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#HADADi — Helix Arts Digital Artists' Drop-in

Our digital artists drop-in is a warm and friendly social setting where you can share and compare digital arts sketches with other artists and techie entrepreneurs and find new collaborators to make your ideas happen and get inspired.


We returned to NUSTEM with a wonderfully warm welcome from Carol Davenport, Director of Nustem and a special thanks to Jonathan Sanderson Senior Lecturer / Outreach Specialist, Digital & Maker for being super supportive and helping #HADADi run smoothly! As a festive edition we prepared with sparkle and cheer to welcome everyone in from the cold. Thanks to all who shared and soaked up the ideas…immersing themselves in an emerging theme.


Charlotte Darbyshire, Artistic Director, Candoco Dance Company @candocodance http://www.candoco.co.uk Not sure an introduction is needed after the fantastic performance on Strictly Come Dancing last month. Charlotte gave us a whistle-stop tour into the history and values of Candoco and their recent relationship with BBC ‘Strictly’ team. Candoco use the power of different backgrounds to enrich the artform.

‘Working with the BBC wasn’t all that I expected…they were open and ready to listen to what we needed’. Charlotte learned a lot, including how closely aligned their values were around people and process. For both the BBC ‘Strictly’ team and Candoco, it’s important to share as much of the background as possible to help audiences enjoy genuine insight and access. A must watch! https://youtu.be/b8LkktRbr_E We can’t wait to connect to see what is possible.

Simon Katan @kimonsatan www.simonkatan.co.uk Digital artist and Head of Creative Computing at Goldsmiths University, Simon told his story leading up to Clamour, starting back in 2013 at the Tyneside Cinema. Clamour was recently premiered at the Roundhouse https://clamour.org.uk. It’s all about democracy, social media and tech and is experienced interactively throughout via audience smartphones, with gameplay alongside video, sound and text. Watch this space to find out if Clamour tours up North soon.

Producer for BBC local radio Becca Bryers @beccabryers shared her passion for podcasts and the shift around new types of audience and reformatting for a podcast audience. She described her work on BBC Local Radio Multi story www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06m8hlk which is a collection of personal stories from across England. She explained how her handpicked audio treats draw from BBC Local Radio and how she grabs new stories from unusual places. Becca shared plenty of tips for podcasting…Never miss an opportunity.


Katie Oswell @katie_oswell Researcher, singer and digital arts ‘explorer’; opened with an honest account of her work on her knowledge partnership research project. Her role bridges across Culture Lab, Newcastle University and Northern Stage, she expressed the challenges and exciting possibilities that immersive technology has to support the already immersive experience of the theatre. We were thrilled to hear about the additional offers for the younger audiences over the festive season using additional immersive experiences before and after shows.

A firm favourite with #HADADi audiences Alistair Macdonald @alistair, from Sunderland’s FabLab is a self-professed nerd who shared his experiences at techies’ festivals. Who knew what can be ‘hacked’ using a conference badge? Talk about taking them to the next level! He demonstrated how ‘over-engineered’ badges can have their own processing power and be ‘hacked’ into mobile phones, games and basically unimaginable fun ‘gadge’. Maybe we will get onto Portaloos as data hubs next time!

Paddy Villiers-Stuart, musician and tech dabbler @paddymosaic has been extending his experiments with music and low-fi tech since working with Helix Arts and Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project on ‘Off the Beat’. Thanks to SeedBed funding Paddy has been able to pilot some of his recent exploratory work with youth groups and schools. He’s had fun with the old school cassettes and he reckons the kids would too! We also saw how a make-shift musical instrument responds to a variety of light and audio. He is always open to hearing what other ‘noise’ based non- traditional and tech creations exist and a few fresh ideas were volunteered by the audience. See his presentation at https://youtu.be/fNq-4E3c97c.

Samantha Louren is a 2nd year MFA Fine Art Student with @Northumbriauni. Her practice focuses on audio, projecting poems related to the subject of identity, migration, and the politics of mobility. ‘Communal Voices’ involves 5 collaborators, working on experimental language, exhibited in a public context. A great glimpse into her work in Newcastle City and Ouseburn and a motion sensor collaboration with poet Kasia Bradley. She shared plans to have 5 separate motion sensor devices that will each hold a poem, and the audio will be triggered by movement in the environment, captured on digital and analogue cameras, audio recording and hand-held film cameras. Keep your ears peeled, you might interact with it on the Metro in 2019.


We heard from Amy Mitchell @contactamym spotlighting a partnership project with London contemporary dance company, Pell Ensemble - Unplug Upload. https://t.co/VYN4AQbJ3b Groups of young people followed distinctive dance journeys to inform the interactive performance of soloist ‘David’. They also explored ways of sharing personal data and the decision making around that. Amy highlighted U11s’ responses to the dance and children with SEN/D celebrated their connections with the installation art during live performances. Amy emphasised that the work of Pell with children and young people brought brand new audiences to contemporary and digital dance work reached around the Tees Valley.

Catherine Hearne @HearneCM outlined an application to Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Helix wants to tell its story with an oral history collection and by digitising its programmes to make them more widely available. For 35 years we have been working with artists and with diverse communities to co-produce great art. We want to share our experiences and our practice more widely. We just want to check in with you to make sure you think it’s a good idea too!

Huge thanks as ever to Dominic Smith – MC extraordinaire. And do let us know how one conversation might have led to another last night…maybe you have a new collaboration on the cards?

Do contact [email protected] or DM @helixarts to find out more or get a spot to share your ideas next time.


“That was a great event. I’ve told Chris Folwell [ARTIST] to get the next one in his diary.” Liz Keating

“It was great to see so many artists gathered in the one place to share ideas and best practice. I didn’t have a favourite as they were all good. The event gave me the knowledge that I’m not alone in the arts world - which can be a lonely place. Great to meet like minded people too and I look forward to the next one.” Geoff Dunlavey


2019 #HADADi dates for the diary are:

Thursday 31 January 2019, 6pm, Queens Hall, Beaumont St, Hexham NE46 3LS.

Tuesday 5 March 2019, 5pm, Think Lab (Room E304), Ellison E Block, Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST. Directions can be found here

Keep an eye out on our twitter feed for further details.

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