SMARTlab Digital Media Institute at UEL: News

Genius Scholarship Award 2008: Marc Yu accepts new SMARTlab-RITSEC award

Nine-year-old renowned piano virtuoso Marc Yu gave a special concert on Friday 29th August to celebrate his acceptance of the first ever Genius Scholarship Award, a new annual prize established by SMARTlab in partnership with RITSEC, the Middle East’s leading centre for technology and innovation. This important new award, inspired by a milestone meeting at the World Summit of Innovation and Enterprise, aims to honour and encourage creative genius in all its forms and, in particular, to develop young talent. Professor Goodman has been appointed Head of the Award's Judging and Mentorship Panel and will mentor Marc over the coming year. >>> Read more

(Pictured: Prof Goodman with Marc Yu and Dr Hisham El Sherif, benefactor)

SMARTlab PhD graduations and an honorary PhD for Sir Bob Geldof, Barbican, 27 October 2008

We are proud to announce that three SMARTlab PhD students will graduate at the Barbican ceremony on the 27th October:

  • Dr Daria Dorosh: ‘Patterning: The Informatics of Art and Fashion’ - a major work that traces the shift from the analogue to the digital age in knit and weave, offering a glimpse into fashion futures.
  • Dr Gayil Nalls: World Sensorium: Theory, Practice and Significance of the World Social Olfactory Sculpture’ - a monument to the planet and humanity at the millennium, pushing the boundaries of knowledge in Neuroaesthetics.
  • Dr Jacquelyn Ford Morie: ‘Meaning and Emplacement in Expressive Immersive Virtual Environments’ - a landmark work in the creation and analysis of socially responsible VR.
  • Sir Bob Geldof: is to receive an Honorary PhD in Music from the University of East London. He was nominated by SMARTlab for his long-term work in the use of creative technologies for social development (from his early work on Band AID through to Live AID and to the Commission for Africa), with research by SMARTlab’s Sheila Robinson and currently his collaboration with SMARTbloom and Youbloom - the new social network for ethical artists.

European Commission News: Lizbeth Goodman to lead a funded team of SMARTlab researchers on the PANDORA Project

21Dr. Mohammad Dastbaz, the new Dean of SCoT – UEL’s School of Computing and Technology - has appointed Prof. Lizbeth Goodman to lead a funded team of SMARTlab researchers on the PANDORA Project, which he has designed with collaborators from key labs across the EC, to develop emergency evacuation systems and services.
SMARTlab's expertise in human movement and locative games, as well as in 3D virtual and augmented social and learning environments, will be brought to bear on the European agenda for safety and security.

ALT-C 2008 Conference in Leeds - Live performance: 24 year old Katie Gilligan (a creative collaborator with Cerebal Palsy) spoke live in her own voice for the first time

SMARTlab performed ‘DUET for EYES II: Moving with the Sprites’ at this year’s Association for Learning Technology annual international conference ALT-C 2008 - Rethinking the Digital Divide in Leeds, 9 -11 September 2008. >>>Read More

Professor Goodman prepared the large audience of educators and technology developers with her invited lecture on the future of practice based research - Building the Arc: the Social Network and Emotional-Intellectual Dynamic Methodology of the SMARTlab Practice-Based PhD Programme, speaking alongside George Auckland, head of Innovation, BBC Vision.

UEL news - SMARTlab project short-listed for THE Awards 2008

21Times Higher Education (THE) has announced its shortlist for THE Awards 2008 and SMARTlab's project has been short-listed in the category of ‘Outstanding Support for Students with Disabilities’. Principal Investigator Dr. Mick Donegan, Co-PI Professor Lizbeth Goodman and the research team James Brosnan, Dr Brian Duffy, Dr Rachel Armstrong, Bobby Byrne, Camille Baker, Toby Borland, Sapna Ramnani, Jeremi Sudol, Aejaz Zahid, Jana Riedel, Vanessa Wiegand et al have all been recognized for their outstanding work on InterFACES – Setting free creative expression for students with the most complex disabilities.

Microsoft & Tata will be jointly sponsoring our second Awards table, including the cost of flying in James Brosnan (our collaborator and user-tester with Cerebral Palsy) and his assistant from Dublin for the event. Microsoft & Tata are committed to the roll out of SMARTclubs for the world's
digital citizens, including people with disabilities. >>> THE 2008: Shortlist

SMARTlab bags 2 Europrix Seals! The Europrix is the European Media Award for excellence.

