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London, United Kingdom

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 184.40K | Year: 2015

This research project studies how - by what processes, according to what criteria, and subject to what kinds of verification? - truths emerge about the political violence that took place in the 1970s and 1980s in Argentina and Chile. Although that period of violence is now past, many facets of it are still unresolved. Beyond the legal mechanisms that continue to unearth truths about the last military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-83) and the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990), there are several sites at which these unresolved issues emerge for debate and verification. There is a need to address the unresolved and still controversial nature of many questions as the presentation of the story of what happened becomes a focus of new memorial spaces and Memory museums, as well as at other sites where truths are tested, including where biological identities are tested via DNA or where human or material remains require forensic testing. The research will take place at a range of diverse sites that we call forums for telling. Its premise is that truths about the past are of different kinds because they have to pass through different processes of hypothesising, testing and reflection before they are affirmed and allowed to emerge as true. Thus the production of truth at a museum of memory differs both in process and in terms of the truths it seeks and can affirm, from the production of truth by the law courts, or by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Teams attempts to establish identities through the testing of human remains or DNA. The research concerns how the different forums and spaces approach this task differently, how they involve different material and human witnesses, different procedures and place different constraints on the objects of their interrogations. In studying these processes we will ask: What candidates emerge to tell the truth about the past? Which truths are allowed to emerge at the different sites? How are they understood as relevant to the forum that debates their status? What tests must they pass in order to attain their status as true? How are emergent truths presented, arranged and mediated for consumption? How is their status challenged? The importance of these questions becomes apparent when one considers the pedagogic dimensions of the activities at stake. We will highlight the pedagogic and inter-generational dimension. What do the different forums understand as the relation between the production of truth and the presentation or curation of the story of the past as a wider societal imperative? How do they agree to present their work domestically and internationally, including digitally? How do they seek to overcome the dangers of making a spectacle of the past, or else using it within a strategic instrumentalisation that insists that listening repeatedly to horrors of past violence will inoculate us from ever repeating the past wrongs? The research will use observation, interviews and documentary data gathered from significant sites chosen for their potential to speak to these interests. In Argentina, we will visit the largest and most notorious of the ex-clandestine centres for detention, torture and extermination (ex-ccdte), the ESMA in Buenos Aires, now an official Site for Memory, and where debates about the use of the space have raged for several years, but where new changes to the use and especially the pedagogic aspects of the site are presently coming to fruition. Additionally we will visit two ex-ccdte sites further afield, in Cordoba and Tucuman. In Chile, we will also visit ex-centres of detention in Santiago (Londres 38, Villa Grimaldi) and one further afield in Chacabuca in the north. In each country we will also be visiting important newly opened Museums of Memory (in Santiago and Rosario). To complement these, we will observe and interview members of the important Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, as well as following key legal cases that are on-going.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-22-2014 | Award Amount: 2.68M | Year: 2015

RAPID-MIX brings together 3 leading research institutions with 4 dynamic creative industries SMEs and 1 leading wearable technology SME in a technology transfer consortium to bring to market innovative interface products for music, gaming, and e-Health applications. RAPID-MIX uses an intensely user-centric development process to gauge industry pull and end-user desire for new modes of interaction that integrate physiological human sensing, gesture and body language, and smart information analysis and adaptation. Physiological biosignals (EEG, EMG) are used in multimodal hardware configurations with motion sensors and haptic actuators. Advanced machine learning software adapts to expressive human variation, allowing fluid interaction and personalized experience. An iterative, rapid development cycle of hardware prototyping, software development, and application integration accelerates the availability of advanced interface technologies to industry partners. An equally user-centric evaluation phase assures market validation and end-user relevance and usability, feeding back to subsequent design cycles and informing ultimate market deployment. The RAPID-MIX consortium leverages contemporary dissemination channels such as crowd funding, industry trade shows, and contributions to the DIY community to raise awareness across the professional and consumer landscapes of novel interface technologies. Project output is encapsulated in an Open Source RAPID-API exposing application level access to software libraries, hardware designs, and middleware layers. This will enable creative partner SMEs to build a new range of products called Multimodal Interactive eXpressive systems (MIX). It also allows broader industries such as quantified self, and DIY communities, to use the API in their own products in cost effective ways. This assures the legacy of RAPID-MIX and marks its contribution to European competitiveness in rapidly evolving markets for embodied interaction technologies.

