A team at the University of the Arts London, led by Dr Athanasios Velios, is at the front line of a high-tech battle of brains.
They are developing new tools, software and systems to help academic researchers use and manage research data thanks to support and funding from Jisc, a charity that aims to develop digital solutions to improve education and research.
Athanasios is working alongside Sebastian Faubel and Moritz Ebril from Semiodesk, a software development company in Germany, on a project called Artivity which aims to capture, when and how artists are influenced while they are producing their creative work.
Much of the research undertaken by artists is done on a computer and in many cases the finished output of artistic process is produced using software tools. However, the process of developing an artwork is not often appreciated once the artwork is complete. Athanasios came up with the idea when he
“…was thinking of ways to minimise the time it takes for academics to submit outputs to institutional repositories. This led to the idea of automatically collecting contextual research data which then led to focusing it to art practice research”.
Artivity provides tools which capture this process and help researchers and artists get a clearer picture of how and why the artwork was created. Artists have shown interest in this idea because it offers an automatic way of self-documenting their work in a way which does not interfere with their creative process.
Image: Screen capture of Artivity software running on Linux Desktop
Artivity will allow the creation of digital archives of practice which art historians and art critics can use in their research. Finally, Artivity will allow younger artists to become proficient in digital techniques which have already been documented by other artists through the project tools.
For the second phase Athanasios would like to ask for 10 volunteers to test the software. The software does not interrupt your workflow. Testing requires using certain creative applications to deliver your creative work with our software running in the background. Each of the 10 volunteers will receive a £50 Amazon voucher. A full description of how your data will be used will be made available before testing starts.
If you would like to contribute, please email Athanasios firstname.lastname@example.org. Some experience with Inkscape and/or Krita would be an advantage but not necessary.
The project is funded by the ‘Research Data Spring’ initiative, which invited researchers, librarians, publishers and developers to post and discuss their ideas on a website where they could be voted on. Ideas were then selected for development by a panel of expert judges.
Daniela Duca, senior co-design manager at Jisc, explained the thinking behind the competition:
“In academic research you’re often using and reusing a variety of data, sometimes you may need a better way to quickly deposit it when you publish your article; or as an artist, you might want the research data to collect automatically while you are working and without interfering in your creative process. You may want an easier way to archive your data; or even a better way of packaging the metadata around it.
“The proposals funded by ‘Research Data Spring’ aim to make the processes around the management, use and reuse of data easier to handle for researchers. I’m thrilled to see so many promising projects coming through and hope to be able to stir more ideas and collaborative solutions in this area.”
- Read more about the project www.arts.ac.uk/research/research-projects/current-projects/artivity
- Read more about Athanasios Velios or email him about the project at email@example.com
- Read more about the Ligatus Research Centre
- Read more about Data Management at UAL