SpecialEffectThis September, Europrix announced not one but two Seals of Quality for 2008: one to Taey Kim for her media design excellence, and one to Katy Gilligan & the InterFACES Project team for their creative technology InterFACES for people with disabilities!>>> Europrix

RITSEC announces SMARTlab as its selected major partner for collaborate project development in the Middle East

21 RITSEC - The Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Centre - is the Middle East’s leading centre for technology and innovation and has announced sponsorship of SMARTlab international research projects and the Genius Scholarship Award. >>>Read More

Funded research round-up in brief:

It has been an intensely busy time for funded research collaborations this September and early October! Collaboration meetings in London at the House of Lords (by invitation of Lord Dearing & Dr. Badshah) and at research retreats on the UEL campus have reaped rich rewards - Microsoft, UK Online, Futurelab, BAFTA, Digital 2.0, the Bitish Council, Nokia-INDT, and the Applied Information Group have all committed to collaboration on SMARTlab's future projects and mentorship watch this space!


2ecoLogicStudio links with MAGICbox to fabricate components for ‘OUT THERE:ARCHITECTURE BEYOND BUILDING’ at the Venice Architectural Biennale

Toby Borland, MAGICbox Researcher/Manager, has linked-up with ecoLogicStudio this Autumn to support their project ecoMachines: “the making of artificial ecologies” for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition. See, Out There: Architecture Beyond Building', running in Venice from September 14th to November 23rd. >>> Read more / Visit MAGICbox

MAKE SOME NOISE! SMARTlab Recycled Orchestra Workshops transformed ‘junk’ this Summer at the Stratford Red Hot Summer of Music Festival and at the Royal Festival Hall

xSMARTlab is leading the 'digital materialization' workshops where technology meets streetsmarts and where local groups come to learn to make musical instruments from junk and to play. People of all ages and musical abilities took part and recent events have taken place at our lab in the Docklands, at festivals and have streamed live to Harlem, New York. >>> Read more

First phase roll out of new SMARTclubs to UK test sites

xThe SMARTclub program is the successor to the highly successful Club Tech program in the United States, which is now estimated by Microsoft to have reached over 5.4 million children in disenfranchised areas of America.

SMARTclub aims to take interactive technology to where it matters – to groups of people who may not have ready access to technology, or who may be experiencing difficult circumstances. Whilst the Western World settles itself into Web 2.0, these people must not be left behind. SMARTclubs aims to develop the methods used during Club Tech, bringing them up to date for new generations of users, with new open source solutions and SMART tools too! Watch this space for further UK roll out information!

Book launch: Mobile Nation

2The publication of anthology, Mobile Nation, with contribution by SMARTLab member Suzanne Stein will be celebrated in Toronto, Canada on September 17, available at

Stein's chapter looks at the rise of play and the use of Foresighting methodologies to understand new technology engagements.

Published by Riverside Architectual Press and Ontario College for Art and Design. Edited by Martha Ladly and Philip Beesley. A downloadable Pdf sample of the book is available online at Riverside:

SMARTlab has released it’s latest Microsoft publication ‘Skilling Up: The Workforce Agenda & the Club Tech Contribution to Youth at Risk’ by Lizbeth Goodman, Esther MacCallum-Stewart and Vicki Munsell, available through The MIT Press.

This paper presents the major case study of a comprehensive IT package delivered over seven years to a large group of users from the ‘youth at risk’ sector of American society: the Microsoft CSR and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Club Tech program. >>> Read more

Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart introduces the subject of ‘Grief Play’ at the Brunel Digital Games Postgraduate Conference, 2008

Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Post-Doc Research Fellow at SMARTlab, spoke at the Brunel Postgraduate conference on 16 September on 'Grief Play', and why players do it.

The paper looks at ways in which we can classify 'griefing'; eg, causing harm or distress to other players in online worlds, beyond the definitions that have previously pigeonholed this social phenomenon, and finds some very different ways in which players protest, interact, fall afoul of each other and cause mischief. >>> Read more

‘Autobiology’ awarded Arts Council grant

1SMARTlab Principal Researcher in Performance Technologies Dr. Leslie Hill has been awarded £60,000 in grants from the Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust Arts Awards for her new research project ‘Autobiology’, which she will undertake in collaboration with Dr. Helen Paris of Brunel University’s Centre for Contemporary and Digital Performance and Professor Qasim Aziz, HH Wingate Professor of Neurogastroenterology in Barts and the London School of Medicine. >>>Read More

Tamarin Norwood wins AHRC grant.

21Tamarin Norwood, SMARTlab’s resident Research Assistant has won a prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) award to continue her work as an artist and to study for a MFA, Art Writing at Goldsmiths College, London. The AHRC supports world-class research that furthers our understanding of human culture and creativity. We are sorry to see Tamarin go, but wish her every success in her exciting career. To join in Tamarin's good-luck supper on Friday 3 October, email for further information. >>>See Tamarin's work

Spaces "between" Access and Excess - Critical formation of urban spaces

2The Spaces "between" project is both a resource for all those who wish to situate themselves conceptually in UK policy or physically in the Docklands and is also a series of smalland large scale activities, research projects and events which aim to contribute to the critical formation of urban spaces. >>> Read more


New Funding, PR & Marketing Internship available

An unpaid internship position has become available within the SMARTlab Digital Media Institute to support the Development Team and contribute to SMARTlab’s Funding, PR and Event activities. SMARTlab is a dynamic and fast-paced environment that develops new technologies connecting creative people in all regions of the world, irrespective of age, gender, nationality, wealth, or intellectual and physical ability. Please contact for further details.

