> e-stitches

smart / e-textiles & wearables meetup

e-stitches regularly brings artists, fashion and other designers – including performers, makers, electronic technologies, bio-technologists, wearable DIY enthusiasts, and quantified-selfies – all together to discuss, show, share, educate and learn from each other on the current issues and future directions in this developing area. 

> Videos

In progress.

> Meetup Galleries 2014 – Present

> Timeline

November 2014 – Present

> Past Presenters

  • Amy Winters
  • Brook Roberts
  • Michele Danjoux
  • Johannes Birringer (2nd event)
  • Kristina Dimitrova
  • Berit Greinke
  • Annie Lynwood
  • Lyndsey Caulder & Sarah Robertson
  • Caroline Yan Zheng
  • Olsen Wolf
  • Priti Veja
  • Giulia Tomasello
  • Emilie Gillies
  • Yulia Salias
  • Olga Noronha
  • Bushra Burge
  • Lesley-Ann Daly
  • Amy Congdon
  • Elena Corchero
  • Marina Castan
  • Aniela Hoitink
  • Sophie Skach
  • Mili Tharakan
  • Becky Stewart
  • Melissa Coleman
  • Maria Paneta
  • Stefanie Posavec & Miriam Quirk
  • Elena Corchero
  • Victoria Geaney
  • Nigel Guèrin-Garrett
  • Marina Toeters
  • Danielle Roberts
  • Maria Almena
  • Rachel Friere
  • Pollie Barden
  • Panja Gobel
  • Francesca Perona
  • Becca Rose
  • Tincuta Heinzel
  • Nicola Woodham
  • Ricardo O’ Nascimento 
  • Caroline McMillan
  • and myself, on my own practice

> Abstract

e-stitches is a gathering for artistic / research / practice sharing, show & tell, workshops & talks, which originally took place every six weeks to two months, and now monthly online since April 2020, on the themes of..

  • Soft circuits & e-textiles
  • Digital fashion
  • wearables and DIY electronics

…and related topics in art, design, research and performance.

The group combines discussion on topical issues around these technologies, along with show-and-tell opportunities for participants to show their current work, with occasional hands-on skills-building workshops with expert designers, in a causal meet-up format, with an additional aim to bring other London-based artistic, industry and academic groups together. 

This is a non-profit, non-registered, voluntary organisation since 2014 

> Partners

  • Camille Baker – Founder & Organiser
  • Melissa Coleman – Co-Founder & Co-Organiser (Jan 2015 – Feb 2020)
  • Irini Papadimitriou – Co-Organiser (Nov 2014 – Jul 2018)
  • Emelie Giles – Co-Organiser (Apr 2020 – Present)

> Budget / Funding

None. All funding in-kind or volunteer.

> Outcomes / Impact

e-stitches aims to evolve one day into a cross-disciplinary, cross institutional research & development lab, and advocacy group.

Currently we have almost 200 members, and have hosted more than sixty designers and innovators presenting their work and sharing their skills.

The WEAR Sustain project was spawned from this meetup group and many of the mentors and recipient designers that were involved in WEAR Sustain came from this group.

STARTS Ecosystem

> STARTS Ecosystem

Community Engagement to support the European Commission STARTS (Science, Technology & the Arts) initiative. 

STARTS an initiative of the European Commission, launched in 2016 under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as a follow-up to the ICT & Art Connect activities since 2012. Its purpose is to support collaborations between artists, scientists, engineers and researchers to develop more creative, inclusive, and sustainable technologies. 

> Video

> Gallery

> Timeline

April 2019 – November 2021

> Collaborators

  • Ana Solange Leal – Project Coordinator / Area Manager, INOVA+
  • Aurelia Delater – Senior Project Manager, INOVA+
  • Tania Moreira – Project Manager, INOVA+
  • Dr Camille Baker – Principal Investigator for UCA
  • Lucy Bunnell – Research Manager, UCA
  • Veronika Leibel – Director of European Cooperation, ARS Electronica
  • Kristina Maurer – Senior Producer European Cooperation, ARS Electronica
  • Hughes Vinet – Director of Innovation & Research Resouces, IRCAM
  • Guillaume Pellerin – Web Services Manager, IRCAM
  • Marie Albert – Head of EU Projects, LFTGP
  • Aneffel Kadik – Officer for EU Projects, LFTGP
  • Christoph de Jaeger – Founder & Director, Gluon
  • Ramona Van Gansbeke – Project Manager Art & Research

> Abstract

STARTS  (Science + Technology + Arts) -is about thinking out-of-the-box and building bridges between these three fields. With disruptive methods of exploration and an accurate critical eye on the use of technology, artists decisively raise awareness of the societal challenges and global concerns we are facing. STARTS is driven by the conviction that science and technology combined with an artistic viewpoint also open valuable perspectives for research and business, through a holistic and human-centered approach.

