Image below shows the Easy Read programme for the first meeting of the purpleSTARS Advisory Group.
PurpleSTARS Advisory Group Session one Sept 1st
Sensory Objects co-researchers from the Tower Project agreed to become our purpleSTARS Advisory Group they will help us form the Sensory Objects Enterprise alongside business advice from EVOLVE Strategic Marketing Consultant Louise Moger.purpleSTARS Advisory Group:
purpleSTARS Advisory Group also met Becca Doggwiler who is collecting Impact of the Sensory Object project. Becca asked the group to help her design ways of collecting feedback to show the Impact of the project. The picture below shows Becca discussing feedback with the group and an online form they could tell us what they thought of the day.
Becca discussing feedback with the group
Online feedback questionnaire
The picture below shows the purpleSTARS Advisory Group SELFIE after the first session at RIX research & media.
Last night our Reading College LLD/D group did a fantastic job showcasing the cow at MERL’s Grand Opening Night. They have been practising over the last few weeks showing visitors how to record their own “MOO”.
Below are pictures of the cow before the guests arrived.
It was a very busy night opening night, the cow was in the MERL studio and we showcased the cow to many people. The Director of MERL Kate Arnold Forster mentioned our cow in her speech and it soon the cow recorded some excellent moo’s from the guests. There were so many people it was hard to hear after people had recorded it. Here is a clip from an earlier vist with guest leaving their moo.
Below are images from the opening night demoing the cow.
Exploring the Cow
ALL ABOUT MAKING THE COW
Below are images of our Reading College co-researchers and the cow.
In response to the sensory objects developed during the AHRC Sensory Objects project, working with Reading College LLD/D students at MERL during 2013-14, the need for interactive exhibits and farm animals was highlighted. Earlier prototypes developed resulted in the idea of creating an Interactive Sensory Cow for MERL as part of the major re-hang of the collection. Below is Rumena’s interactive chicken 2014.
Our group’s engagement was heightened when creating animal noises during their visit to MERL. The engagement made the collection more accessible and brought to life farms and that farm animals were central to a museum about farming.
The Sensory Cow has been developed as a workshop tool, it allows people to leave their own cow sounds, or any sound they wish, the sounds are recorded by continually pressing a button under the cows chin. Below is a picture of the record button under the cows chin.
cow record button
Our co-researchers practiced inviting the public to record their own sounds and how to stop and start the sounds.
The pictures below shows Steven and Charlotte recording sounds.
The recorded sounds are played back immediately after recording and can be stopped and started by pressing the milk bottle top switch on the cow’s rump.
Milk Bottletop Switch
The sounds collected can be added and removed via the cow’s own Raspberry Pi mini computer network which can be accessed by any computer or iPad joining the cow’s own network and easy to use interface the Moo Manager. The Moo Manger allows workshop facilitators to add their own sounds depending on their workshop subject and easy to delete unwanted sounds.
The cow stands on a grass wheeled base, this houses the Raspberry Pi and speakers and a smell machine with a fan that blows out smells. Working with our group we decided to use a pleasant smell that relates to produce of a cow, milk chocolate.
We had a talk from Adam an MA student who lives on a farm, he told us some facts about living on a farm with cows. He also mentioned that we needed to add thick eye lashes to the cow.
With our co-researchers we developed workshop materials to be used with the cow. The cow has magnets placed inside it so that various items could be attached to it. We explored items that are produced by the cow, leather and suede patches, milk cartons, milk drinks, beefburgers suggested by the group. The cow has items that attach to it like a type of fridge magnet. We think the cow could be used to facilitate workshops with people of all ages and abilities.
We explored creating stories about fantasy cows or cows based on Greek mythology, as this was part of Reading College LLD/D Dept set studies this term. The group are studying the myth of the Minotaur towards a performance at the end of term. We explored role playing the Minotaur stories and presenting the cow to the public. Below are some of the imaginative ideas of storytelling based on the cow fantasies, inventions and the myth of the Minotaur.
Kate and Nic gave a hands on presentation of the Sensory Objects project to the Inclusive Museums Conference at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. We sent a big box containing Sensory Objects developed by our Co-researchers from Reading College at MERL and also the Access to Heritage Group in Liverpool. We showed slides and videos of our current group from the Tower Project at the British Museum to explain our project conference attendees. We met people from all over the world who were interested in our project. The pictures below show some of them trying out the objects you can see Phillip and Johns scrapbooks of Sudley House Liverpool, Sians mooing boot and Rachel’s Pink grunting Pig and Nic explaining our ideas of using Squishy Circuits, littleBits and our research with littleBits go LARGE.
Inclusive Museums Presentation Sensory Objects
Sensory Objects Presenation Nic at the Inclusive Museum Conference
During the conference there were many talks and discussions often all happening at once. One of the most inspiring talks, I thought, was by Nina Simon, she wrote a book that helped give shape to our sensory objects project The Participatory Museum. Below are some images she used during her talk about Santa Cruz Museum where she is working at now. Her talk showed her ideas and experiences of making the museum a place where everyone can feel welcome and take part. She mentioned Pop Up Museums and also the idea of the museum acting as a place for people to have conversations, bringing unlikely people together, she described it as ‘bridging’ the two people bottom left of the picture are a lady who knits and a graffiti artist who meet during a workshop at the museum and really got on.
Presentation Nina Simon
During the talk Nina mentioned some of the problems of making the museum more participatory, that some people in the community accuse her of dumbing down the museum, she illustrated the problem by showing this cartoon below. You can’t please everyone, in the cartoon a character called MAH that Nina said represented her is telling Michelangelo that his painting of the Sistine Chapel is “a bit passive and that he must engage the visitor, leave room for the visitors to colour in your work with crayons or paint ball! you know…. dumb down your work!” Nina mentioned that by widening the audience to the museum you will also alienate people who enjoyed it as it was, but attendance and participation in the Santa Cruz Museum continues to rise and generate income because of her ideas of inclusion.
