Lab Details


Day 1 – 10.00am – 4.30pm

Rooms available – NAD 103, 303, 3.12 -3.18, 403, roof terrace

10.00am Art School Café

Welcome and Introduction to ArtLab

Speed dating

Pecha Kucha

Simon Blackmore, Ben Lycett and Nick Rothwell presentations

Informal quick-fire task using new technology in site-specific ways to represent a given theme.

Day 2 – 10.00am – 10.00pm

Rooms available – NAD 103, 303, 3.12 -3.18, 403, roof terrace

10.00am Room 403 – Ben Lycett – One-hour workshop

Begin project work – facilitated by mentors

6.00pm – group progress meeting


Day 3 – 10.00am – 10.00pm

Rooms available – NAD 103, 303, 3.12 -3.18, 403, roof terrace

9.30 – 10am optional induction to edit suites.

Edit Suites: 9.00am – 4.30pm

Laser cutting: 9.00am – 12.30pm 1.30pm – 4.00pm

10.00am Room 403 – Nick Rothwell – One hour workshop.

Project work – facilitated by mentors

6.00pm – group progress meeting

Day 4 – 10.00am – 6.00pm

Rooms available – NAD 103, 303, 3.12 -3.18, 403, roof terrace

Laser cutting: 9.00am – 12.30pm 1.30pm – 4.00pm

Edit Suites: 9.00am – 4.30pm

10.00am Room 403 – Simon Blackmore – One hour workshop.

Project work – facilitated by mentors

6.00pm – Social, meal in The Deaf Institute (local pub, vegetarian options are available)

Day 5 – 10.00am – 4.30pm

Rooms available – NAD 103, 303, 3.12 -3.18

Laser cutting: 9.00am – 12.30pm 1.30pm – 4.00pm

Edit Suites: 9.00am – 4.30pm

Project work – facilitated by mentors

Midday – Final presentations of progress in bookable 20 minute slots.



Anna Frew


Anna Frew is a PhD student sat on a bed in the spare room of her parents home typing in a moment rather apt for a person who’d practice is exploring a turning point. She’s moving house tomorrow. Sat amongst half full boxes littered with paper, scissors, threads, a cutting mat that has seen better days and the other items in her bookmaking hoard. On top of this jumble sits a hacked Kindle, an Ipad and the shiny Mac this bio has been written on, all of which usefully sums up her practice; questioning the design of narratives as we interact with them in old and new technologies.

Lewis Sykes
The Augmented Tonoscope

Lewis Sykes - portrait 2


Lewis Sykes is an artist, musician and digital media producer/curator based in Manchester, UK.

A veteran bass player of the underground dub-dance scene of the 90s he performed and recorded with Emperor Sly, Original Hi-Fi and Radical Dance Faction and was a partner in Zip Dog Records.

He honed an interest in mixed media through an MA in Hypermedia Studies at the University of Westminster in 2000 and continued to fuse music, visuals and technology through a series of creative collaborations – most notably as musician and performer with the progressive audiovisual collective The Sancho Plan (2005-2008) and currently as one half of Monomatic – exploring sound and interaction through physical works that investigate rich musical traditions.

Director of Cybersonica, an annual celebration of music, sound art and technology (2002-11), he was also Coordinator of the independent digital arts agency Cybersalon (2002-2007), founding Artists in Residence at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre.

Lewis is in the third year of a Practice as Research PhD at MIRIAD, Manchester Met, exploring the aesthetics of sound and vibration.


Simon Blackmore


For thousands of years humans have been hitting sticks together, to scare animals out of the undergrowth, to make music, or as part of mystic ritual.

Sticks is a physical computer interface consisting of two sticks and software. The software allows you to communicate with your computer in binary using an audio onset for 1 and silence for 0. At the end of each musical bar or computer byte, a message of the binary value between 0 and 255 is compiled on the computer. This value is then converted to ASCII Keystrokes enabling you write e-mails and text documents without a keyboard.

I am interested in the challenge that this interface presents to its user. Many computer interfaces mimic analogue controllers and the performer can mess about and make sound without too much thought. Due to its percussive nature sticks require concentration. This really does force a liveness in interaction, miss a beat and you have sent the wrong message.

I am interested in how the binary encoding of ascii can be learned by humans. During my presentation I will demonstrate how when one can learn to transmitt 1 to 9 they can they can change one rhythmic click and they know abcdefghi and change another and they know ABCDEFGHI. I will also be using a DIY parabolic microphone and speaker and we can explore how far messages can be send with this technology.

