Pervasive Media Fellowship

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Faculty of Creative Arts


Professor Jonathan Dovey of the University of the West of England will run two projects in partnership with the Pervasive Media Studio, a new media innovation environment launched by Watershed Media Centre in Feb 2008. The Fellowship will bring academic research methods to the Studio network in order to build a long term, cumulative and sustainable knowledge base into its work. The Fellowship will ask two questions. What is Pervasive Media? As the rhetoric of new technologies promise us ever more connected worlds, an 'internet of things', the established channels of media production, dissemination and reception are being slowly reformulated. The utopian rhetoric of Ubiquitous Computing would argue that we are at a new frontier. These developments need critical attention ; the method here will be to look at a number of case studies in self defined 'Pervasive Media' applications to establish and begin to define the common core of practices, aesthetics and experiences. The research will advance the development of a new sector of creative industry by helping to create a common language for media professionals, members of the public, commissioners, brands, clients, and funding bodies to understand what Pervasive Media are. The second question addressed by the Fellowship is what is value in digital media ? Digtial media has created an age of media plenty from the era of analogue scarcity - the existing patterns of political economy are being gradually destabilised. Two major technology trends are reshaping the creative industries: Web 2.0 has created a rapid growth of User Generated Content (UGC) which is changing the way content is made and delivered; networked and context-aware channels promise to change the way content is accessed and consumed. The Fellowship will bring academic research methods in the political economy of the media to bear on cultural industry case studies to produce knowledge about how the new generation of web native creatives are creating sustainable value models. These findings will in turn be disseminated through publication, workshops and new training events in order to advance the development of Pervasive Media sector.

Planned Impact

- Local impact: This Fellowship is designed from its inception to have a direct impact on the partner by answering research needs that have arisen in its first year of operation. Namely how can we help people to understand what Pervasive Media are and how can creative teams working in the Studio better understand the kinds of potential value that their work creates ?

- Economic impact: In the future the delivery of media content over the network will not be restricted to computer screens. It is argued that the number of 'consumer' devices connected to the network will be thousands of times greater than the number of 'computers'. In this 'Internet of Things' networked objects and spaces will enable context-aware services capable of tailoring content delivery to the situation. We call the delivery of media in this way Pervasive Media (PM). The ingredients for the growth of this market are: the availability of sensors from which to detect context; a large population of consumers; authors with expertise in context-based delivery of content; and effective business models through which to monetise value. This fellowship will impact on the development of this market by working with the the first research lab in the UK dedicated to the field in order to a) support the growth of a market by making descriptive languages available which help designers and consumers understand the potential applications of Pervasive Media and b) capturing through case study analysis and dissemination the emergence of effective business models. This impact will be underpinned by theoretical research into how new understandings of commercial and public 'value' derived from eg media ecologies analysis can be applied to developing markets in such a way as to create creative and commercial opportunities across diverse sectors such as heritage, transport, health, and arts as well as advertising and retail.

- This impact will be measurable at the end of the research by a substantial increase in the number of Pervasive Media Studio residents and researchers who are able to move on from the 'ideas lab' to sustainable enterprises in the media economy. It will also be measurable through the impact that the two summer schools for new media producers has in increasing the number of skilled business managers available to work with 'creatives' to develop their work in new media markets. The Studio has had two successful SMEs grow out of its environment in its first year; the Fellowship will aim to double this number. There is currently no training available for producers in the field; the Fellowship's impact could also be measured through the training of 20 media workers in the process of funding and managing pervasive media applications. The metrics made available through the Urchin software ( see Technical Appendix) will also provide us with statistics on the frequency of use of the research resources made available online as part of the project.


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Dovey J (2012) The Pervasive Media Cookbook: Cooking up - communicating Pervasive Media in Ubiquity: The Journal of Pervasive Media

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Dovey Jonathan (2013) The Pervasive Media Cookbook

Description This research argues for the development of a new paradigm in media studies for understanding digital media as lived experience and not as text. This paradigm led on to the development of new policy insights and a new design framework for digital media producers which emphasises the embodied media user in a ubiquitous computing environment.
The research highlighted a tension between a textual approach to the development of a new critical language for digital media and an Actor-Network Theory influenced account of the embeddedness of digital technology in everyday life. The embodied experiences that mobile media and gaming produce demand the new theorisations of the audience/ user experience . This work was based in observation of users and producers of games and other digital media: it foregrounds embodied play as a key characteristic of user engagement with digital media technologies.
This emphasis on embodiment and evidence in work on games and play directly informed our approach to the research and KE work in the field of Pervasive Media.
In 2004 Dovey led a series of workshops for the DTI-funded Hewlett Packard & University of Bristol 'Mobile Bristol' research project which applied and developed the critical language developed in the research. These workshops developed a design framework for digital media producers which deployed a set of design dimensions aimed at giving producers the opportunity to think through the user experience in the emergent era of Pervasive Media. Pervasive Media exploit new conjunctions of sensors and actuators derived from the field of ubiquitous computing, where devices not only respond to human inputs from interaction (with a mouse and keyboard etc) but can also sense other features of their context such as location (or temperature, light, sound etc). UWE research argued that these affordances require a new understanding of the embodied user.
The workshop team developed a framework that offered producers the opportunity to develop their ideas along a series of dimensions - Immersion, Control, Mapping, Space, Time & Sociality - in order to design their projects for embodied users in actual environments. The Knowledge Transfer Fellowship developed 12 case studies in Pervasive Media production and a series of short essays (on eg Attention, Context, Memory, Place and Play) to support designers in developing projects.
Exploitation Route The Pervasive Media Cookbook is the main outcome which is the first collection of its kind to provide a 'how to' guide to the design and build of Pervasive Media projects. It is intended for use within the developing industry around the creative digital economy and the internet of things.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