Nina Simon Cartoon
The video below shows Nina giving a talk which has similar content to the presentation at the Inclusive Museums Conference.
We put Rumena’s chicken in the hallway so that as people walked past it activated the sensor and drew people into the room. We learned afterward that they were having a meeting in main theatre down the hall and they could hear the chicken and an occasional pig and cow throughout meeting, but they said they didn’t mind, it livened up the meeting. The showcase gave us a great opportunity to share our research with others from museums. One delegate tweeted about Rumena’s Chicken see picture below.
Our seminar was excellent and we want to say a big Thank You! to all who took part you were brilliant. Below shows the events of the day in our easy read programme
Seminar Easy Read Doc
Miranda Fox from Reading Mencap Coffee Club began the day with an intro to the project with Kate
Miranda from Reading Mencap
Phil Lucas Head of Reading College LLD/D Dept was also kind enough to say a few words, he mentioned that our project predicted the future, learning ‘through project’ which he felt was very successful and something that Reading College would be doing more of in the future. He was very proud of what the students had achieved and that it had benefited both students and staff.The picture below shows Rachel demonstrating her pig to Phil and Skye using an iPad to show her Wiki
Rachel with Phil Lucas in background
Our Co-researchers demonstrated their sensory objects to the seminar, the picture below shows Gosia helping one of our visitors experience Rachel’s Pig.
Trying Rachel’s Pink Pig
Trying Rachel’s Pink Pig close up
Sheep cushion that goes baa when you stroke it
Sian shows Tina from the University of Reading Art Dept her Wiki
Andy smiles while photos
Kate Arnold-Forster Director of MERL talked about the impact of the project on MERL that it had given them ideas for interactive exhibits in the redesign of MERL and also for workshops that have a more open ended creative approach.
The picture in the slide below shows the museum where Sensory Objects will work next at the British Museum from July 2015.
Kate ArnoldForster Director of MERL
Special thanks go to our Co-researcher group who came up for the two days from Liverpool. John Taylor and Phillip Ryan from Liverpool Mencap Access to Heritage Group
John & Philip present their research using the Sensory Objects Cookbook
John shows Nicola andPhilip shows Gosia sensory Scrap book
John and Philip gave a vivid report of their experiences using our Sensory Activities Cookbook, by demonstrating through slides, fat scrap books and boxes of textures, and their reflections and thoughts of their sensory experiences visiting Sudley House in Liverpool.
Gosia and Andy presented ideas about using multi media as away for our co-researchers to reflect.
Gosia & Andy presentation
Andy talking about multimedia advocacy
Nic presented littleBits go LARGE and other workshop tools developed by the project to make technology more accessible or is that make accessible technology?
Nic and littleBits
Having a go with littleBits
Nicola Grove gave a talk about the meanings of objects and led a discussion.
Nicola during her talk
Nicola asked for a volunteer to help her discuss what objects mean to different people, she asked John close his eyes and tell us what object he was holding. John gave a great description of the cold feel of a metal key. Nicola asked the audience what a key meant to them, some people said home, but Nicola mentioned that for those of us who don’t have our own key to where we live it would have a different meaning.
Nicola Gives John a Key
Qian Chen our students lecturer finished the day by leading an impromptu sing along of Old Mac Donald! by that time our numbers had swelled to around 80 people as many students arrived from Reading College.
We had busy day at Reading College, Gosia and Ajay from the Rix Centre showed our Co-researchers videos compiled from their favourite photos chosen at the last session, the pictures are set to a piece of their favourite music. The video below shows clips of the group watching their videos.
Next Nic showed Rachel and Rumena their updated art works, that now had motors in to make them move.
Rachel’s Yellow Pig
First Rachel McGowan’s yellow pig, Rachel wanted it to move in the bucket and make the sound of a pig. Skye, and Sian helped Rachel to try it out.
Then we tried out the mechanism for Rumena’s chicken in a basket, when we discussed what the chicken would do Rumena did the Makaton sign, or what we recognised as the funky chicken dance! So her chicken need wings that flapped.
Rumena’s Chicken and Egg
Rumena made her chicken using a wooden spoon for its head, this made using a pair of marigold gloves to make wings the obvious choice and gives Rumena’s chicken a very unique look, everyone in the group enjoyed it. The the battery to power the motor is in the big egg on the side. Both Rachel and Rumena’s motors and sounds are triggered by a movement sensor. You can find out more about all the workings for our objects on our other webpage ExtraSensoryObjects
After lunch Robyn arrived and asked our Co-researchers to make labels for our Wellie Boot Herb Garden.
Wellie Boot Herb Garden
Robyn brought clippings from the planted herbs to college so our co-researchers could smell them, name them and draw them to make labels identifying each herb boot.
Robyn with herbs
The picture below show some of the labels being made.
Labelling Herbs for Wellie Boot Herb Garden
We had another go with the Hoofy Horse, it now has four legs and needs two people one for the front and one for the back. The video below shows Rachel, Guillermo and Sian having a go Rumena is also making it ‘clip clop’ .
Finally we had a go at singing and recording Old MacDonald, the recording was to create a sound for Skye’s farm bucket, when the tractor is pressed it triggers Old Mac Donald Skye wanted lots of animal sounds in her bucket. The video below shows clips of our singing with some Makaton signing too.
During our session we continued to test and finish our sensory objects.The video below shows Rachel testing her Pink Pig in a Bucket.
Robyn helped our Co-researchers create different smoothie recipes and we all taste tested them, some of them used herbs planted and grown in boots by our Co-researchers. At our event Buckets, Baskets and Boots on June 9th at MERL our Co-researchers will be making the following smoothies for visitors to try:
(strawberry garnish on rim of glass)
ICED APPLE AND MINT TEA
Fresh apple juice
Fresh mint from our wellie garden
(sprig of mint to garnish)
Freshly squeezed orange juice
(orange slice garnish on rim of glass)
Freshly squeezed orange juice
(orange slice garnish on rim of glass)
After a lovely farmers lunch provided by Robyn eaten outside in the sun we tried out another sensory object called Hoofy Horse, this was inspired by Rachels picture with the invisible horse in MERLS collection.
