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Part of the wider Creative Informatics programme, Connected Innovators supports emerging leaders who seek to incorporate social impact into their creative practice. We are pleased to welcome 8* new Connected Innovators who will receive up to £10 000 to work on research and development or professional development around data and data-driven innovation. In addition to receiving funding, the Innovators will receive support, skills and expertise from the Creative Edinburgh and Creative Informatics network which will enable them to develop and grow their practice and ideas.

Meet the new Connected Innovators:

Frank Thomas

“The UK Rap Map is a map and database dedicated to the exploration and discovery of rappers and producers across the UK. The project aims to develop a unique digital resource to explore the range of artists past and present with an interactive map as the user interface. Why a map? Hip hop and rap are two of the few musical genres and communities where geography and physical location play an important role for an artist and the community they represent. Currently there are 934 artists from 218 different places represented. I'm going to use the Connected Innovator funding to help develop a new website that provides more interactive options for the user as well as increasing the representation of Scottish artists on the map through research and interviews.”

Stuart Smith-Gordon

“My proposal is to look at Edinburgh’s Empire Palace Theatre which was lost to fire in 1911 designed by Frank Matcham. The project aims to capture the fragmented archive data that remains and use a combination of physical modelling and digital innovation and bring it back alive, celebrating the work of the incredible craftspeople who first designed it. It will allow users to experience and explore the building in rich detail, creating a magical and enlightening experience. Preserving the ‘lost building’ for future generations. The project has the potential to unlock more of our lost built heritage, bring in experts and digital artists to create the most complete record of these treasured spaces and reinterpret them for a new generation.”

Tanya Howden

“Role models are critical in allowing young people to see themselves in the future world of work and whilst we frequently turn to role models throughout history such as Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, many young people may struggle to identify with them due to the different era and lack of shared experiences. Lassies in STEM is bridging this gap by researching and connecting with women across Scotland working in STEM to gather insights into their journey to share their experiences and celebrate their successes with young people, providing role models who are working in Scotland’s STEM sector today!”

Elena Zini

"I am the founder of Screen Language and a translator, subtitler and media access specialist. Through my company I aim to offer accessibility and linguistic services for the film industry such as multilingual subtitling, subtitling for D/deaf and hard of hearing, audio description, live captioning, translation, transcription and BSL interpreting.

Alongside the daily provision of these products to the film industry, I strive to push the boundaries in the field in order to find new and innovative ways to improve access to cinema for people with different access requirements. As a Connected Innovator, I am working on developing the technology behind My Sound Cinema, the first online Audio Description-only cinema optimised for blind and visually impaired audiences."

Stephanie Wilson

“This funding will be used to help me to carry out research exploring event access needs to ascertain current methods of practice and their impact, as well as supporting the development of VIA. VIA will be a platform representing Visible Inclusive Accessibility, as not every disability or access need is visible, however we believe that the adjustments and measures to meet these needs should be. Using this research and experience led perspectives, we will address the current lack of resources available to those with needs extending beyond a venue's physical restrictions. (Considering the nuances events and exhibitions themselves present experientially and the complex range of needs these may impact upon eg; mental health, neurodivergence, other cognitive impariments etc). Advocating for the social model of disability, we want to engage with how barriers and access needs are considered to extend dialogue and promote social inclusion. By collecting and collating this research a range of experiences can be captured and used to generate a database of shared knowledge. Helping to develop a method of best practice informed by lived experiences, to support the needs of both audience members and event organisers. Resulting in a unified visitor experience for all.”

Mella Shaw

"As an Environmental artist, I plan to raise awareness of the recent massive increase in whale strandings across Scotland. Although under-reported in the press, a large amount of data has been gathered by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) which reveals that a key cause of deaths is sound pollution in the form of mid-water-sonar. With the Connected Innovator funding and permission from NatureScot, I will collect bones from beached whales and use these to make a completely new material; whale-bone-china (regular bone-china usually includes 40% cow bone). I will use this new clay body to create a ceramic installation which highlights the issue and reveals the fragility of these protected species. I also plan to research and incorporate new ways of visualising this data and the effect of the sonar in an immersive and interactive way."

Kate Ive

"My research based sculpture practice focuses on our anthropogenic impact on the Earth and most recently the ocean. For Connected Innovators, I will explore how we store data and leave stratified records of our presence, drawing on archaeological artefacts, Edison’s early wax cylinder sound records and environmental datasets, to explore systems that create ‘sculptural recordings’. Working from my Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop studio I will research and develop new work embedding open-source data in ceramic sculptures. Using these experimental pieces, I will establish a system to decipher and decode the environmental data embedded in the work’s surfaces for the first time."

Christina MacLeod and Connor Moore

“The Connected Innovator programme marks a vote of confidence in our data-driven art collaboration. Creative Edinburgh’s funding will allow us to accelerate research and development of the orbital mechanics simulator to explore the growing threat of space debris and explore this through a creative medium. The orbital space around Earth constitutes a finite resource that is being used by an increasing number of states, non-governmental organisations and private companies. The proliferation of space debris and emergence of large constellations have driven up the risk of collisions in space. The long-term use of space, and society's dependence on it, is under threat.”

We are looking forward to working with and supporting our new cohort as they progress throughout their project. To learn more about Creative Informatics and other available funding opportunities, visit their website and stay in touch with Creative Edinburgh by becoming a member.

*Development of new cohort still subject to contracts being signed

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