Earlier this year, joint funding from ESRC-EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account grant, a Temple Quarter Public Engagement grant and Research England (Participatory Research Fund) was secured by MyWorld Director, Professor David Bull, Bristol Vision Institute academics; Dr Jasmina Stevanov, Professor Ute Leonards, and Dr Laszlo Talas, our partners from CAMERA (Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications, University of Bath) and We the Curious.
With this funding, a first prototype TRIAD (Toward tRanslational Inclusive Art & Design) tool has been developed: a new digital technology-based tool, which is informed by the latest vision science research to assist designers in making informed decisions on how to best utilise design and art that are inclusive to all.
In June 2022, a workshop on inclusive design was held as part of the TRIAD project. Workshop participants included members of the Temple Quarter Team, We the Curious, LDA design, Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre, an Architect and member of the National Register of Access Consultants as well as University of Bristol Art coordinators and Psychology students.
Vibrant discussions among participants highlighted the multi-faceted challenges when trying to design buildings for neuroro- and culturally diverse user groups which confirmed the need for this kind of research enquiry. Artist, Andy Council produced a series of four illustrations that beautifully visualise these discussions, a sample can be found below.
Illustration, Andy Council
At the workshop, the prototype TRIAD tool was first tested on the design of the University’s future Story Exchange space, at Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. The Story Exchange space will be a circular, welcoming space designed to allow conversations on equal terms, on some of the topics that matter most to society. It is envisioned as a space that will allow multiple points of view and different forms of expertise to meet. We imagine this as a space used by researchers, students, local residents, community groups, businesses, civic society and visitors to the campus from around the globe.
In the words of John Berger, “Never again will a single story be told as though it’s the only one.”
TRIAD’s recent workshop at CAMERA, The Bottle Yard Studios provided a sneak peek of the Story Exchange’s future space and the possibilities it holds, by allowing attendees to visit and explore by walking the envisioned space in an immersive world via a virtual reality (VR) headset.
Critically, this experience highlighted how small changes to the visual makeup of an environment (for example the paintings and patterns on walls) can substantially change the perceived feel and comfort of the space. Martha Crean, The Public Art Coordinator at the University of Bristol said: “…VR gives it an extra layer and is very handy for discovering things you might not have appreciated from reading two dimensional images and plans. Sometimes you have to learn by experience to ask certain questions and interrogate drawings in addition to plans.”
After collating feedback from the event, it was apparent that the workshop helped attendees to recognise that there are many different points of view of what inclusive design and public art means.
Attendees reported that the workshop helped change their mind on how to tackle barriers for inclusive design or public art and allowed them to think more creatively about tools to improve inclusivity.
The workshop therefore succeeded in challenging participants’ previous ways of thinking about the future of VR technologies and about what inclusive design might mean.
The next workshop will take place in February 2023 and is open to the public to experience different designs of spaces in VR. We hope to provide an unprecedented opportunity for Bristol communities to gather insights into their own personal reactions to differently designed environments, raising awareness of the impact of design on wellbeing more generally.
The location is still TBC but please keep an eye on the MyWorld events page for full details.