Rachel as horse with invisible horse
We had made the sound of horses hooves using coconut shells so we decided to use some pressure sensors to make a clip clop sound, testing of this is shown in the video below.
We also looked at some images of our Co-researchers meeting a rabbit during one of their lessons at Reading College they are planning to visit a pet shop to learn all about domestic pets. The picture below shows the rabbit with Skye and Guillermo.
We showed some videos of our research at MERL with our Co-researchers from Reading College LLD/D. The picture below shows Toby Butler who runs the MA from UEL holding Sian’s Moot, Ajay is demoing our sound box and Co-researcher Skye and lecturer Cathy from Reading College appear in the video.
Toby and Ajay with Skye and Cathy in the video
We also took Lukes ‘blue flag’ bucket. We told lots of people about our research and our events in June. The picture below shows Toby talking to Carolyn from GEM
We are working towards two events in June part of Universities Week on Monday 9th our Co-researchers from Reading College LLD/D dept will present our research in the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL). Below is the poster for the event, hope you can come!
The main focus of our workshop was for our co-researchers to try out some of the Sensory Objects in development. Sian’s mooing boot was first, the group enjoyed stroking it, sometimes if fell over which surprised people, but the boot has been rebuilt by Nic with it’s electronics inside, to be pretty robust. We did wonder if we need to weight it down in someway, although some co-researchers would like to pick it up and stroke it others wanted to just pat it, which could make it topple over.
Sian with a pair of mooing boots
Sian was clear that she preferred hearing her own mooing rather than having sounds of real cows, so we recorded her mooing and will change the sound track. She also painted another version of Old MacDonald for the New Boot.
Luke tests his bucket
Luke’s ‘Hole in one’ bucket was next, Nic tested out flag poles that would alter the sound track when the egg/ball went down the hole. Luke definitely preferred it when he heard his own voice. We discovered the hole to put the pole in was had to find and that wooden poles were easy to break so Nic suggested aluminium poles. We recorded Luke speaking some more to add to the recording.
Then we tested out Skye’s Farm in a bucket, Skye had asked for the sound to be on constantly so the sounds of the farm were fitted with a timer.
But the group had become used to touching to trigger sounds from their previous experience with the boot. We wondered if we should add a touch sensor too?
We also tested the sensors for Rachel’s pig it still needs a bit of work we demoed it with NIc making the sounds as the sensors are not quite ready yet. Rachel also made a fantastic drawing of animals
We also made smoothies which we had after another delicious lunch with freshly churned butter supplied by Robyn. We drew on and planted out some more Wellie boots with plants that smell good. Rachel and Guillermo concentrated really hard on this task and collected some stones from MERL’s garden for drainage.
In the garden of MERL with Sensory Objects Researchers, Reading College LLD/D Students and Staff with our International Design for all Foundation Award . Photo by RUMENA
Our Co-Researchers helped Robyn make a cake and prepare our lunch they were given the opportunity to try on some mop caps that farmers wives would wear.
Preparing lunch wearing Mop Caps
Rachel helped Robyn mix the chocolate cake mix
To celebrate our award we made cakes
Celebrating our award with tea and Cake
Co-Researchers in MERL with their International Design for All Foundation
After lunch Robyn asked the group to try making a glass filled with water make a ringing noise. The idea was for our Co-Researchers to do an activity that would allow the group to be calm and restful. The picture below show Rachel making a glass of water make a ringing sound with her wet finger. We also asked the group to sit and look into a jar containing water and glitter each with farm animal inside that Robyn had made.
Making a glass sing Rachel
Looking at Glitter Jars
We also did more work on our interactive objects and posters for our event on JUNE 9th 2014.
Rumena worked on her chickens head it now has three eyes! Rumena chose a pair of yellow marigold gloves for the chickens wings, Nic is working on a way to make the wings flap. We tested a stroke sensor in Sians boot that made a mooing sound when she stroked the furry boot. We tested Luke’s ‘Blue Flag, Hole in one’ mechanisim it was nice and loud but now it needs to have Luke’ voice instead of numbers on the recording. We asked Skye about her creature and basket she would like all the farm animal noises. We explained to Guillermo that we plan to create 4 buckets with sensors that Guillermo can play, we also asked him about a balloon he had painted red and blue he said it was a donkey. Rachel would like her yellow pig to grunt, we also explained we will make her other pig rustle in its straw bucket. Rachel 2 worked on the nose of her pig which she would like to grunt when Squeezed.
We asked the group to fill in empty speech and thought bubbles for our poster. What sensory things have they heard, tasted, seen, touched and tasted in the Museum of English Rural Life, what do they think about the senses and MERL?
Sian & Skye Speech Bubbles
Sian and Skye Thought Bubbles
Luke drew his thoughts about the milk bottles in the display at MERL the picture is shown here alongside an instant pic taken by one of our Co-Researchers and given a smiley sticker as one of our groups favourite pics.
Andy and Ajay from the Rix Centre led a Multi Media Advocacy Session with our Co-Researchers at Reading College. They did some further work with students on their wikis, the idea was to see how we might be able to join up some of the work we have done about MERL with multi sensory workshops with the work that is part of the student curriculum on independent living, transition and developing participation in the community. We thought that we could draw from the existing array of photos that students have from MERL and see how we can talk and work on themes such as WORK, TRANSPORT, WHERE YOU LIVE and HOUSING, COOKING, DOMESTIC SKILLS etc. – using the MERL experience and sensory approaches as the starting point. The video below shows Sian with Andy’s help demonstrating to the group how to make pages for her wiki about Travel. Ajay took some video clips of Sian and Andy.
Our aim is to use the students’ wikis as a place where they can put together their thoughts and ideas. They may also use the Internet and Google Image search to connect the old with the new, bringing their insights and sensory understandings into their reflection about their own lives and their future goals and wishes.
