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Interactive art installation representing students emotions at Walton Hall

Ambition We're not a conventional university with conventional interactions between staff and...

Cloud created by:

Sam Leicester
27 April 2010


We're not a conventional university with conventional interactions between staff and students; a pint down the pub with your tutor or lecturer is probably less common in comparison with life in a residential programme. Yet despite the geographically challenges in supporting students in distance learning, we consistently score highly on the student satisfaction survey. We want to build on this with an interactive art installation on campus. What does this mean? Well, it's probably best to start by looking at some of the ideas we've had; hopefully you'll like them!


Exploring ways that we could create meaning connections with students, the environments in which they study, and the challenges they have, while looking at the new social platforms that provide a new fabric for these interactions, we've become particularly interested in emotion, moods and feelings. With applications like facebook and twitter, people regularly share more granular information about what they're up to and how they're feeling. What if we could express our students feeling on campus? -- this would create a physical presence of these interactions right at our heart.


We've been thinking of ways that we could display this information. Screens are too obvious, we use them every day and they're not particularly exciting, so we've chosen not to focus on them. We believe that there are more exciting and fun ways to display this information, here's are some of the ideas we've come up with:

  •  Pixelated wave of emotion - Imagine a collection of LEDs (could be a grid, globe), each one representing one of our students. Each LED could display a range of colour, this colour that is mapped to their general feeling. You'd be able to see the most prominent feelings in the student body, and the wave of the organic changinges of their students emotions in real time.
  • We could use the 7 bars in the library to display information (they almost remind me of bar graphs but these are highly visible by staff on campus) we could display information on these.
  • We could put life back into the tree that unfortunately had to be chopped down: imagine a sculpture of branches, with leaves that respond to our students feelings, again highly visible at the heart of campus.

We've discovered that another group of fantastic folks within the university have already created a Facebook App called My OU Story, this which already looks at how students are feeling, so we already have a source for the data! I also believe that Martin Bean wants to further push these apps, so this could be the ideal compliment.


There is a collection of us enthusiasts at the university willing to put our own time with the desire aim of producing something great. we're enthusiasts. We're looking for support and a small budget to purchase materials so we can create a working prototype to demonstrate the concept; this could then be evaluated to release funds to create a scaled-up working model.

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