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Media Innovation Studio Dispatch #1

March 31, 2017
Mark Lochrie

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Welcome to the Media Innovation Studio newsletter.  Each week we’ll share a little bit about what’s been happening in the studio and things that have caught our eye. You can always find out more about what we do by visiting our website at and don’t forget our Twitter feed too @mis_uclan

A busy week for the folks in the Studio.

At the start of the week Clare Cooke was helping students navigate the complex waters of media economics (see the ‘week in the space’ section below for more). There was lots of paper, models, glue, string and even a bit of Lego! Just the kind of creative teaching and learning we love in the space.

Our creative technologist Dr Mark Lochrie helps create amazing gadgets and code for MIS projects and beyond. One recent project he worked on was Homing.  The piece by Jen Southern & Sam Thulin  was a locative sound work made for the War memorial in Preston in 2016. The project is up for discussion at the DataPublics conference at Lancaster University this weekend.

Mark has also taken time out to reflect on some of the work our interns have been involved with. We’ve been really lucky to attract some excellent people to work with and Mark’s Medium post shows what an amazing range of outputs they’ve helped create.  Our current intern is Aäron Declerck who joins us from Howest University in Belgium. Aäron has been working with Mark to create some  interactive visulisation of our work for our annual review. Mark has also written a great post on the process of creating the first edition of our Media Innovation Studio review including its unique augmented reality and interactive elements. 

Our drone expert Dr Andrew Heaton has been out helping out student photographers from the MAPCollective prepare for an event this week. Andrew is a key member of the team behind the Civic Drone Centre (a partnership between MIS and the Engineering Innovation Centre). He’s also been busy this week planning the 4th Drone Industry Networking on Thursday the 25th May. One for your diaries.

Mark and Debra Dearnley are getting ready for their popular LittleBits workshops next week at the Harris MakerSpace. The Makerspace is based in the Harris Museum and Library right in the centre of Preston.  It’s an amazing space which and part of their ongoing Re-imagining the Harris projectMark and Debbie’s Little Bits workshops which uses fun and easy to use electronic building blocks to build exciting electronic creations, are part of a range of half-term events happening at the Harris. Take a look at the site for more.

Andy Dickinson has been celebrating the 100th edition of the Media Mill newsletter. It’s aimed at people interested in Open data, open government data and data journalism and grew out of an InnovateUK/Nesta project exploring hyperlocal data journalism. You can subscribe to the Medial Mill Gazette online.

The Newsthings workshop

John Mills was busy in Bristol this week delivering the first in a series of workshops for a Google Digital News initiative funded project called NewsThings. The project is a partnership with News publisher Trinity Mirror and innovation consultancy Thomas Buchanan. It aims to explore how the news media sector could harness the Internet of Things (IoT). There are more workshops planned in the coming weeks and if you happen to be at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia (and who wouldn’t want to be) on Saturday 8th April you can see John and Alison Gow from Trinity Mirror in presenting the project in person.


What caught our eye

A few things caught our eye online and around this week:

Getting to grips with the economics of the media


A week in the space.
We are lucky that we have a great community space at the studio which is used by people inside and outside the university to do cool and innovative things. Here are some of the things that have been happening in there this week.

Making media economics seems relevant and stimulating to first year BA Journalism and Sports Journalism students was the challenge taken up on Monday the studio’s Clare Cooke and colleague Dr Francois Nel,. Having steered students to design, develop and run a five-week survey to gather data on young people’s news and information needs, it was now time to take findings and analysis, and turn them into visualisations. 80 students worked in groups to model top lines from the data: how Snapchat was the third most relied on source for news; that most young people don’t use social bookmarking; lack of time being blamed for accessing news less than three times a week. The event ran with an open innovation methods in mind including live broadcasts, and interaction from Index on Censorship magazine and several others via Twitter.

On Tuesday the University’s careers service and the School of Language and Global Studies held a “Become a Global Graduate”event, helping students understand the global opportunity for graduates.

On Wednesday, the studio played host to the 2nd International Workshop on Visual Research for Doctoral Students organised by Gary Bratchford from the (UCLan) Photography Research Group (PRG). It was a fascinating event highlighting the contribution visual research can offer to PhD projects and programs.

Thursday was all about the opportunities for research and innovation partnerships with China. The university Innovation and Enterprise team presented the work of UCLan Technology (Shenzhen) Ltd. Lot’s of interest in the way innovation partnerships might work across a number of sectors including the cultural and creative industries.

To round off the week the internationally recognised Institute for Black Atlantic Research held their Music and Freedom Symposium in the space. Presented as part of Preston Jam Festival, the event brought together distinguished international academics and dynamic Northern artistic and musical performers for a truly unique event. A unique, thoughtful and vibrant musical end to another week in the studio.

Till next week…

The Media Innovation Studio Team.


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