Co-Researchers at Reading College
The picture below shows Andy and Sian working together on the interactive white board to create Sian’s wiki. The idea was to explore transport Sian had seen in MERL a tractor then discuss how Sian travels, she found a picture of a taxi and showed us her bus pass.
Sian and Andy talk TRANSPORT
Then all the Co-Researchers created pages about Transport using i Pads.
Racheal, Rachel, Guillermo and Skye using i pad to talk TRANSPORT
We met up for the first time this year at MERL we started our workshop by reviewing the objects we made last term, and what needed still to be done ready for our exhibition on June 9th 2014.
Group Busy at Work
Nic had added a sensor to Lukes bucket the idea was based on Lukes interest in golf, the bucket has a golf hole in the top when the ball or egg is dropped in it triggers a sound. The image below shows the group testing it. Sometimes the sound worked but sometimes it did not Nic trieded to find out why.
Testing the hole in one bucket
Then Our Co-Researchers were then asked to help design a logo for the Sensory Objects project here are some of their ideas.
Robyn prepared a delicious lunch including baked apples that the group stuffed with sultanas, apricots, nuts and seeds which were cooked in the microwave. The picture below shows Sian with some of the apples.
Sian with baked apples
After lunch the group worked with Ajay to make some sensory posters for our exhibition. Ajay recorded the group speaking about each sense and starting to choose pictures to use on the posters. Then we asked the group to start planting herbs in wellie boots so by June we would be able to add some smells to the museum, we planted thyme, rosemary, mint and chives.
The picture below shows Rachel planting her boot with mint.
Rachel 2 planting boot
The picture below shows the group showing their boots planted Rumenas boot is in the centre.
The picture above shows a page of the MERL newsletter featuring our Co-Researcher from Reading College Sian showing her Old Mac Donald’s wellie boot. The article tells about our SHOWCASE EVENT to be held at MERL on June 9th our Co-Researchers will be presenting their research to the public that day. The next day JUNE 10th we will be holding a SEMINAR and our Co- Researchers will present their research to curators, museum workers, academics, caseworkers etc.
We have been asking our Co-Researchers to experience MERL, The Museum of English Rural Life, using their 5 senses. We aim to share these sensory experiences with the public by adding sensory information through artwork made during workshops this term. We have been making and collecting sounds, often inspired by the groups love of the song Old MacDonald, we have thought about smells we could add to the museum using herbs and spices and the smell of rubber boots, we have explored textures of the museums collections including the feel of wood, metal, straw and eaten a series of amazing farmers lunches. We have experimented with how we could make visually interesting objects to touch, that could trigger sounds and smells. In the morning of this workshop we thought about where we could add sensory objects to make a visit to MERL more enjoyable. Sian took some images where she would like to add a sensory object, she photographed a tractor and where there were photos of cows. Last week Sian worked with wellington boots one had a picture of Old MacDonald on it with cow fur Sian would like the sound of cows mooing, but the moo sounds made by the group.The other boot was covered with grass with her painting of a tractor on it that would make the sound of a tractor engine.
Sians photo where she would like a sensory object
Sian with Old MacDonald Boot that will “moo”
Sians photo where she would like a sensory object
Rachel was keen to have a basket everyone was allowed to touch in the museum display.
Rachel wants to a basket we are allowed to touch
Later in the morning Nic demonstrated a potato battery to the group, so we could try out trigger different sounds. After this we started to become a bit Christmassy. Our Co-Researchers gave us some brilliant Christmas cards they had made. We asked everyone to decorate some seasonal biscuits and cakes which we added as a centre piece with the Co-Researcher cards to decorate our Christmas Farmers Lunch. The picture below shows the group decorating biscuits.
Decorating biscuits ready for christmas lunch with handmade cards from our Co-Researchers
The picture below shows our Christmas Farmers lunch, we had crackers too.
Christmas Farmers Lunch
After lunch our group worked more on their Sensory Objects, there are several pigs being made.
Group hard at work
In the picture below Rachel is painting a yellow pig she also made a pig hiding in a bucket.
Rachel paints pig yellow
Rachels other pig hiding in a bucket
Rachel 2 added a rabbit to her bucket
Rachels rabbit in a bucket
The picture below shows Skye drawing with her cow on the table.
Skye drawing a cat her cow is in the background
Luke is very keen on golf so we imagined a duck left Old MacDonalds farm to visit a golf course the duck was right by the blue flag when there was a “hole in one” Luke loves to say this we recorded him saying “a hole in one” Luke made a golf ball from air drying clay which he dropped through the hole. We wondered if Luke would like it if the ball triggered the sound of his voice saying a whole in one, Luke also made the sound of a duck. Luke was the Co Researcher who first mentioned Old MacDonald and was keen on duck and chicken noises. The piece below shows a golf inspire sensory object we are calling “a hole in one”
In workshop nine we first first reviewed the activities from the previous workshop, and on the tables we arranged the artefacts that the co-researchers had created: paintings and drawings on canvas to be attached in some way to either a bucket, boot or basket, the papier mache covered balloons which will be continued today, and will be made into a farm animal (or possibly even a speech bubble) and a brief review of how sounds could possible be added to their artwork to make them more active and interesting.
Table laid out with artwork from the previous workshop as a reminder of what we will be doing in the activities of the day.
The morning session started with a taste of orange, nuts and dried fruit provided by Robyn:
Robyn provides a sensory stimulus to start the morning session
Kate then talked briefly about the aims of the workshop (continuing with the farm animal, and thinking about ways in which it might be interesting to make it more active by adding sounds and/or light or video) whilst Nic and Toni showed an example of how a sound could be integrated in a bucket using a surface speaker:
Luke listens to a sound in a bucket, and really gets stuck into the task.
Another co-researcher recalls that in the workshop last week we had a bucket that would play a sound when you placed you hand inside or near to it. However, in this case it was not connected to the microcontroller so we applied a ‘Wizard of Oz’ technique instead (i.e. we faked it).
