Space meets creative mash-up

Caroline Parkinson reports from Data-Driven Innovation’s recent event, the Art of the Possible: Bright Sustainable Future.


On 12 November, the Data-Driven Innovation programme held its first creative industries innovation event by bringing space and satellite data experts and creative practitioners together in a mash-up to raise awareness amongst the two sectors, and stimulate co-working and collaboration.


Space and satellite data needs the skills, talent and imagination of games makers and data visualisers to present and communicate insights from the data to decision makers and develop gamification interfaces to model the impact of decision options.


After a successful space and games mash up in Dundee earlier this year, held by Space Tech Scotland, I approached founders Terry and Alan McLarney of Envisage Space to run a broader event with data visualisation and animation experts, as well as games makers in Edinburgh.


Working with DDI Chancellor’s Fellow, Murray Collins and Design Informatics Chair, Prof Chris Speed, they worked as a team to develop a bespoke event held in Inspace in Edinburgh. Supported by Edinburgh Data Vis Meet Up group, Scottish Games Developers Association and MOVE Summit to reach the creative expertise.


Around 80 people attended from space, data visualisation, games and animation/VFX sectors, and six demonstrated visualisations including companies Ray Interactive, Effini and Holoxica and Design Informatics academics – Benjamin Bach and Evan Morgan, and students from the space sector who demonstrated data gathering from weather balloons.


Inspace was lit up with star maps and a range of examples of the power of data visualisation projected around Inspace by Ray Interactive to set the scene. To stimulate the conversation, three challenges were presented by Chris, Terry and Murray, each planted in local issues using space and satellite data and also touching on the global UN sustainable development goals.


Over beer provided by Decagram, profits of which goes to musicians and venues, and pizza (of course!), a number of ideas emerged on the night, a few of which could be developed further, and others to be explored. If they come to fruition, they may appear in various events over the coming year and even potentially present at the UN Conference next November in Glasgow.


This is the beginning of stimulating opportunities for data-driven innovation in the creative industries and working in collaboration with other industries that need the support of creative skills and talent as part of the DDI sector plan for the creative industries.


Caroline Parkinson is Sector Team Lead for Creative Industries in the Data-Driven Innovation programme

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