What's On

Games for London's 2012 agenda

2SMARTlab has been invited to lead serious games and locative mobile games information and mentoring sessions with BAFTA, the London Games Festival & the Festival Fringe, Digital 2.0, Futurelab and several major industry players.

The first events will coincide with the London Games Festival, 24 Oct to 2 Nov 2008. Watch the SMARTlab website for details of events in the streets of East London - 28-30 October, the V&A Museum - 31 October and BAFTA - 1 November.

Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Babak Davarpanah, Celine Llewellyn-Jones, Camille Baker, David Dunkley Gymiah, Dr Rachel Armstrong, Bobby Byrne, Ron Edwards, Jude Ower, Bruce Damer, Galen Brandt, Professor Goodman and the team will lead on these events in preparation for longer term collaborations with the 2012 Renaissance Museums Project.

SMARTlab adjunct faculty contributing to the games include: Dr Celia Pearce, Dr Mary Flanagan, Dr Gayil Nalls, Dr Daria Dorosh, Dr Jacki Morie, Dr Sher Doruff, et al.

Dr Chris Hales - European interactive film and digital media tour




Dr Chris Hales, Post Doctoral Research Fellow at SMARTlab, has been active this summer showcasing twelve of his interactive films, on display in a specially constructed labyrinth of small rooms in the basement of Prague's National Gallery, as part of the Triennale of Contemporary Art, June to the end of September 2008. >>> Read more

'She is back (Unniga Dolawhatda)' by Taey Kim at the Kyunggi Art Museum, Korea, October 2008



Taey Kim, SMARTlab's Brand Manager and a Digital Artist, has been commissioned by the Kyunggi Art Museum in South Korea to participate in a celebration of Korea's contemporary female artists. This exhibition presents twenty of Korea’s most interesting visual artists. Taey's work, ‘Lure of Lawn,' is an extension of her ongoing PhD research of virtual encounters between Na Hyeseok, a historical feminist artist in Korea, and Mary Wollstonecraft, also a feminist of the same period in Stoke Newington, London. To see Taey's work visit:

SMARTlab's Ron Edwards leads the Virtual Worlds London, 6-7 October in London.

22SMARTlab will be well represented at the Virtual Worlds London event by PhD students Bruce Damer and Ron Edwards. Both are giving high level talks, and the SMARTlab team will lead a break-out session on SMARTsystems and VR for socially engaged research and community applications: all on October 20th.

Ron Edward's company Ambient Performance are sponsors of the event. Members of the SMARTlab extended network can use the discount code 'ambientvip' when registering to get 10% off!

20th Anniversary Reception at Canada House

Hosted by the CFC (Canadian Film Centre), which includes SMARTlab's own Suzanne Stein (also a part time faculty member at the CFC).  The October event celebrates 20 years of launching Canada’s most creative ideas and voices in film, television and new media to the world. 

LESS REMOTE - The Futures of Space Exploration symposium, SECC, Glasgow, 30 September - 01 October

2Dr Rachel Armstrong (medical doctor and SMARTlab PhD student) will be speaking on the 30th September at 15:05 about Human Reproduction in Space as part of the ‘EXTENDING OUR REACH’ Session which examines the cultural and philosophical implications of attempts to make contact with other intelligent life forms, what messages are sent and how they are composed.
Forthcoming Dates

September 2008

2Microsoft Visit – Dr Akhtar Badshah, Sr. Director Community Affairs, made a return visit to SMARTlab from Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, to work further on our publications in progress and to discuss future projects and development including research on SMARTclubs at Trinity College Dublin and at selected UK sites with UK Online and with Microsoft Middle East.

