Guest Blog – UCAN Create Masterclass 5 – Splash & Ripple

Read our final guest blog from Megan John and Mared Jarman (@blindnotbored) of UCAN Productions on our UCAN Create collaborative project. Find out more about UCAN Create in our Case Studies Section. 

So here we are at the final UCAN Create Masterclass!  Masterclass 5 was all about audio, storytelling and immersion!  This wonderful workshop was run by Rosie Fairchild, Creative Director of Splash and Ripple; ‘architects of extraordinary adventures.’   Using an eclectic mix of tools such as theatre, gaming and digital technology they seek to create beautiful and genuinely moving experiences which put the participants at the centre of the action.  Seeing as UCAN Create is all about giving young people the opportunity to create, produce and showcase their own work this Masterclass with Splash and Ripple was perfectly placed to inspire our participants.

First things first, let me tell you a little more about Rosie and Splash and Ripple.  They are based at The Pervasive Media Studio at The Watershed in Bristol.  This is a brilliant community of artists, creative companies, technologists and academics all exploring experience design and creative technology.   They are the creators of amazing work such as ‘Prison Break’ and ‘Ghosts in the Garden’  bringing history and stories to life! To learn more about this exciting company,  Splash and Ripple, please visit their website: www.splashandripple.com.

Knowing all this, you can imagine our excitement when we learnt that we were about to experience one of Splash and Ripples previous works which was being resurrected just for us and taking place at Bute Park.  Jake, a Ucan Create Masterclass participant, writes about the experience:

“We started this session with a walk in the park. On our walk we used the app ‘Sonic Map’ and we were transported to an iron age world through audio. The audio tracks were triggered by our location in the park, different sound tracks played as you entered different zones on the map. The thing I found most interesting was the use of the phone’s compass. The app used a clever algorithm to manipulate the sound depending on the direction you were facing. For example, if you heard a drum in your left ear, then turned 90 degrees clockwise, the drum would sound like it is behind you. The reason i liked this so much was that i felt it created the illusion of actually being there. The software for this format is available to download, this is very exciting as it enables people who don’t have the facilities and experience with technology to create their own sonic map. This is something i would definitely consider incorporating into my own work.”

UCAN Create Masterclass 4

So we’d had this incredible experience in the park, having a chance to hear some of the work Rosie had already created.  Now it was time for the learning, as with every other Masterclass Rosie spoke about previous projects and work that she’d created.  Once again, it was all so fascinating, we could have all sat and listen to her for hours.  Rosie spoke and gave us examples of audio from Splash and Ripples previous project “Ghosts in the Garden” based in Sydney Gardens, Holburne Museum Bath.  We learnt how thinking about the experience that the audience will take away with them is crucial to the creation of any experience. It shouldn’t all be about the technology or the app being used, it’s what you learn, and what’s going on around you.  Also, experience’s such as these enable you to learn and discover what you want, by the choices you make.  With “Ghosts in the Garden”, a wooden box was created to hold a device and produce audio, the box represent some form of time travelling device, allowing participants to stand in a location within Sydney Gardens and hear echoes from history. Discovering what happened in that location almost 200 years previously.  I’m definitely disappointed i missed out on that experience, it sounded great.

Rosie then took us through the process she uses to come up with ideas and new experiences.  She got us to pay attention to our breathing and where we were sat.  We then had to think of a memory that made us happy and how we felt within that memory.  We wrote them down on post it notes so that we were able to share and compare our emotions in groups.

From there, individually we all had to think of a story, fiction or nonfiction.  With these stories we had to choose one as a group. Then using the emotions we had to decide on the answer to the most important question.  How did we want the audience to feel at the end? Within our groups and using the story and emotions we then had to create our experience.

There were some great ideas like, a modern day Robin Hood stealing welsh cakes from Cardiff Market to fed the homeless.  You’d get to see the story from the POV of the different stall holders, for example the fruit and veg man.  You were in charge of deciding on which stall holders Robyn should trust to help him escape, choose the wrong one and there would be consequences. So from that to Mr Pork exploring space, an educational experience for kids to Gangsta’s or even a murder mystery where the user is the detective solving the murder case.  They were all amazing ideas i know i would love the chance to test.

The saying ‘last but not least’ definitely applies when it comes to this Masterclass.  We all felt incredibly inspired at the end of the session and we are determined as a group to visit the Pervasive Media Studio as soon as possible!  I feel a trip coming up!  It would be wonderful to see creative companies such as Anagram and Splash and Ripple in their workplace surrounded by the wonderful community that is the Pervasive Media Studio.  Sadly we are now almost at the end of the Create Masterclasses … but fear not!  Over the next few month we will be working together to workshop ideas for a piece or experience, which will take place at the annual UCAN Festival (26th of July) and possibly at other exciting venues.  If you’re intrigued to see what we come up with then watch this space… we’ll see you at the festival!

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