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.




ahead of the forthcoming arts and heritage group meeting, i’d like to share with you so reflections about work done recently.


back in april i was finding my feet being on site at the silk mill and beginning the journeys at the other places i’m due to film in during the course of realising the work.


the main focus is the silk mill itself and recently the progress being made by everyone there is starting to be more visible.  in the off site stores preparatory works by both the collections team and model railway teams go on a pace too.

i’m getting up to speed as well.  the going to work at the museum of making during the renovation work is becoming more familiar and the going into the live site is becoming more second nature.  there’s been a transition from needing to have a guide everywhere i go to having a quick briefing in the office about where the unsafe areas are today.

for the good things there are some bad.  the 360 video thing is a bit too early doors so i plan to investigate 360 photos a bit more.  if you’ve watched the 360 footage of the crane you might have picked up on a the poor stitching of the two cameras.  it appears the unit i have has something wrong with it and i’m in a slow process to diagnose this with the company’s customer service in hong kong.  there may also be some small problems with some audio recordings due to some interference.  my best guess as to the source of this are the heaters in the portacabins.


as well as filming at the silk mill i have also begun the post production process.  on site i’ve bagged a space in the office to work.  going forward i think this is going to be a good thing as i’m already using what i’ve shot to inform where next to shoot.

something that i’m ok about sharing with you also is that towards the end of april early may i became overwhelmed a bit by the whole thing.  the faults i’d found with some of the audio began a domino effect that meant for a while i kept filming but my work in post halted for a while.  i’m happy to say i’m very near to catching up now.

for the arts and heritage meeting i’m going to prepare something to share with the group.  at this early stage it might have to be a simple collection of clips from the different areas i’ve filmed in so far.  part of me wants to also share some early sketches of a user interface for the work.  i need to be real about what actually is needed at this time.   is introducing where i’m filming enough for the conversation to begin?



in the life of this commission there are going to be some days where a special one off event takes place.  this week saw the first of these – a crane on site to lift steelwork into the second floor.



this event inspired me to take the plunge into researching 360 video.  from chats with the site manager i knew in advance where he would permit me to be during the lifting.  one thing i have learnt in my short time on site is just how important safety is.

the site has a state of the art fire alarm system that is all radio connected and linked to mobile phones, i have no idea how it all works.  there was a false alarm this week, i stood outside with kim while the source was investigated.  all ok.


i’m becoming more familiar with the people on site and how things are on site.  this in turn is making me more confident in being on site.  today i’ve been into the mill to capture some footage of the steel work and other things of interest while the site was quiet.



from my bus home i get a great view of the outside of the mill across the river.



earlier i mentioned my beginning to research with 360 video.  first impressions are that it presents some interesting challenges and considerations.

after only one other test filming i threw caution to the wind and used the crane on site as a focus for some 360 filming.

the camera i have makes the filming process relatively straight forward.  as with all processes i’m experiencing the learning through making the teething problem mistakes.   today i over looked switching into video mode so have 360 photos from the inside of the second floor, not really what i intended to create.

on the day the crane was there i did mange to create some video footage.  in the afternoon and evening i created a short edit and uploaded it to you tube.

when uploading 360 video to you tube – don’t forget to wait for the 4k file to become available.  while i learnt this i experienced disappointment at the low resolution quality of the video.  fortunately there is a high res version available now.

as a result of the high resolution video file i have learnt how having a really fast internet connection helps when watching the 360 video.  i saw the difference in video quality when i showed the video on my phone in the office at the museum and art gallery the next day.

as this is my first 360 edit i’m not putting it fully out into the public domain – the video is unlisted.  what i am going to do is share the link with you below so you can see it.

the video will give you a sense of being in the site compound near to the crane and those working near it.  i’ll be interested in you feedback, comments and general observations about 360 video.