SMARTlab has at heart a ‘universal design’ concept. By designing for sections of society whose interests and needs are least served by off-the-shelf technologies – e.g. women, young people at risk and people with (extreme) disabilities – we aim to create socially inclusive, sustainable projects and products of use to all.
The SMARTlab team maintains a strong collaborative ethos in its work and includes live artists, performers, dance and movement specialists, visual artists, filmmakers, photographers, sculptors, textile experts, fashion designers, poets/writers, composers/musicians, sound artists, VR engineers, programmers, game and interface designers and e-business specialists who design for sustainable development, social change and community wellbeing.
SMARTlab’s ethos is simple: every project is grounded in a community, culture or research environment. The team spends time getting to know the local people, issues, concerns and needs before involving the larger group of experts, who may include artists, computer scientists, medical and social care professionals, educators and scholars. The larger, integrated cohort then develops new technology tools with real social impact, whether for individuals, for groups or for wider international aims.
SMARTlab selects projects and teams on the basis of ethical concerns, social engagement and the ability to work effectively in interdisciplinary groups, as well as for the originality and potential impact of the research, in basic and applied terms.
In every context, the aim is to effect knowledge transfer within the team, between teams and local communities, and within broader academic and industry relations.