november 2016 : the first period of filming capturing the museum’s model railway, ground floor public activity and behind the scenes looks at the stores and the social club used by the electricity board during their residency in the building, ending in the 1970’s

may  – september 2017 : the second tranche is filmed.  post production takes until january 18.

january 2018 : questions set in november 17 are answered and the second tranche is submitted to doc fest 18.

march 18 : filming in the nearly decanted museum.

july 18 : filming in the empty spaces of the building.

november 18 : present shimmering place to the mina symposium, melbourne, australia.

march 2019 : begin tranche 3 (t3) filming onsite and offsite.



alongside the practice based research, i’ve been attempting to broaden my understanding of the theoretical space i’m working in.



finding this book feels so right as one of the contributors is max schleser, who i know as the organiser of the 2018 mina symposium at which i presented shimmering place.   

of the seven essays seth keen’s is the one i’m currently working with:
The Documentary Designer: A List of Propositions for Interactive Documentary Practice Online

it’s a large piece of writing to process so i plan to break down into small sections.

keen opens by setting a scene.  he links design in context to the internet and it’s fast pace of development.  design being a process that responds to the problems arising through change.  keen’s scene is based on the internet.  this is ok as previous works from me are available on the internet, and we are yet to see if this current work is fully hosted locally or on line.

keen draws our attention to how interactivity has moved away from the “choose your adventure” preface to an either/or structure and how design is a key component of interactive documentary practice.

the internet is multilinear and this is transforming documentary practice.

keen argues for the case of the interactive documentary maker being the documentary designer and sets out points he thinks are needed for the practitioner to understand.  his own experience is underpinning his essay and  vision of a documentary designer.

he cites Ryan 2004, 338 – interactivity changes medias “ability to tell stories and the stories it can tell.”

using korsakow produces a more fluid experience than one where each scene is glued together (thalfofer).

getting further into the introduction keen starts to outline his conceptual infrastructure he’ll use to take us through his vision.  affordances he states are the properties of things involved in delivering the interactive documentary and are :

  • granularity – multiple relationships
  • remix – computer ability to combine and recombine
  • indexing – used to retrieve and form relationships between media
  • spatial montage – ability to have multiple windows open simultaneously.

i see how korsakow fits all of these affordances.  korsakow being the application i’m planning to use to realise the non linear project.  this was invented by thalfofer.

keen presents an argument for videos that can be remixed into different combinations as having a “web of relations”.  the only problem with this is he seems to be suggesting that the web is literally the whole internet.  for this project the space is more clearly defined.

he touches upon bordwell and thompson’s categorisation of linear and narration to arrive at interactive documentary on the web being multilinear non narrative.  for me it starts to get a little too tight and i find myself pulling back slightly so i can still breath.

keen states

“designers are problem-orientated practitioners who integrate hands on skills with conceptual ideas, thinking through their making to create solutions to problems.”


“design thinking recognises that artefacts are propositions that are ideas.”


what has emerged for me is that in the space i am working both change and problems are common place.  i am in effect working on the edge of change – it’s going to be uncomfortable – and it has been.  this uncomfortable feeling is normal and rolling with it has been the best thing to do as it’s not going to go away.



in taking a rest from my note taking i day dream as i look around the coffee shop i’m in. i notice a singer from a band queuing for his latte, about to sit and converse.  i realise that people’s lives weave in a multilinear fashion, transitioning between updating each thread.

i see myself as having a multilinear life.


