the Whitehawk Library planned for earlier this month got cancelled, so Ian and I have been thinking of ways to continue the work, to connect with the community, and offer an opportunity to East Brighton residents to take part in an art project, while they record a daily diary. We are inviting people who live in East Brighton and belong in a sensitive group, or are in isolation  to engage in a creative project.

    The idea is simple: For 14 days or more, participants will track their symptoms, or other activity in relation to your health (for example medication, sleep, anxiety etc). You can use drawing, photo, audio, or write a brief blog to record your daily diary. Ian will then use these diary data to create an artwork that will be permanently exhibited at Wellsbourne Healthcare CIC in Whitehawk. To explain how people can take part in the project we are offering the free online workshop, ART IN ISOLATION which will take place on Wednesday 8th April, 2-3pm. Ian Leaver-Blaxstone and I (Aristea Fotopoulou) will take you through the 14-day art challenge, and will discuss your ideas.

  3. Oddly enough, I originally commissioned VR artist Kate Genevieve to explore the emotional and embodied aspects of connection and isolation, before the COVID-19 crisis. Now her work is even more relevant. Although Kate was lucky enough to connect with workshop participants (staff from various local charity organisations) in real life, and in a physical space (at the Phoenix Art Space in February), she will also be sending out instructions for an arts and crafts activity to participants, as we are working with the loneliness and befriending charity Together Co.

 

For more updates about how the project is adjusting and responding to the new situation read the ART/DATA/HEALTH blog.

The-Ecology-of-Disease-Olaf-Hajek-Illustration

Two vacancies Research Officer – Closing date 3rd April 2019

The University of Brighton, School of Media invites applications for two Research Officers (one with focus on Digital Communications & Health, and one with focus on Arts & Health). The two positions are attached to the UKRI-AHRC Innovation Leadership Fellowship project “ART/DATA/HEALTH: Data as creative material for health and wellbeing”. The project creates an innovative and interdisciplinary process offering disadvantaged groups and the wider public new tools, at the intersections of data science with art practice, to approach two key issues in healthy aging and prevention: digital skills and health literacy.

You will be working in consultation with the Principal Investgator (PI) Dr Aristea Fotopoulou and as part of a team to undertake filedwork; liaise with project partners; organise participatory research workshops; manage, store and analyse fieldwork material; co-author research outputs; disseminate findings. A high level of analytical capability, as well as the ability to communicate information clearly (in a variety of forms) are necessary. Collaborating well as part of the project team is essential.

You will have knowledge and/or experience and research interests in one or more of the following areas:

For the post AE4011 ART/DATA/HEALTH Research Officer (Digital Communications & Health): participatory research; digital inclusion; health literacy; self tracking; datafication of health; data visualisation; arts for health and wellbeing.

For the post AE4012 ART/DATA/HEALTH Research Officer (Arts & Health): arts for health and wellbeing; community arts; data visualisation; cultural participatory; digital inclusion; health literacy; datafication of health.

Both posts are 0.5 FTE fixed term posts for approximately 9 months, and we would expect the successful candidate to be in post by the beginning of June 2019. The successful candidate will be based at the new Centre for Research Excellence ‘Digital Media Cultures’ at the University of Brighton. The Centre is an interdisciplinary knowledge network spanning computing, social science, media, art and design.

Details and to apply:

AE4011-19-073 ART/DATA/HEALTH Research Officer (Digital Communications & Health) 

AE4012-19-075 ART/DATA/HEALTH Research Officer (Arts & Health) 

Closing Date for both posts: Wednesday 03 April 2019

If you have any questions please contact the PI Dr Aristea Fotopoulou (a.fotopoulou@brighton.ac.uk)

tactical biopolitics book review

Marcie Bianco of Feminist Review writes about the new book ‘Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism, and Technoscience’, Edited by Beatriz da Costa and Kavita Philip, MIT Press. She notes that

‘The essay on subRosa’s subversive practices that intertwine art, biology, and politics nicely encapsulates the empowering, activist tone of’

the book.