All posts by Helen Manchester

Principal Investigator, UoB

Helen Manchester has a strong track record and reputation as an educational researcher and lecturer in the field of digital and material cultures, futures and learning across the lifecourse. She is also known for her work in arts based learning concerning youth voice, creativity and school ethos.

Helen has conducted a number of innovative qualitative studies employing ethnographic and multi-modal research methods. She is particularly interested in continuing to develop and manage participatory research projects with young people, older people, and community and cultural organisations. She has worked with many community and cultural organisations conducting participatory research and capacity building work. She also has experience of working with interdisciplinary teams including technologists, artists and educators. Helen is currently developing her existing work in the broad area of learning lives, particularly as it intersects with the role of digital and material cultures, future technologies, our digital footprint and data visualisation in cultural and everyday spaces. She currently has two AHRC grants to pursue her research interests further.

Connected Communities Festival: Cardiff July 2014

Great news for the project today that our proposal for the Connected Communities Festival in Cardiff has been accepted.  The aims of our proposal were:

1. To create an immersive, portable installation, utilising novel tangible technologies and a set of dissemination materials, recreating a care home setting, in which audience members will be encouraged to:

  • engage meaningfully in thinking about community, object based story telling and tangible technologies in care home settings
  • drink tea, eat cake and engage in conversation with older people, academics and community experts working with us to discuss our experiences of being involved in co-produced research where technology is being co-designed with older people
  • experiment with and reflect on some of our novel technological prototypes to tell their own stories

2. The installation will enable us to user test some of our prototyped novel tangible technologies for storytelling with a wider audience and to collect data on the accessibility and effectiveness of the co-designed technologies.

3. To create an installation and dissemination materials that can be re-purposed to spread a message to policy makers, members of the public and academics about the need to re-imagine care homes of the future e.g. to develop ‘community’ in care, person centred care and the use of novel tangible technologies to enable stories and memories to be shared in care home settings and beyond.

4. To explore the practical and ethical challenges in including our older people in the dissemination of the project. E.g. How dementia friendly are these kind of events? How easy is it to navigate issues of accessibility?



A busy week

Thanks everyone for a great (and busy) TMP week!

Seana has been at BW doing individual interviews and a ‘day in the life’ of on Wednesday. She also ran a story telling session for residents which featured on the daily whiteboard and was really well received. Helen arrived to take over the ‘day in the life of’ at 3.30 and stayed around to visit residents in their room with a care worker  making them tea etc and then helping to host a games night in the lounge – loads of really interesting data to write up from these experiences,  I was given a rose and met some wonderful new residents there.

Tim and Seana also ran a session on music at BW on Tuesday morning and Tim, Seana and Helen at Stokeleigh on Tuesday afternoon – the Stokeleigh session was particularly inspiring for me as it was very much led by the residents who shared their favourite tracks which we all listened to and then discussed. Thanks Tim for leading that session so wonderfully!

Pete, Ki and Heidi hosted a trip to the engineering department for Bob from Stokeleigh Lodge. He loved the danish pastries and free pens and came back to Stokeleigh totally buzzing!

Helen also delivered a presentation about the project as part of an ‘ethics’ day at the Graduate School of Education – lots of comments and conversations about how ‘inspirational’ the project is from audience members.

Ki and Helen also met about the website and will be feeding back decisions made (based on our conversations at the Bitmap meeting) to Bitmap – so hopefully we’ll have a website up and running pretty soon.