To really begin the fellowship we headed to Gloucestershire in the pouring rain. As I write this I need to make a confession; I gave Emma a lift and we discovered we both have a massive passion for Gloucester services so we plotted to drive one junction further down the M5 and to pop in, we new this would make us late and decided to blame the rain for it. It did stop pouring during our stop, which did make it safer to caring on driving but that wasn’t why we were there, it was our overwhelming love of pastry, chocolate and stationery. I would say I’m sorry but I feel I hold no regret, I have a beautiful note book from the trip and every time I look it I giggle and think of Emma my new found friend. The notebook story is for another day, I think it’s one of those where you had to be there.

Anyway that’s enough about Gloucester services. We were heading to Hawkwood College for two days of getting digital. Hawkwood was astoundingly beautiful, set in the country side in a stately home like building where we were welcomed with cakes and coffee, they were delicious and just a taste of things to come. The trip began with all of the fellows introducing them selves, telling us all about their work and why they became fellows. We have Emma, Natalie, Laura, Mary and Ris. I got everyone to make a paper boat! The day was interjected with more delicious food, cakes and tea. What is amazing about the fellows is we are all so different, not one of us makes anything similar to another it will be so interesting to see where everyone’s digital journey takes them, I can’t wait for the sharing event to see what everyone has created.

To end the day Dom got out his big box of stuff and revealed to us the world of digital and all of the components it could include. Important thoughts I took from Dom’s box of stuff is ‘if you can think of ti theres probably tech that can do it. Think of the human reaction you want to achieve. What do you want the human to feel, do, see? 

That evening we enjoyed our dinner with a few drinks, Nicky helped me solve problem 4 in the Arduino book and I was welcomed into the world of Antonio Roberts, what a wonderful and mind-blowing world that is!

Day two. Of course the morning started with a hearty breakfast, Hawkswood definitely know the way to my heart. This morning we met the mentors, learnt about their practises and they all showed us some simple tech. First off we met Nicky Pugh, she is all about people + place = experience and giving people a feeling in their belly. Nicky wants her work to slow people down, get them to look up. She told her all about her amazing project in By Duddon Side, you can look it up here it’s really beautiful. Nicky got us to have a go at Twine, Twine is great for sending your audience on a journey, through a story which gives you the ability to create twists and turns. If you are a story teller it’s a great tool to use, it’s free and super simple.

Next we met Juneau Projects, Philip and Ben. They began working together as technicians in a gallery, started a band and then became Juneau Projects. Juneau Projects have collaborated with squirrels, worked with schools and communities and are currently working on a big public project where they’ll be making some big beautiful birds. Lots of their work includes laser cutting, sound and interaction. Philip got us playing with contact mics. A contact mic picks up the vibration of thins they make contact with, I stuck mine to my shoe and jumped around. The mics were plugged into a mixer which had different sounds associated to them, as I taped a bird tweeted. Each fellow had a mic so we created a musical orchestra! It was great fun and showed how easy tech can be.

Our final mentor to meet was Antonio Roberts, what a man he is. Antonio creates glitch art and performs live coding. You can see him at Alograve’s which I just might do as I’ve never seen anything like it before and I’m certain it will be an experience of a life time, especially with the next one being in the British Library. Antonio got us to have a go at live coding using Livecode Lab, again this is such a simple site to use and quickly you are making fun art.

I think the most important thing I’ve got from these two days is tech and digital isn’t something to be scared of, it’s inputs and outputs, just give it go. Think about what you want the outcome to be and then have a fiddle!