From 16th-17th March, two full workshop days took place at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) framed by intersecting agendas of the Research Councils (principally the EPSRC, AHRC) and the Arts Council England.
Each of the days explored potential project ideas that develop and evaluate Social Technology Systems (STS) / Social Media in the context of a Digital Economy. Examples include Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and so on.
The first day, Monday 16th, was dedicated to considering the role of STS in terms of Arts Engagement, particularly trying to find solutions for informing audience awareness, engagement and quality of experiences within the arts sector. This event is co-programmed by the Impacts 08 research team at University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, funded by the AHRC and Arts Council of England, along with part funding from the Innovative Media for a Digital Economy (IMDE) Research Cluster and FACT.
Tuesday 17th was dedicated to considering the role of STSs / Social Media in Healthy Environments. This day emerges from the EPSRC Research Cluster called Innovative Media for a Digital Economy (IMDE). Over the last year, the IMDE community has been investigating the potential to develop projects that relate to health, transportation and the creative industries. This day was enabled by seed funding within the cluster and and is kindly supported by FACT. We discussed a range of issues arising from the medicalization of cyberspace, the use of mobile devices in health care, the use of social gaming technologies, such as Second Life and the rise of medical self-surveillance technology such as Google Health. In short, the key question that interested us were how can we develop engaging social media to better assist the economic burden of health care, without failing to attend to the most important needs of patients, carers and casual users of healthcare technology. An integral part of this will be to identify innovative methodologies that draw on the original knowledge developed within artist and design organizations to work more closely with social scientists and information techologists.