Co-creation processes between dancers, visual artists, painters, designers, and engineers, developers, sociologists, physicists, or machine learning specialists lead to ground-breaking explorations on our current social and economic challenges. They bring attention to climate change, cyber-security, human and robots interactions, artificial intelligence. Through their projects, STARTS teams work on new concepts and novel products that have the power to shape open-minded, sustainable and ethical technologies for a more inclusive society.

STARTS Pillars include STARTS Residencies, STARTS Prize, STARTS Lighthouses (WEAR Sustain, RE-Fream and MINDspaces), STARTS Regional Centres and STARTS Academy.

STARTS is an initiative of the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.It was launched in 2015, following up the findings of previous activities funded by the European Commission, namely ICT&Art 2012, FET-ART, ICT ART CONNECT 2013 and ICT ART CONNECT study, whose results demonstrated the worldwide emergence of communities of hybrid collaborations among science, technology and arts and their relevance.

> Partners

  • INOVA+
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts
  • ARS Electronica
  • IRCAM / Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique
  • La French Tech Grande Provence / LFTGP
  • Gluon / Platform for Art, Science & Technology

> Budget / Funding

European Commission, EU Horizon 2020 ICT-32-2018-2, Community Support Action,  STARTS ecosystem: Support to STARTS Community and Lighthouse Projects through the creation of an ecosystem for hybrid talent, Grant ID: 824950 (€999,918.75 total across all partners/€160,875.00 for UCA)

> Outcomes / Impact

STARTS Ecosystem has built an umbrella web platform to bring the Arts and Technology/Science community together, as well as launching in-person and online events and exhibitions to showcase STARTS funded collaboration teams and projects around Europe over the duration of the project and ongoing.

It is hoped that this platform will continue to be maintained after the end of the project in 2021 by future STARTS family projects.

> My Role

I was the leader of Work Package 1 (WP1) Community Motivation and Online Platform, whose job was to enliven the STARTS Family and the greater related European community and to join the platform to participate in our many activities online and in person. I am also a participant of WP4 STARTS IN Motion supporting project progression of previously funded project teams, as well WP2 which is about developing the Collaboration Toolkit and Engagement of the community through events online and offline which I have been leader in.

> Further Information

Valérie Lamontagne: Peau d’ne

> Valérie Lamontagne

Peau d’ne: Memorial Virtual Exhibition and Panel Discussion

This is a virtual exhibition gallery space to experience the e-textiles art and FashionTech collections, research, talks and performances of Valérie LaMontagne, a pioneer in the discipline made for the ISEA2020 ONLINE: WHY SENTIENCE? Symposium. The exhibition of Valérie’s work includes images of her work, 3D Catwalks versions of a few of her pieces, videos of her work, her curated talks, and a commemorative video by close friend and PhD supervisor Joanna Berzowska. It was also preceded by panel discussion of her research and significance by friends and colleagues in the Fashion Tech scene. These can be seen below and on featured links.

> Virtual Exhibition of the work of Valérie Lamontagne

> Videos

This is the panel discussion on the significance of Valérie Lamontagne’s research and fashion design work in e-textiles and Fashion Tech

Valérie Lamontagne discusses fashion-tech futures 2018 at The Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

See also the tribute video by Professor Joanna Berzowska, Associate Dean Research, Fine Arts Associate Professor, Design and Computation Arts Research Director, XS Labs, Concordia University, Montreal

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

Focus on her work from 2007 – October 4, 2019

> Abstract

Camille made a virtual exhibition gallery space to experience the e-textiles art and FashionTech collections, research, talks and performances of Valérie LaMontagne, a pioneer in the discipline. In 2018 and was about to take her post in Amsterdam, when Valérie LaMontagne found out she has leukaemia, and spent a year fighting it.

Valérie had just successfully won her battle with the disease in August 2019, but then deteriorated and died October 4th, 2019. AUAS Dean FDMCI, Frank Kresin said after hearing of her death: “Valérie was a driving force in an international network of fashion innovators. She knew how to inspire others and create amazing work, thanks to her enormous creativity, passion and perseverance. She fought for her life, for life itself, until the very end and never lost her optimism. Her death is a huge loss for many of us and I wish her family, friends and loved ones my condolences.