Description Pervasive Media Studio and Calvium The experience design framework developed by the 2004 workshop team (and published in R5) was incorporated in Hewlett Packard's (HP) MediaScape training materials. (MediaScapes were the forerunners of Pervasive Media.) The improvement in HP's ability to communicate the potential of mobile media led to Dovey being invited in 2008 to bring the UWE Digital Cultures Research Centre team (including Fleuriot, Giddings and Kennedy) to become co- founding members of the Pervasive Media Studio. This is Watershed Media Centre's innovation lab partnering University research and digital start-ups. (It was cited in the 'Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy' Feb 2008 DCMS report as a 'ground-breaking new innovative place of learning'.) The Director of Watershed's Pervasive Media Studio confirms that "The partnerships, collaborations and knowledge built up through your research into Experience Design and Games in the emerging ecosystem of Pervasive Media has been invaluable in catalysing and supporting our network of artists, creative and technologists." She adds that the research "has shaped policy [and] strengthened our business performance" [T1]. The design framework also at the core of the approach to mobile media design adopted by Calvium Ltd, a new spin-out company from the HP Bristol Labs that also became a founding member of the Studio. Their Creative, Sales and Marketing Director says that the research and partnerships from the workshops "have had a lasting impact on the development of our own business (Calvium) and on the wider innovation community round the Pervasive Media Studio. [] Calvium now have a thriving consultancy and app development business built around our own Experience Design framework honed from the early experimental work". Creative innovation network The original design frameworks and common-language approaches to embodied experience design were key contributors to the formation of a vibrant creative innovation network. The stakeholders in this network are Creative Industry start-ups, SMEs, cultural industry agencies, media professionals and practice-based researchers in media, design and digital innovation. The research insights from the 2004 workshop have been debated face to face, discussed and developed through the DCRC and Pervasive Media Studio networks and events. These have reached a range of audiences (of up to 300 people) including business and the general public. The design framework and common critical language developed by the research have been shared as follows: a) SME creative economy partners who have participated in workshops or case studies. Specific examples of these companies include Mobile Pie (games) [see T4], Thought Den (design), Interactive Places (heritage), Play it Again Sam (music), Duncan Speakman (artist), Guerilla Dance Company, Calvium (app platform developers) [see T2], Stand and Stare Theatre, Matter to Media, ProtoType Theatre, igLab (games) and Moksha (design). These companies have been enabled to improve their sales through experiencing the co-created methods of the design framework. For example, the MD of Mobile Pie (a games development studio) confirms that "Having such direct access to an academic team has proven immensely useful to our business over the years, helping us to make sense and understand the wider implications our work in such a fast moving industry" [T4]. b) Summer schools for 24 Creative Producers run in 2010 and 2011 (in conjunction with iShed). Producers gained an in-depth understanding of how to transfer their existing skills into the emergent domains of Pervasive Media by understanding embodied user experience [S1]. c) iShed's 'Sandbox' production programme has led to the creation of 44 innovative digital media products, all of which have incorporated UWE's 'design dimensions' approach in their planning stages. 4.5 Pervasive Media Cookbook The Knowledge Transfer Fellowship described in section 2 above led to the publication in 2012 of the online 'Pervasive Media Cookbook' ( This was co-produced with the Pervasive Media Studio. It included 14 case studies of different kinds of Pervasive Media project. The Cookbook republished and updated the research's original design framework, together with other materials, providing the world's first 'how-to' guide to producing Pervasive Media. The Cookbook has expanded the market in this field of digital innovation by offering the first guidebook aimed at first-time producers [S2]. 4.6 REACT The accumulated experience of the UWE team in knowledge exchange based in the research above underpin UWE's leadership of REACT (Research and Enterprise for Arts and Creative Technologies), one of the AHRC's four £4.8m Creative Economy Hubs. Dovey is its Director. REACT has hosted 300 academics and businesses in 'Ideas Labs', formed 100 new relationships between academics and business and produced 30 digital media projects. These build on the approaches to experience design and co-creative research relationships developed from the original 2004 workshops (see section 2 above). REACT has taken the approach to digital media experience design arising out of the research and built on it in the fields of heritage, publishing and future documentary. This has led to partnerships producing prototype products and services that enhance the product portfolio of Creative Economy businesses. Companies supported by REACT have produced an additional £500k worth of business in the year since their completion. Partner companies have invested 5800 hours of paid time into the projects so far produced. The creation of new academic/business relationships is at the core of REACT's achievements [S3]. For example, the Creative Director of Splash & Ripple writes that "REACT enabled me to get our first commission The fact that the Sandbox was informed by research into Experience Design principles that we could put into action was a really great help in developing our ideas for the project." Her involvement with REACT "has directly resulted in many new leads and a £100k commission for the National Trust. My business is now established as a new brand within the Heritage Market" [Heritage Business Start Up founder)
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Cultural,Economic