Simon Blackmore


Simon Blackmore makes performative sculptures and installations using sound and custom-made technology. Since gaining a First Class Honours degree in Sculpture at The University of Wales Institute, Cardiff in 1999, and an MA in Creative Technology at Salford University in 2001, he has received numerous commissions and exhibited in galleries Internationally. in 2006 he was nominated for the Beck’s Futures
Prize, he was artist in residence in Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia in 2007, and in 2008 completed the Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship. His works on the theme of art and music will be presented in a solo show at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, USA in September 2013 He is also a founding member of the art group Owl Project. Known for their distinctive range of wooden musical and sculptural instruments Owl Project won Urbis’ Best of Manchester award in 2009. In 2012 their project ~Flow was launched in Newcastle and attracted over 50,000 visitors. Owl project have performed and exhibited internationally, including performances at Les Urbaines Festival (Lausanne, Switzerland), SARC, (Belfast, Ireland) 2009, and a solo show at Lydgalleriet, (Bergen, Norway) 2008. Their latest work will be presented in a solo show at Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden in August 2013.

Nick Rothwell

Rather than a project proposal, I want to propose a process: the creative application of modern, expressive high-level programming languages to the the making of artworks.

I’ve spent several years making software-based media art (in sound, in visuals and physically), and in all cases one of the most interesting aspects has been the choice of programming language, and how the different software structures supported by different languages manifest themselves in the final work. There’s a big difference between (say) writing a game engine in a low-level language like C, versus writing in a higher-order functional language like Clojure, and the ability to live-code an artwork in Clojure or Python (using a platform like Field, Overtone, Quil and others) results in a different kind of work to one which is preprogrammed and built in a slower iterative process.

As the years go by I become surrounded by more and more affordable, software-addressable physical controllers: keyboards, grid devices, Arduino-based constructions, DMX hardware. I’m interested in a goal-less exploration of programming language techniques and structures as manifested on physical devices, and ways in which high-level coding patterns enable us to create multimedia experiences which would be difficult, or impossible, in more conventional ways.

Aside: this proposal reflects my role as mentor, since I’m happy to be involved in helping other attendees to realise their creative ideas in such ways as might involve coding, or even to introduce new language and programming techniques as a spark to new ways of thinking about creating work.


Nick Rothwell is a composer, performer, software architect, programmer and sound artist. He has built software at Ballett Frankfurt, Vienna Volksoper and for Wayne McGregor|Random Dance, worked in digital media at STEIM (Amsterdam), CAMAC (Paris) and ZKM (Karlsruhe), composed soundtracks for Laurie Booth and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, and programmed large-scale outdoor algorithmic projections for Simeon Nelson at Skyway (Poland), Valgus (Estonia), Lumiere (Durham) and Cambridge Music Festival. He writes and teaches on music technology, coding and creativity.

Nick Rothwell 2

Ben Lycett

Ben Lycett is a visual artist, filmmaker, technologist and programmer whose work investigates the zones where art and science collide. His outputs range from interactive installations for museums and galleries, to immersive sound reactive performances in night clubs nationwide.

Ben Lycett’s background in visual arts started as a photographer in Newcastle. He worked for several large photographic studios, including Alex Tefer, Magenta Studio and North East Studio working on campaigns for clients such as the BBC, Peugeot and Halifax Building Society. He then won a digital fellowship at Teeside University and was awarded ‘most innovative project’ for his animation project ‘Leo Fox’. After becoming more and more interested in the relationship of movement with light and the narrative of moving photographs he moved to Manchester to study film and specialised in directing and sound design gaining a 1st class degree at MMU in 2009. He started to work at 24 Design, making films and coding interactive for national galleries, including Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth Art Gallery, Eureka, Shed Bristol, and the Barbican. Ben’s most recent interactives will be in the National Gallery for Modern Art in Edinburgh and the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester.

Ben’s VJ-ing has taken him all over the UK underground music scene, and was a resident VJ at Me&you, Bohemian Grove, Illuminate, Content and Beatherder.  He also started to make his own software and hardware to help him perform his visual art live – including a video mixer and software to create an abstract, sound responsive 3d world.

Ben is currently a tutor on the BA Creative Multimedia, Manchester Metropolitan University and has recently been appointed as ‘Coder-in-Residence’ for {CODE Creatives} – part of Designing our Futures, the AHRC funded, skills development programme aimed at postgraduate and early career researchers in the North West.

Influenced by artist/groups such as Theo Watson, Memo Aklin and Random International his main practice now revolves around code – using the C++ creative coding toolkit ‘Openframworks’ to generate video and openGL outputs via inputs from devices such as Microsoft’s XBox Kinect, the Arduino open-source microcontroller platform and the Leap Motion gestural controller.

Although the path from photographer to coder might seem a strange journey, to Ben it’s all just an extension of creating an image, be it through photography, film, sound design or software.



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