Guillermo was quick to recall that placing his hand inside the bucket (in last week’s session) would activate a sound.
Artwork in Progress!
Here are some photos of the artwork produced in this week’s workshop. As you can see, there are many different designs. The first shows a rather snazzy boot designed by Sian, and covered in fake cow hide, together with an acrylic painting. She has quite a clear idea of how she would like it to trigger a sound – by placing a foot inside the boot and pressing down. She will produce the sound herself during the next workshop, and this will be integrated during one of the subsequent workshops:
Sian’s welly, in the style of a cow
Below is a picture of Sian showing off her wonderful welly:
A snazzy design by Sian, which will eventually incorporate a mooing sound activated by placing a foot inside the boot!
The next two photographs show Rachel’s pig-in-a-bucket concept, which is coming along very well as you can see. The bucket is covered with bedding straw to give it a really rural look and texture.
Rachel wanted to make use of the bucket to house the pig she is creating.
The pig just fits inside the bucket, with the nose protruding. Rachel has also selected a potential activation method for the sound she wants the pig to make – using a squeeze sensor in the nose. Was this a result of her exploration of audio triggers using the littleBits kit?
Rachel’s pig-in-a-bucket (not yet finished). It will be enhanced with a sound triggered by squeezing its nose (and possibly either some form of light or movement), but this has yet to be decided.
Rachael (the other Rachael) has also decided to construct a pig, and is also coming along very well:
Rachael applies layers of newspaper to the balloons in the construction of her pig.
Mena is creating a chicken from her papier mache, and has painted it with some bright colours. The tail has been ingeniously constructed from straw and pipecleaners, the head will be modelled from a wooden spoon, and the comb from pieces of card, painted red:
A brightly coloured chicken, with straw and pipecleaners for the tail and a wooden spoon for the head.
Luke has decorated a basket with artificial leaves and a painting he created last week of a ducks head. The contents of the basket have yet to be determined … everyone loves the duck:
Luke’s duck head attached to a basket.
Guillermo is painting his papier mache in a bright red. Will this be pig? His artwork is always very interesting, so we wait in anticipation:
Guillermo paint his papier mache in bright red.
Skye has also made progress with her papier mache and has constructed the beginnings of a cow, using the artificial cow hide:
Our Co-Researchers became farm animals, we asked them to find places in the museum they would like to see or hear animals. The pictures below show Guillermo, Skye and Rachel getting ready and the whole group in the museum. There are lots of machines in the museum, there are some photos of animals and lots about horses. We couldn’t find many places where cats and dogs might be except in some old black and white photos on the side of the victorian picture display, we found a chicken in the toy farm displayed in the museum. Rumena was a sheep she found some sheep shearing tools and a picture, we are discussing making a sheep that visitors would be able to record their own ‘Baa’ and hear everyones Baas if the stroke the sheeps head. Rachel and Skye had seen a film about chickens at the weekend called Free Birds, Rachel was very good at acting like a chicken. Skye became a cat and later a pig, while Guillermo was very good at being a dog.
The image below shows Rachel with the invisible horse as a horse, this is where we would like to hear the sound of horses. We have been exploring some press sensors that could trigger sounds we wondered if we could place the press sensors under horse shoes so if a visitor stood on them it would trigger the should of a horse and cart.
Rachel as horse with invisible horse
The picture below shows Sian as a cow Sian enjoys mooing and Luke as a duck, Luke had written about the sounds ducks make on his suit. We let the group have decorating suits as we were doing lots of messy things during our workshop but everyone enjoyed wearing them while becoming an animal.
Sian and Luke
We also prepared some paper mache balloons ready for next week, the group work hard and were very focussed on covering their balloons, we hope to turn them into either eggs, heads, animal bodies or speech bubbles? We will find out next week.
Balloon Paper mache
Next we turned our drawings of Old MacDonalds Farm into paintings on canvas so we could add them to our boots, baskets or buckets. The pictures below show Rumenas drawing and painting of a hen, Sian drawing Old MacDonald with a painting of a green and yellow tractor, Rachel drawing a chicken and Lukes painting of a duck.
We held a session at Reading College using Talking Mats which is a way of finding out what our Co-researchers had experienced using their sense to discover MERL. The session was led by Gosia from the Rix Centre. The mat has images of the five senses and objects from the MERL collection. We asked our Co-researchers which sense they would most like to use to experience an object in the MERL collection.The pictures below shows the talking mat, it has images of the senses and objects from MERL, we asked the Co-researchers which sense they would most like to use to experience an object in the MERL collection.
Gosia with Sian and talking mats
Guillermo with Talking Mats 2
Skye talking mats results
The talking mats sessions were videoed and will help us work towards developing our sensory objects. While each person did Talking Mats with Gosia, we added more info to their individual wikis, we used iPads to do this. The picture below shoes Guillermo using an iPad
Guillermo using ipad to upload his webpage
Later we asked the group to make Old Mac Donald’s Farm from foil and drawing.
Group making old Macdonalds farm
The picture below shows Rachael and Guillermo drawing their farms.
Sian’s picture of Old MacDonald’s head, farm house and tractor
Sian Old Macdonald face house and tractor
Rachel drew some reindeer for her farm.
The picture below shows Rumenas farm she created some snails for her farm.
The picture below shows Luke and his drawing of a farm Luke mixed in some words about golf and made a golf club with the silver foil. I asked Luke if he had ever played crazy golf I wondered if we could link golf with farming as Luke is so keen on golf.
In the workshop today we concentrated on the sense of SMELL and SOUNDS. In the morning we asked the group to use their sense of smell. We asked the group if they could point to the part of the body we use for our sense of smell. The picture below shows Rachel pointing out a nose. Robyn brought fruit for the group to eat but asked them to smell it before they ate it.
We asked our Co-Researchers to point to which part of the body we use to smell Rachel points to the nose
Then our Co-Researchers were given brown bags containing different smells we asked them to give them a smiley if they like the smell or a sad face if they didn’t then we put them in order of the favourite and least favourite smell.