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 89.57K | Year: 2015

The politics of debt refers to complex and contested politics of debt that defines much of economic and cultural life in present-day Britain. This knowledge exchange project explores the role the Third Sector plays in shaping the wider politic conversations around access to affordable credit and problems associated with indebtedness. We know that in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis a growing number of civil society initiatives sought to engage individuals and communities as a way of shaping political debate. For some civil society groups the focus is on the wide range of people adversely affected by austerity measures; for others it is articulating the profound loss of trust in political and economic elites or using political action to experiment with ways individuals and communities could take back power over their own lives to reinvigorate the very practice of exercising political power. This project explores the resilience of civil society networks and their efforts to shape the wider debate about finance, debt and the UK economy. In particular, the interface between the digital and real-life spaces of the everyday political action. In other words, how these groups can be located in places like large-scale protests, offices, or church halls, which of course are not entirely bound by space; but increasingly use digital platforms to inform/foment the new forms of political engagement. This is accomplished through four interrelated work packages designed in collaboration with project partners: (1) mapping the network of digital and real-world actors and creating a network of networks Debt-CN; (2) collaborative research on debt inequality; (3) Create and support a hashtag experiment documenting the roll-out of the Credit Union Service Organisation CURES and alternative credit provider Fair for You; (4) Collaborative research investigating digital transformations in small-scale lending. Offering a flexible package of knowledge exchange activities is a relatively new approach to impact that is not simply about demonstrating how academic social research contributes to the national economy and drives improvements in government policy. We adopt an embedded approach to research that involves working closely with a network of individuals and organisations to deliver tangible contribution to organisational practice. Importantly we are experimenting with new digital forums that remain underexplored in social science research. For example, the #ReinventCU experiment replicates projects like #EnfieldExperiment between academics from the University of Manchester and London Borough council to develop local economic development strategy and the #BBCBudget that attempted to understand how BBC-users interact with digital content. Impact can be more local and more tangible than this. Where possible, we should aim to adopt a more embedded approach to research which involves working more closely with the public, and public institutions, at a local level. The crucial common thread is the existence of a partnership between researchers and practitioners that generates a mutual exchange of knowledge which, in turn, improves the quality of the research and some aspect of service provision in tandem.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IEF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF | Award Amount: 299.56K | Year: 2014

The research proposes the notion of AVUI (AudioVisual User Interface), a multisensorial interface combining user interaction with interrelated sound and image. In AVUI, a user interaction brings upon interrelated sonic and visual feedback. AVUI combines Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), sonification, and audio visualisation techniques, aiming to create a cognitive totality or gestalt in the user, where different sensorial elements reinforce the interaction. Multitouch, gestural and multimodal interaction are identified as important application fields. AVUI is not exclusively utilitarian, having an aesthetic purpose and user experience concern. The research aims to answer the following question: how can interconnected sound and image be used to create more usable, accessible, playful and engaging user interfaces for multitouch and gestural interaction? The main objectives of the research are to: increase our knowledge on how interaction can be represented by sonic and visual means; identify the successful approaches to sound visualisation that generate greater engagement; improve our understanding of how sound visualisation can allow for greater usability, and accessibility with impaired users; and identify use cases where AVUI can be preferable to the traditional GUI (Graphical User Interface). Following a practice-based and design-oriented approach, and in order to achieve knowledge regarding AVUI, a succession of artifacts will be developed: an initial prototype, two case-study applications implementing AVUI, and a software library for generic deployment of AVUI. These will be subject to user tests, evaluated based on qualitative and quantitative methods, using interviews, cognitive walkthrough, video observation, and questionnaires. The main outcomes will be: functioning systems, code base, and software library for implementing AVUI; interaction theorization of audiovisual elements in the user interface; best-practice guidelines; and outreach activities.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.8.1 | Award Amount: 3.54M | Year: 2013

Current ICT technology provides new capabilities to measure the functional activity of the brain and to compute in real-time stimuli that can be applied to the brain itself in order to train and modify its activity. This new frontier of research is made possible by a dramatic increase in cheap computing power, novel design methodologies for high-performance software, integrated circuits and systems for sensors and actuators, and algorithms and software environments for collaborative interaction of people cooperating on solving a specific problem. This project will explore the consequences of exploiting these novel technologies in a deliberate attempt to improve a higher-order task such as creativity.

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