This exhibition is dedicated to Valérie and to try preserve her work and legacy in the e-textiles, wearables and FashionTech community. This is a virtual exhibition of Valérie’s work including images, 3D versions of a few of her pieces, videos of her work and her talks and a commemorative video by close friend and PhD supervisor Joanna Berzowska.

Garden of Earthly Delights

> Video’s in preparation for and from the events

> Video Panels and Events

> Timeline

September 8-13, 2020

> Collaborators

In this effort to bring together UK artists include:

  • A joint one day Expanded Animation symposium, Synaesthetic Syntax: Sounding Animation / Visualising Audio running concurrently in Linz, Austria, Portland, Oregon and in London, UK. See website here.
  • Art In Flux presented AUTONOMY, a live streamed event with an online exhibition curated by Maria Almena, featuring live performance and interactive art, details available here
  • NEoN under the theme of “Share, Share Alike”, NEoN produced interactive and site-specific performance lecture with artist B.D.Owens which can be seen here
  • A STARTS Pop-up Event, with two panels and discussions on Understanding complex data in COVID times, and Fashion: Materialising Numbers plus Leonardo S+T+ARTS: A conversation on “What’s next? Art-Science ideas emerging from lockdown.” can be found here

> Abstract

In a time of crisis for many artists and art institutions across the UK, Europe and the world, this effort is meant to celebrate amazing ingenuity of arts and technology collaboration and under the umbrella of Ars Electronica 2020 Kepler’s Garden theme of Garden of Earthly Delights after the Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych painting.

Ars Electronica (AE) 2020 traditionally takes place over 5 days during September in Linz, Austria. In 2020 there will be a small presence in Linz, but the majority of the festival will take place in more than 50 ‘gardens’ across the globe, with UCA’s Dr Baker and Dr Hosea establishing the UK Garden of Earthly Delights.

Inspired by the Ars Electronica 2020 meta-topics of ecology, democracy, uncertainty, humanity, reality, and autonomy, working with Bosch’s concept, it will be a way to combine his vision of the range of human experience with these meta-topics, to interrogate the moment we are now in, as humanity is facing the possibility of a long term pandemic, creating instant global recession and mass unemployment, continued climate crisis, continued inequality and the spread of fascism, as well as the looming impact of Brexit on the UK and across Europe. 

In the case of this year’s Ars Electronica UK garden, the Garden of Earthly Delights is quite an inclusive concept for many different simultaneous activities, which can take place from one Hub entry point, allowing each organisation to create their own sub-program within one ‘garden’ over the 5 days of the festival and connected from AE’s main portal website through Mozilla Hubs.

This garden includes many important Arts and Technology organisations from across the United Kingdom, many of whom are themselves struggling to continue after major setbacks to their own 2020 programs, and all the struggling artist their try to support, barely able to get by this year. This garden will act as a unifying community celebration of amazing art-tech/art-science collaborations.

> Partners

  • Ars Electronica via Kristina Maurer
  • Ars Electronica’s Expanded Animation via co-director Birgitta Hosea, UCA’s Director of the Animation Reserach Centre
  • STARTS Ecosystem EU-Funded Project
  • STARTS Regional Centres EU funded project

> Budget / Funding

  • Funding was provided by Ars Electronica, who diverted a small budget of €4000 to UCA to pay the artists for their work.
  • £1,600 was also came from the STARTS Ecosystem project to pay the slary for Lucy Bunnell to be project manager for the Garden of Earthly Delights coordination

> Outcomes / Impact

UCA UK AE Garden in online viewing numbers:

STARTS events (Leonardo etc)77
Snapshot of UCA Garden:
12 events
9 collaborators
58 participants
12 different countries

WEAR Sustain

> WEAR Sustain

Wearable technologists Engage with Artists for Responsible innovation

WEAR Sustain brings artists and designers to work together with technologists and engineers across Europe, to shift the focus of development in the EU wearable technology and smart textile industries, to address the core issues of ethical, sustainable, aesthetic, environmental and responsible approaches at the research, design and development stages.  

> Videos

More videos available on the WEAR Sustain YouTube channel.