Smelling the bags Guillermo, Rachel with Robyn
The picture below shows the smells in order of preference, soap and rosemary were the favourites, soil the least but this was probably because it didn’t smell very strong. Luke was very good at recognising the smells.
Smells in order of preference
After we asked the group to identify something in the museum that linked to the smells, we ended up in the herb garden to find rosemary, lavender and soil. Luke linked cheese to cows.Rachel found some mint too.
Rachel with bag of soil touching soil
We asked the group if they thought a smell would fit inside their boots, baskets and buckets, the picture below shows Rachel who choose rosemary to go in her basket, Sian wanted to put oranges and apples in her basket, Skye thought soil could go in her boot we discussed filling the boot with soil and planting lavender in it so it could grow we thought that might me a good idea. We wondered what plants could grow indoors that smell strongly? Cathy mentioned it would be good for the boots to be decorated so we will do that too in another workshop.
Rachel put rosemary in a bucket
The picture below shows the bag of smells Guillermo chose to put in a bucket he was quite distracted as the bucket was so reflective, he spent a lot of time looking at his face in the bucket.
Guillermo put smell of lavender oil in a bucket some of the group liked this others didn’t
Robyn asked the Co-Researchers to choose from different icings by smell to ice some cakes she made, chocolate was the most popular and blueberry the least, there was orange and lemon too.
Robyn offers Skye Cakes
Skye ices cakes
After lunch we experimented with a smell box developed by Nic, the idea was to create a way of triggering smells using littleBits in similar way we had used the sound box.
Guillermo smell box
Guillermo enjoyed the smell of rosemary but he also liked the breeze he could feel from the fan wafting the smell. The picture below shows Sky clapping to trigger the smell box while Sian checks for the breeze from the fan.
Skye & Sian claps to trigger smells
After this activity we imaged triggering smells in our Buckets, Baskets and Boots.
We then began another experiment using sound keys. Each Co-Researcher was asked to make a key from foam any shape they liked.
The keys have aluminium foil and was connected by wires to a micro controller. When all the keys were linked to the computer each key was linked to an animal noise when the keys were pressed the animal noise happened. The picture below shows the group working really well together with the keys create an orchestra of animal noises with different rhythms.
The group press their keys to make individual animal sounds together they create and orchestra
Nic linked the sounds to the bucket which worked when you put your hand in the bucket the group experimented with it. Guillermo and Rachel were good at moving their hands in and out to trigger animal sounds.
All the buckets together creating sounds, Rachels key and Rachel and Guillermo put there hands in and out to trigger sounds,
Our final activity of the day was to record a version of Old MacDonald the group sang to images of animals making all the animal sounds.
Our fifth workshop at Reading College was spread over two days the morning of Friday 8th and Monday 11th. On the Friday Gosia came and showed our Co-Researchers how to create their individual webpages unlike the group webpage which you can see here the individual webpages are private for each person to reflect on their experiences during the project. On Monday 11th Ajay and John came from the RIX to continue to add to the blogs. In the afternoon we created some collages and drawings.
Gosia explains the individual website on Friday morning
We continued to work on the website on Monday, the picture below shows Rachel drawing what she wants to say for her webpage picture of her holding a parsnip by a display about ploughing. Rachel drew a parsnip, tractor and a ploughed field, she drew an eye to say she had used the sense of sight. The image bottom left shows drawings and text by Rachel describing our lunch at MERL.
Rachel draws text she wanted under her chosen picture
The picture below shows both Rachel’s, Guillermo and Sian collaging. We asked our Co-Researchers to create collages that would tell a story based on our buckets, boots and baskets. We reminded the group about the nursery rhyme The old woman who lived in a shoe, we asked them what sort of story could be invented could someone live in a boot or a bucket, could sounds come from them, how could the basket, bucket and boot be transformed, give a sensory experience of MERL?
Luke made his collage and made sounds of the animals he made a very good chicken sound “BrkBrk” and started to sing Old MacDonald had a farm, Ajay recorded him singing and making animal sounds.
Skye also made some animal sounds but she also started singing the song Naughty Boy – La La La ft. Sam Smith.The rest of the group chose music too and it made us realise how important music was to our group, it has made us consider how we can incorporate music into our workshops more. The picture below shows Guillermo dancing and Rachel singing along to the Spice Girls.
Guillermo and Rachel listen to music
Guillermo drew a story where 3 pigs, Cathy and Guillermo’s family live in a bucket!
We focused this workshop on the sense of TOUCH in the morning, we had seven bags each with a collection of materials inside. We asked the Co-Researchers to feel inside the bags first and try to describe how the materials felt, some of the words the group used were rough, smooth, soft, hard, cold and warm. The picture below shows the group touching objects in the bags then using some pictures to discuss the types of materials and how they felt touch.
Seven bags with materials inside
After our Co-Researchers had described how the materials felt we asked them to place them in order of preference, the objects nearest the smiley face were their favourites the ones near the sad face our Co-Researchers least favourite material to touch. Luke chose his favourite as the milk bottle as it reminded him of breakfast, the softer materials such as the fleece and wool blanket were very popular as were the root vegetables, but the piece of sweetcorn was too cold and slimy to touch, the metal hard and cold. The picture below shows the lineup of the groups choices.
Favourite and least favourite materials to touch
Then our Co-Researchers were asked to choose one of the objects in the bags that they really liked to touch, could they find something in the museum that they associated with the object? This was quite a difficult task, the picture below shows Rachel who chose a Parsnip, Sian chose a plastic milk bottle, Guillermo chose some pop corn and Rumena who chose an egg, they are photographed holding the object next to what what they found to connect it in the MERL collection.
Materials we like to touch and things that link to them in MERL
We also asked the group to link one of the objects in the bags to a sound from the sound boxes. Rachel could remember where the sounds were on the dial! The image below shows Sian with an egg pressing the sound box to make the sound of hens, Luke he chose a potato and played the sound of a steam engine and Skye also chose the egg but continually pressed the button on the sound box so the clucking sound of the hen started to sound like barking and she pointed to the picture of the dog on the image sheet, we thought this was good observation of an accidental invention.