Ryan, Marie-Laure. Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.Google Scholar

Thalhofer, Florian. Korsakow. Computer Program, 2000.Google Scholar


alongside the content creation, i’m also researching the user interface.  this is currently happening as two lines of research

  • the main interface
  • how might the work be made more accessible.

the accessibility considerations involve me adding additional code to hack the live code produced from the authoring software.  i’m not sure if this has been done before.



at the moment the accessibility research is very separate from the main interface development.  i anticipate at some point the two needing to merge and how might they inform each other.



so for now the user interface research is without accessibility considerations.

in going forward i am going to need to open up the accessibility considerations to the co production process.  i really hope our on going arts and heritage meetings can provide an opportunity to connect with volunteers with knowledge and experience of visual combinations of colour to provide the best possible experience as well as ways and means of testing the work.

i reflect that the recent research has been about the technical.  soon it will need to move into aesthetic considerations.



another aspect of the interface design i’m considering is might it work to include sections of drawings for the area of the mill being featured.  this is an idea in progress.

so something to do soon is to bring all the pieces together and see what mess i can make – with a view to edit and clean it up.

to be honest with you, at the end of may when accessibility appeared in conversation it lined up with some passing thoughts i had had and it took me out of my comfort zone.  i had no idea at the time how to achieve what i believed was being proposed.

now some weeks on and i can see it will be possible in some form.  what it will undoubtably do is influence the overall design of the interface.  this is new to me and need to have more conversations about it.

in considering how to make the work accessible as possible, as well as contrast considerations there’s also colour blindness.  most of the thinking i’ve been doing has up to now been centric to using colour.

just how far do i need to go to make it fully accessible?

at what point do i need to work with a practical compromise?


my research continues.




new areas of the site are still being opened up through the completion of more scaffold runs.   recently i’ve been able to access the southern side of the sowter mill.   the scaffolding facilitates both work on the roof and the windows.



climbing the access stairs,  i know they are sturdy and solid and everything is ok.  carefully i make each step count.  i make my way onto the scaffold boards.  again these are solid and ok and every so often a warped board moves creating a sound and a moment to look down to ensure all is ok – which it is.



as i walk around to the north facing side the wind gets up and i stand to experience the bracing nature of this.  i had a similar experience the first time i went up the scaffold on the front of the building.  over time i become more familiar and more confident.



of late i’ve noticed i’m more confident in speaking to those working on site.  like them, my focus has kept me in my little work bubble.  having become aware of this, i’ve begun to make opportunities to speak to the work people on site to explain what i’m doing there.    what i’ve found is  there is an over riding interest and enthusiasm for what the museum is doing and how what i’m doing fits into that.


content creation.

i’m pleased with how this is progressing.  recently i’ve adapted my working practice to make it easier to monitor the sound recording on site and this in turn has seen a time improvement in doing the initial work in post.

the 360 camera i sent away to be repaired has returned and now has a new fault.  i’ve reported this and await further updates.


the building of the civic hall has been gaining momentum of late and  i’ve been concentrating on this.  soon the steel will arrive with something soon to follow.




been on site today, really enjoyed myself – been a week since i was last on site – loads of new things to look at.

from a bus ride over the derwent i could see how the italian mill’s front roof has come together.  knowing this, my mission today was to go back to the mill and film in the areas where the recent work has been most focussed.  i was focussed myself as i needed to get back home for this afternoon – the central heating boiler was being serviced.



the first port of call today was the roof.  partly tiled the wooden lathes sat proudly under the cloud packed sky.  one question i’m yet to ask of the site is about working externally in the rain.  is there a point at which the work stops ?



back on the ground i took in the latest edition of the space for the soon to emerge civic hall.  each time i visit this space its components are arranged differently.  later we will see how the foundations are taking shape.  from this distant vantage the work so far isn’t visible.



in the creation of this work i am tracking the transition of the clearly visible work taking place on site.  in the workshops this is has been the case today.  in a few days several walls have popped up giving a new sense of how the workshops spaces will be partitioned.  they follow the lines of what was there before.



when on site i walk from area to area and this sets up a flow and rhythm.  from the workshops its a quick step through the door to visit the south wall of the sowter mill – today scene of another run of scaffold being put up.

i met the scaffolders very early on in my visits to the site.  i stood and watched them for a while.

on site there is so much focus that the odd bit of chat really becomes important to keep everything in perspective.  i find myself being part of these little discussions now too.