Nokia Research Lab INDT Seminar - A team of senior researchers and group leaders from NOKIA Brazil's INDT lab returned to SMARTlab to progress ongoing plans for major collaborative projects and sponsored PhDs

October 2008

2Australia and Singapore tour 6–18 October 2008 (Fully Funded) Prof Lizbeth Goodman and Dr Mick Donegan will be delivering keynotes and workshops in Sydney and Newcastle, Australia and later in Singapore this October. Whilst in Singapore the team will also work on the active Trust Project at the NTV Game Lab in association with the BBC and the KK Hospital for women and children. (see

  • ArtsHealth Symposium #1, Newcastle, Australia, 8-9 October - Professor Lizbeth Goodman and Dr. Mick Donegan will be speaking on Assistive Technology and Multimodal Interfaces.
  • Creativity and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney, in partnership with Powerhouse Syndey: 10-12 October - Special lectures and workshops are planned in hospitals and at special schools using the eyegaze system.
  • Special sponsored workshop on Performance and Technology, at the National Institute of Education (Singapore), 15 October , organised by Dr Jane Prendergast: this event will demonstrate the potential of Interfaces - to put a more human face on assistive technologies. The team will also present the SMARTlab new Mytobii system performance technologies in a performance workshop that will involve workshop participants.
  • Keynote: Bridging Worlds 2008 Conference, National Library Board, Singapore, 16-17 October – Professor Lizbeth Goodman will speak on ‘Finding the Moment of Embodied Learning/from Distance to Connected Models, and into the world of web 2.0’ - Friday 17 October, 11.30 – 12.10

SMARTlab PhD Week, 19-24 October - The next PhD seminar begins on Sunday 19th October for an Introduction by Professor Goodman (mandatory for all new students), and then runs 9am-7pm daily from Monday 20th-Friday 24th October.

November 2008

Planning meetings for the World Summit of Innovation & Enterprise, 10-17 November (to be held in Abu Dhabi 13-15 January ’09), (Fully Funded)

Planning meetings in New York, London and Dubai for the Youth Academy for Peace and Women’s Leadership Forum, to be held throughout November (Fully Funded)

Interfaces team to visit Cairo to launch Interfaces for the Middle East  (Fully Funded)

Invited Lecture for the European Commission, 25-26 November, Lyon, France. To be delivered by Lizbeth Goodman, on Creative Technology Furures- towards the next Framework Programme (Fully Funded)

JUNK-SOUNDKinetica presents: Future Bodies - A SMARTfashion workshop, planned for the Dana Gallery, the Science Museum London, 27 November.

December 2008

Indian Train Journey - Jagriti Yatra: A sponsored train ride through the rural villages of India, on which SMARTlab team members will work with industry and NGO mentors to train youth at risk from around the world in a range of new skills and tools to help employ and empower them in the 21st century. The journey will commence on 23 December, and those selected at the final event in Mumbai on 10 January will be invited to attend the Youth Academy for Peace session in Abu Dhabi. (Fully funded)

Shows & Multimedia

Belonging: A new film to launch by PhD Student Sapna Ramnani

2PhD Student Sapna Ramnani has launched her latest film 'Belonging'; a thirty-minute documentary that discovers what it is to be Sindhi living in Britain and the challenges of preserving cultural identity for people without a homeland. Her film discusses western influence on different generations of Sindhis and the role of a Sindhi community organization in assisting to preserve Sindhi culture in Britain.

“Sindhis are direct descendants of Mohenjo Daro 5000 B.C, one of the oldest civilisations in the world. With the formation of Pakistan in 1947, 1.1 million Sindhis became refugees; generations which have followed are settled in the countries across the world, approximately
5000 of which add to the present multicultural diversity in Britain today.”

Sapna will be hosting a private screening of her documentaries ‘Belonging’ and ‘The Great Illusion’ on the 20th September 2008. Further announcements will be made on public screenings later in the year.

‘The Great Illusion’ is a ten-minute documentary that explores how the members of the Hare Krishna Movement perceive reality, and their notions of reincarnation. It is set in the beautiful location of Bhaktivedanta Manor, Watford and also uncovers the life of Swami A.C. Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement.

Sapna's PhD with SMARTlab aims to develop and test a way to use the Mytobii eye-gaze interface to allow Sapna and ultimately also many other filmmakers with Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities, to make and edit their own films using Final Cut Pro. . . >>>Read More

Filminute – Vote for your favourite one minute film

2Suzanne Stein, SMARTlab Deputy Director/ Technology Futures Team Leader has been made a member of the Selection Committee that finalises this year’s repertoire for Filminute - the International One-Minute Film Festival. The Festival has officially launched and is running for the month of September. Filminute has generated submissions from over 60 countries this year and twenty-five finalists await public viewing and voting at

Citations Lifted Loose

2An exhibition of new artwork by Valerie Jolly and Tamarin Norwood in a Georgian home off Brick Lane - Part of the Shoreditch Concrete and Glass Festival. 2-19 October 2008. >>>Read More 

The 11th International Architecture Exhibition:'Out There: Architecture Beyond Building', runs in Venice from September 14th to November 23rd with work by ecoLogicStudio, supported by MAGICbox. >>>Read More

2For further information please contact Rachel Lasebikan
The SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, University of East London, Docklands Campus,
4-6 University Way, London E16 2RD T: +44 (0)208 223 7823 F: +44 (0)208 223 7140