Adding sounds to objects
Robyn made us a great lunch again with salad, pizza, popcorn, sweet corn, bread that we sliced on the table and carrot cake. This time Robyn decided to keep the food on plates that could be passed around by the group rather than plating it up first the group were able to pass the food around to everyone.
After lunch we asked the Co-Researchers to try the littleBits electronics kit that we had used in the last workshop. We asked the group to make LED’s light up using different sensors. The image below shows the Rachel altering the pulsing of the LEDs with a small screwdriver and Skye trying out the pressure sensors from the littleBits electronics kit. Rumena and Rachel are becoming experts with the littleBits kit!
Skye uses pressure sensor
We also used a sound sensor, connected to the sound box, the picture below shows Sian and Guillermo clapping to activate the sound sensor.
Guillermo claps to activate a sound sensor linked to the sound box
Sian claps testing a sound sensor linked to the sound box
We practised using littleBits triggering the sounds from the sound box and LED’s with different sensors, then we opened some parcels, inside were various types of containers linked to farming, there were Buckets, Baskets and Boots.
These objects were inspired by the museum and the idea of a container to collect sensory information in. We wanted to experiment with objects other than plain boxes that we used last year at Speke Hall. We explained to the group that we chose these objects because they linked to the MERL collection, farming and they were all objects that could contain things. We asked the Co-Researchers what you could put in a bucket? Luke said water and Skye said eggs, she also mentioned that you could collect eggs in baskets too. Rachel had seen baskets in the museum and she linked the parsnip she chose earlier because she liked how it felt, to collecting vegetables in baskets.
Rachel links baskets to collecting vegetables such as a parsnip
Sian and Guillermo gave a practical demonstration of what goes inside a Wellie boot as they both decided to wear them. The picture below show them wearing the boots and caring the buckets and baskets.
Sian and Guillermo bootsbucketsbaskets
Luke, Guillermo, Skye, Sain and Rachel (Rumena not in pic)
Then we thought we’d try out the baskets and buckets, we asked the group to choose one of the containers and we went outside into the MERL garden to see what we could collect to put inside our buckets or baskets. The picture below shows the group outside collecting lots of autumn leaves, stones, apples etc.
inside the buckets and baskets
The picture above shows some of the objects our Co-Researchers collected in their buckets and baskets from the MERL garden, the leaves were beautiful, their reflection in the shiny buckets were great and to capture them we finished off our workshop by creating some textured rubbings from the leaves we collected see the picture below.
Leaf texture rubbings
During the last part of the workshop we introduced the idea to the group that we had made art from what we had found, outside enjoying how the materials looked in the buckets, how stones sounded when dropped in the bucket and also how interesting the leaves looked when we rubbed crayons over them to see the pattern and texture of the leaf. We also mentioned that these buckets, baskets and boots could have the potential to be containers for sensory information in the museum, we will continue to explore them in the next MERL workshop.
This was a really busy workshop our Co-Researchers impressed us with how focused and engaged they were all day.
Our Co-Researchers from Reading College met at MERL for their 3rd workshop. MERL had just held its Apple Day celebration on Sat and we were given some apples to taste, they were very delicious. The picture below shows us tasting various types of English Apples. We were joined by John from the Rix Centre standing on the left, the brown bags contain the different varieties of apples.
Group taste apples from MERL Apple day
We continued to work with the sound boxes. We gave each Co-Researcher a soundbox and asked them to choose one favourite sound that they would like to hear in MERL, we asked them to lead us to an object in the collection that was linked to the sound. Luke and Guillermo choose the horse and cart sound the picture below shows Luke standing by a cart that matched his sound. Luke really enjoyed turning a fly wheel near this exhibit.
Luke finds cart to match horse sound
The picture below shows Guillermo photographing both Rachels they have their soundboxes round their necks Rachel on the left choose the sound of chickens (and Rumena did too) this sound was quite hard to match but we found some roosters on a milk bottle and some bouncy eggs from the shop. Rachel on the right choose the sound of sheep and found this picture of sheep being sheared.
Guillermo photos Rachel and Rachel
Sian choose the sound of the steam engine the picture below shows her playing her sound infront of the engine.
Sian choose the sound of the Steam Engine
Sian also took lots of instant photos, Guillermo did too. After we listened to the sounds with the objects in the MERL collection the group rated the photos withe smilies which are documented below.
Choosing smiley pics
Guillermo choosing his favourite photos
The image below shows Rachel discussing lunch using images of the food we ate and how it is produced on the farm.
Rachel discussing lunch
After a delicious farmers lunch prepared by Robyn helped by Hannah, which included carrots, salad, bread, ham, cheese and home made apple cake with custard…YUM.. we started the second half of the workshop. Nic introduced the group to a special kind of playdough called Squishy Circuits. First we discussed how the dough was made from flour the same basic material as the bread and cake we had eaten for our lunch. We discussed that flour comes from wheat and is milled to make flour. Nic showed us the Squishy Circuit Dough there were two colours, the salt dough which acts as a conductor was green and the sugar dough which is an insulator was orange. Nic explained that if you kept the two lumps of the green dough separate then added a battery with wires going in to each lump of green dough you could create a circuit which would allow an LED to light up. He said the the LED lights have a long leg and a short leg which need to stretch into the separate lumps of green conductive dough. If the LED did not work try turning it the other way round. Everyone had a go and making the lights turn on and off and modelling with the dough.
Rumena created a Squishy Circuit wtih lots of LEDS
The picture belwo show Rachel and Guilllermo with Cathy making Squishy Circuits.
Rachel and Guillermo created Squish Circuits
After a quick break outside where we had a go at an Apple and Spoon race inspired by MERL apple day the group continued to explore ways to create circuits and learn about how they could trigger or switch something such as a sound, a light or a vibration on or off. Nic showed the group how to use littleBits and we added some content using our sound boxes. The group experimented with turning sounds on and off by various triggers, such as a pressure switch, slider, pulse switch, light sensor.