my tight time slot today meant that for most of filming the main morning break was happening.



ahead of the wave – the site engineer.  i watched as he measured and wrote something down.  his role on site is to mark out where the work needs to take place in.  we often share a quick chat.   on this occasion we didn’t.   after making notes he headed up to the next floor.

trying to get another another angle of the sowter scaffold led me to see the civic hall foundations.  i was on an upper floor and i found the large elongated excavations quite haunting.  something i shared when i was back in the site office.



as i worked my way up the floors i got closer to something i really wanted to do today – film in the newly opened up tower space.

all the images in this post are frame grabs from what was shot today.  i get so engrossed in filming that i often forget to take photos.

the walk along the third floor area now ends in a developing space under the new roof and to the right are three new openings leading into the tower.  a scaffolding floor makes it safe to enter.  i filmed in the tower and have two frame grabs to share of the view.




looking at the view towards the cathedral has reminded me that as i walked into the site this morning, one of the peregrines from the cathedral was circling and calling really loud.  i’m not a peregrine behavioural expert so have no idea about what was going on.  in reality it felt quite special to be walking to work hearing the sound of a soaring peregrine.  when i go through the audio files later i’ll check to see if i caught any of the auditory display.

as i made my way back down, the work to open up the second floor entrance into the accessible storage area was beginning.  i’m not to sure when i’ll next be on site.  i’ll make sure it’s not too long.



since the recent arts and heritage meeting i have been processing what we learnt.  its been tricky doing this as alongside this commission i have other projects and commitments that need to be kept live and up to date.

in the meeting i spoke openly and frankly of how the whole process has been for me so far.  i described the good things and the things that were needing work to resolve.  i shared how in amongst this all the notion to keep filming was becoming a core aspect of the project.  the final form of the work might not yet be known – having content to be included being key.  for now content is most important.

no 360 video at the moment – my 360 camera being part of negotiations to see it being sent to hong kong to be assessed by the technical department of the manufacturer.  i hope for a speedy resolution and more 360 edits getting done.

there isn’t a set routine for my visits to film.  in fact being flexible is proving to be advantageous, for example the crane for the rear roof lift was several days later than originally expected.  it’s the way of the site that there isn’t drama if the plan shifts – merely maintained focus and getting the job done.






getting the job done …

i spend time considering how the final work might be in terms of screen size and means to interact with it.



in my previous post i talked about how i might prepare for the meeting.  i went way beyond what i thought at the time and shared with the group a collection of clips arranged within the application i used to publish shimmering place.   there was positive reaction to the clips and i witnessed first hand the interest in what is going on within the silk mill.  we co produced our version of events.

within the co-production method used  at derby museums, part of human centred design, there are opportunities to test out questions and ideas.  at a personal level i have been in many sessions where i’ve waved arms with pens and come up with ideas based on the question.  last thursday the situation was swung 180 degrees.  in asking the questions i didn’t know what we might get in return.


we spoke about how the work will be situated in the area that describes the transition to the museum of making and how potentially visitors might experience the work.

we attempted a piece of rapid prototyping and in the feedback session that followed i heard ideas expressed that had been briefly in my thinking in the past.  questions of accessibility and methods of interaction being expressed.



i found the rapid prototyping exercise and the feedback from it very energising as so many ideas arose that some of the things i had been struggling with near the start were recontextualised.

post meeting i’m sitting with how to process what i heard and learnt.  to find out how viable they might be i have everything to gain by prototyping them and sharing at the next meeting.  i pause a moment to consider if this might become an exercise in design and if so how do i feel about this ?




returning to the focus of maintaining the filming, i do live with an almost constant feeling of what am i missing on site.  this mostly exists when on the tired side and knowing i have files to sync at the beginning of their post production process.  i am learning a lot about a building project – renovation project to be precise.


i’ve needed time to process the meeting last week and to return creating after doing something else at the weekend.   my thinking races away and i know i can’t sustainably work that fast.


keep filming.  the rest will come.