Published 20 October 2020

Tackling Giants, Creating Futures, by Claire Boardman

DC Labs PhD students, Claire Boardman and Simona Manni, were part of the organising team for the recent Tackling Giants, Creating Futures Online Research Jam event. 

The event ran with the support of a PhD Collaboration Award from the University of York Humanities Research Centre and forms a part of their new Place & Community initiative within the city.

Structured around The Royal Society of Art’s ‘5 British Giants’ (Isolation, Inequality, Disempowerment, Intolerance and Climate Change) the event brought together post graduate researchers from across York’s Arts and Humanities Faculty to work  in five groups across three facilitated Zoom sessions.

Participants were encouraged to think individually, critically, and self-reflectively about themselves, their PhD research project and/or discipline and the ‘Giant’ they had chosen and use these insights as a ‘springboard’ to generate initial ideas for applied research projects which would deliver social or environmental benefits and change.

Each group selected one individual research idea to take forwards and develop into a more substantial research concept/high level proposal together.

The event culminated with each group presenting their research concept to all participants. Guests from the Humanities Research Centre provided constrictive criticism and advice on taking each project forwards.

The following research concepts were generated through the Research Jam:

  • Inequality: Campus allotment art installation, counter food poverty/art privilege
  • Intolerance: Creative storytelling with/from York’s refugee community
  • Disempowerment: Multisensory planning process residents want to engage with
  • Isolation: Intergenerational place-based walk and talk
  • Climate Change: Single, federated, empowered city-wide environmental lobby group

The event was originally conceived as spanning two days; with the generated research ideas being taken into a subsequent digital creativity design session organised in collaboration with PhDs from Computer Science, Interactive Media and Audio Electronics. Hopefully, this will go ahead once it is possible for large groups to meet in person again.

Watch this space for more information on what happens next!