Sky explores Littlebits
Luke and Cathy explore littleBits
LittleBits Skye and Luke
Sian, Rachel and Guillermo try Littlebits
The picture below shows Guillermo following an illustration of how to connect the littlBits. Each bit joins by magnets and the kit is colour coded to make it easier to use. Our Co-Researchers soon got the hang of how to connect them. We hope it might give our Co-Researchers some ideas about triggering sensory information in different ways in the museum collection at MERL. We will be doing further experiments in future workshops.
Today we met at Reading College to develop Klikin websites with our Co-Researchers exploring our senses and how we used our senses to experience our visit to the Museum of English Rural Life MERL. You can see the Klikin Group Page HERE
The picture below shows drawings by Andy reminding us of our 5 senses:
TOUCHING, TASTING, LISTENING, SMELLING and LOOKING.
The picture below shows Andy reminding us about our five senses. The group told us about their weekend and Andy pointed out what senses they had used.
Sian described and demonstrated her weekend activities in this video
Rumena likes the taste of Broccoli, Skye watched a film at the cinema which had an Ostrich in it, Guillmero loves to listen to the music of JLS, Rachel likes the smell of her pink nail varnish, Sian likes to touch the fur of her black labrador, Luke likes the taste of beer and Rachel listens to Michael Jackson.
The picture below shows the group discussing their senses and the visit to MERL last week. We used the instant pictures that Rumena and Sian took to help us remember the visit. Then Andy, Gosia, Ajay, Shauna and John from The Rix Centre introduced everyone to Klikin Websites
Co-Researchers develop Website
The picture below shows Guillermo at the computer with John helping create our website.
Guillermo helps creates our webpage
The two pictures below show Sian building the webpage and looking happy when she had uploaded a picture.
Sian creating webpage
After we uploaded photos, text and sounds on to our webpage we looked at the webpage together. The Wepage has an image link for each of the senses and image link about each Co-Researcher and about the MERL. The picture below shows Rachel pointing to the link she has chosen to discuss.
Rachel points to website
Sian described the sound of metal hitting metal to caption the picture of the Anvil from the MERL collection.
We had our first sensory workshop with our new project Co-Researchers from Reading College. Students from the LLD/D (Learners with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities) department visited MERL Museum of English Rural Life for the workshop session. From left to right they are Sian, Guillermo, Rachel, Rachel, Skye, Luke and Rumena (who is not appearing in photos or videos, but is very active in the group and taking a lot of the photos you see here).
Reading College Group Shot
The group walked to MERL from Reading College with their teacher Cathy and support workers Matt, Natasha and Lin. When they arrived they were served some orange segments by Robyn (who is providing food during the workshops) and who thought this would give them energy like football players at half time after their walk to the museum. See picture below.
Oranges on arrival
The picture below shows images of an EYE we use to SEE with, a HAND we use to TOUCH with, a TONGUE we use to TASTE with, a NOSE we use to SMELL with and an EAR we use to HEAR with. We used these images talk about our senses and which parts of the body we use to experience the five senses.
During our workshop we used all our senses to explore MERL, find out about its collection and its relation to us. We took photos, listened to and made sounds and had a farmers lunch. The picture below shows our Co-Researchers being introduced to instant cameras and sound boxes. Isabel, a curator at MERL who later took us on a tour of the museum, is standing on the right.
Group introduced to Sound Boxes and Instant Cameras
They soon got the hang of the camera that produced instant photos and the sound box that played 6 sounds by twisting the knob and pressing the button. We asked the group to play the sounds if they saw something in the museum that related to the sound. We asked them to take a photo of the object that made the sound. Between them they made lots of sounds and took lots of photos. Sian and Rumena took a lot of the photos while Skye, Guillermo, Luke, Rachel and Rachel matched sounds to the exhibits. The picture below shows Sian watching her photo develop she really enjoyed watching the picture appear while Skye explored the soundbox.
Sian & Skye with Camera and Sound Box
The picture below shows Guillermo he got on well with using the sound box.
Guillermo using the soundbox
The picture below shows the group finding out about a wooden fork, the prongs were grown as separate branches, described by Isabel during our tour of the museum.
Isabel explains on our tour of MERL
The picture below shows Sian waiting for image to appear, she took lots of instant pictures during the tour of the museum, she liked the wheels on display.
The picture below shows an instant picture taken by Rumena or Sian of Luke trying out some of the costumes MERL have of what farmers used to wear.
Luke in farmers Hat
The next two pictures below show both Rachels becoming part of an old Victorian photo.
Rachel photographed as a victorian girl
Rachel in Victorian Photo
After the tour we had a farmers lunch prepared by Robyn, during lunch we discussed how different foods are produced.
Eating Farmers Lunch
Robyn made a cake with cream and berries see picture below.
Robyn made a cake
After lunch we reviewed the sounds made by the sound boxes from the morning. The group used images to match the sounds they had heard.
Guillermo matching sounds to Pictures
Then the group chose which were their favourite instant pictures using smiley stickers. The picture below shows Cathy giving Skye some stickers Rachel looking at the photos and Guillermo about to attach a sticker.
Choosing Photos by putting smiley stickers on them
The picture below shows the instant pics with 4 smileys or less chosen by the group.
Instant pics with 4 smileys or less
There was one very strange pic see below we are not quite sure how this head appears in the horses harness?
Next we watched some old silent farming films one about cheese making, one about ploughing and one about sheep sheering. The picture below shows the group testing out sounds they could make for the films, Rachel at the back with a horn, Rachel in the front making a whirring sound with a fan and also created a machine sound using a bicycle pump, Guillermo had a go with coconut shells to make a horse clip clop sound then he made a sloshing sound with water in a jug to sound like milk being churned to make cheese, Skye turning a handle to make a mechanical sound and Luke with a hammer to make the sound of metal on metal.