> Gallery

> Timeline

January 2017 – April 2019

> Collaborators

  • IMEC – Coordinator & Project Management
  • UCA – Creative & Critical Lead, Project Initiator
  • Queen Mary University – Dissemination & Promotion Lead
  • Universitat der Kunste – Prototype Management & Sustainability Lead
  • We Connect Data – Mapping & Network Developer
  • Blumine SRL – Fashion / Textile & Mapping Partner
  • Digital Spaces Living Labs – Technology & Incubation Partner

> Abstract

The goal of WEAR was to develop best practices for enabling, facilitating, and growing the Europe-wide wearable technology, smart and electronic textiles network, developing collaborations and innovations between artists, designers, technologists and engineers to make ethical and sustainable solutions and technologies for a better future.

WEAR Sustain brought artists and technologists together to work in local hubs, in the end funding 46 prototype projects at €50, 000 per project, toward market and technology readiness. 

WEAR Aims and Objectives were to:

  • Develop a sustainable European network of stakeholders and hubs, to connect and push the boundaries in the design and development of wearables;
  • Encourage cross-border and cross-sector collaboration between creative people and technology developers to design and develop wearables; 
  • Develop a framework within which future prototypes can be made that will become the next generation of what ethical and aesthetic wearables could/should be;
  • Lead the emergence of innovative approaches to design, production, manufacturing and business models for wearable technologies;
  • Help citizens, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders more aware of the ethical and aesthetic issues in making and use of wearable technologies.

> Partners

  • IMEC, Belgium
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts, UK
  • Queen Mary University of London, UK
  • Universitat der Kunste Berlin, Germany
  • We Connect Data, Belgium
  • Blumine SRL, Italy
  • Digital Spaces Living Labs, Bulgaria

> Budget / Funding

The European Commission Horizon 2020, from Work Programme 2016-17, call ICT-36 Creativity and Sustainability – Innovation Action (H2020-ICT-2016-1) Total funded € 2,998,925 total (80% going to fund 46 smaller prototype projects) – €111062.50 for UCA with Camille Baker as PI for UCA. Seven work packages across seven partners with UCA / Baker leading two of these.

> Outcomes

Knowledge exchange and dissemination events (symposium, industry showcase & exhibition), conference presentations, one book chapter, several journal papers, mini TV documentary, and three 30-second promotional videos. 

> Impact

The long-term impacts are still to come but include adding forty-six teams made of art, design and technology professionals, who will take their experience of ethical and sustainable design process into their future practice, pushing suppliers, manufacturers and others within the supply chain and industry as a whole to (ideally) change their own business practicing a large-scale trickle-down effect:

  • Society = change in awareness of how the wearable and e-textile products are made.
  • Economy = a shift towards more ethical / sustainable products and services sold, transforming the whole supply change toward to better practices.
  • Policy = future EC funding focussed on more ethical and sustainable proposals – shift in what is considered a fundable innovation, with ethics and sustainability embedded

> My Role

I was an ambassador for the project and as such interacted with, engaged with and developed relationships with key research users, beneficiaries or audiences collaborators through European Commission ICT events (i.e.ICT 2015 Lisbon – where WEAR collaboration began and potential partners developed), as well as numerous conferences presenting the ICT&Art Connect/FET-Art, WEAR Sustain outcomes.

FET Art / ICT & Art Connect

> FET-Art EU FP7 Co-Creation

Connecting ICT and Art communities: new research avenues, challenges, and expected impact (ICT&Art Connect)

We need to study what problems art and ICT can solve together… Does there first have to be a convergence process between art, ICT, brain science, and psychology, whereby each discipline better understands the process and language of the other? …Do we need to understand better the intradisciplinary benefits of art and ICT collaborations, before going onto understand the inter- and transdisciplinary ones? …The element of the aesthetic in the ICT innovation process may also need more study. (Foden, 2012)

> Videos

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

June 2013 – May 2014

> Collaborators

  • SIGMA ORIONIS SA – Coordinator & Project Management
  • BRUNEL UNIVERSITY – Creative Vision, Matchmaking & Event Organisation
  • WAAG SOCIETY – Collaboration Facilitation & Monitoring
  • STROMATOLITE – Hackathon & Event Organisation
  • BLACK CUBE COLLECTIVE – Matchmaking & Event Organisation

> Abstract

The EU funded project called FET-Art, stems from the first “ICT & ART Connect” event, which took place in Brussels in April 2012 under the aegis of DG CONNECT, European Commission, and co-organised by the Future and Emerging Technologies Unit, Brunel University and University College London issued a series of recommendations, including the following ones:

We need to study what problems art and ICT can solve together… Does there first have to be a convergence process between art, ICT, brain science, and psychology, whereby each discipline better understands the process and language of the other? …Do we need to understand better the intradisciplinary benefits of art and ICT collaborations, before going onto understand the inter- and transdisciplinary ones? …The element of the aesthetic in the ICT innovation process may also need more study. (Foden, 2012)

The reported outcomes of the workshop and recommendations for future directions that the EU should take on in Art and ICT (information communications technology) co-creation, included:

  • A plea to the EU and Europe to think harder about art and ICT as complementary ways of thinking; whereby both computational and creative thinking include making models and metaphors of the world/experience that involve choosing between a range of narrative options.
  • To recognise that Art is generally accepted as a good vehicle for public engagement with an understanding of science and technology, and that Art often provides a holistic view of the social conflicts of science’s embodiment in technology. Art helps to convert knowledge into meaning.
  • To understand that Artists don’t like environments in which they are an afterthought, getting a pat on the back for making technology or science look pretty; and technologists don’t appreciate being brought into creative projects just as technicians. So we must think about how the revelation processes of Art making can be integrated into scientific/policy methodologies; and what the right conditions are for true co-innovation.
  • Together, Art & ICT can help the wider public to engage in the ethical issues around policy; and through ICT-enabled communication channels, involving participatory democracy around different artistic interpretations of choice, the public can participate and affect decision-making. But first collective tools for community management, sustainable management and broad exposure across Art & ICT need to be established. (Foden, 2012) Other policy recommendations were:
    • Explore other forms of engagement between art and ICT other than for dissemination purposes only;
    • Establish areas of research in ICT where stronger involvement of artists could be synergetic. Three candidates: Creativity, Social innovation, Global Systems science.
    • Develop a rationale and operational steps to include artists more prominently in these areas.
    • Plan an annual series of workshops in the spirit of ICT & ART CONNECT;
    • Consider an organisational structure to facilitate interaction of artists within ICT projects (‘in- project artists’);
    • Explore other forms of CONNECT engagement with art than for dissemination purposes only (for instance co-creation, public engagement with ICT)(Foden, 2012).

This event clearly confirmed that a great potential for the EU to be more involved in fostering more of an on-going dialogue between technology and art practitioners, and that it is important to efficiently support such dialogue now, in light big changes in the way the EU funds research project and the newly implemented Horizon 2020 mandate for funding, in order to contribute to the emergence of novel future emerging technologies research topics being developed by the European Commission, and its identification of new emerging research areas.

The aims inspired from the April 2012 event included:

  1. Move technology and art intersection/ interaction from the broad frame of Digital Humanities, or the domain of Creative Industries and SME’s, toward more specific and direct impact beyond business;
  2. Encourage technology/ICT specialists to work with artists, on an equal basis, on EU and other funded project initiatives – to show the ICT community the value artists will bring to their activities;
  3. Help organisations and companies to consider new organisational structures that facilitate interaction of artists with ICT projects (‘in- project artists’) and to develop operational schemes to include artists in funded projects

Thus, as a follow-on project to this event, a one-year project that started in June 2013, was intended as a catalyst project devoted to connecting European technology and artistic communities, and fostering productive dialogues, engagement, and collaborative work between them to demonstrate the synergies collaborative work between them, in order to identify new research avenues, associated challenges, and the potential impact of ICT and Art collaboration on science, technology, art, education and society in general, and how each can contribute to a new Europe.

Within this context, a FET-ART balanced partnership of committed organisations was formed, offering renowned expertise in the ICT and Art domains, important connections with ICT and Art practitioners in Europe and worldwide, many references at the ICT and Art intersection, and longstanding experience of planned activities.

One of the main aims of the FET-Art project, later branded as ICT & Art Connect, was to both seek and document consultation with experts and with the arts and ICT technology practitioners themselves on the issues and process of collaboration. The goal of the consultation was to highlight a much under discussed topic of collaboration experiences that artists and technology professionals have had (good and bad), either with others within their profession or across disciplines, and to glean recommendations for future collaboration process approaches.

Then events to bring artists and technologists together to collaborate were hosted by each partner. Each event was organised differently, and some included Hackathons or fast project prototyping, to ignite partnerships, while others focused on showing current successful art/tech projects, while discussing the issues and problems of art/tech collaboration more deeply. An active effort was made to find outside, objective experts from other European and international institutions and organisations with experts who have witnessed, researched and/or otherwise facilitated and nurtured numerous art and technology collaborations.