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First EXPLORE session in the E11 Studio: Oculus Quest Virtual Reality and Tilt Brush by Google

Thursday 6th February, 4pm to 6pm. Drop-in at any point.

Oculus Quest is an all-in-one system built for virtual reality. You can now play almost anywhere with just a VR headset and controllers. It is not just for gaming though, it is also a creative tool for applications such as Tilt Brush. Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality and upload your creations to the web. Your room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless.

We have several Oculus Quest headsets in E11 and this session will enable to you try out the Tilt Brush application for yourself. Have a look at the Tilt Brush Artist in Residence examples to see what is possible.

If you’d like to drop by please let us know in advance so we can be ready with enough tea, coffee and biscuits!

EXPLORE drop in sessions take place at:

E11 Studio, Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus, 10 Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH10 5DT.

Featured post

E11 – a new Creative Informatics Studio at Edinburgh Napier University opens its doors.

This month we are launching a brand new Creative Informatics workshop and events space at Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus! E11 will be a base for CI Studios events in 2020 and beyond, offering a range of informal workshops, events and drop in sessions for individuals working in the creative industries who would like to experiment with, and explore the potential of, digital and data-driven technologies in a friendly and supportive environment.

To mark the opening of E11, we are holding an Open Studio event on Wednesday the 4th of December. Book your ticket here

There will also be an opportunity to try out cutting edge creative technology, such as 3D creation tools for virtual reality, responsive sound and audio, immersive 360 degrees video, interactive lighting, and sensor driven robots!

If you are a creative business or individual based in Edinburgh or South East Scotland (Fife, the Lothians and the Borders), please come along to find out more about our plans and tell us how you would like to use E11, over some drinks and nibbles.

Going forward, CI Studio events will take place at E11 and in venues in and around Edinburgh and South East Scotland, providing opportunities for creative practitioners of all disciplines to try out emerging technologies that could inspire and inform new ways of working for the creative industries. We also hope that you will tell us how you might like to use the space in 2020 and how exploring and experimenting with digital technology might inspire, and inform new creative work? How might a tactile, analogue, material-based creative practice for example be informed by intangible, digital and immaterial technology? What is Virtual Reality and how can it be applied in a creative way? How could immersive video be utilised by creative practitioners who work for a creative practice? These are just some of the questions that CI Studios will explore.

Please join us on the 4th of December if you can, otherwise, we look forward to seeing you at one of our CI Studio events in 2020.

We look forward to meeting/seeing you!
Inge Panneels, Ingi Helgason, Michael Smyth, Oli Mival and the rest of the Creative Informatics team.


CI Studios #16 & #18: Making Music with a Game Boy

16 March 2022 (Eventbrite link) and 26 April 2022 (Eventbrite link)

About this event

Chiptune is music created with the sound chips that were part of computers and computer games consoles in the 1980s and 1990s such as Commodore 64, Atari ST & Amiga, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Game Boy. Creating music with these chips is challenging due to technical limitations that can be difficult to work around. However, there are musicians today who are inspired by these limits and are choosing to create ‘inside the box’ with these restrictions.

In this informal and participatory session, musician Elif Yalvaç explained the history and appeal of chiptune and the aesthetic and creative value of limitations in chip music, before guiding participants through composing some chiptunes of their own.


Elif’s MA thesis “Creating Music ‘Inside the Box’: Do Chiptune’s Limitations Have Aesthetic and Creative Value?” The thesis includes more about the respondents Elif interviewed that were mentioned (including Arottenbit and Disasterpeace).

Here is a link to LSDJ, the tracker tool used in a Game Boy to create music. This website also has a full manual, but you can also use an emulator instead.

A documentary, Europe in 8-bits to learn more about the Chiptune scene (full and free to watch).

Rock band Anamanaguchi using a NES on stage

 Shoegaze-chiptune band The Depreciation Guild 

Game Boy Emulators  https://littlesounddj.fandom.com/wiki/Game_Boy_Emulators The one we checked for demonstration purposes was http://kigb.emuunlim.com/

Chip music we listened to

Koji Kondo – Legend of Zelda Theme


Elif Yalvac 

Ryoji Ikeda Times Square Installation

About Elif Yalvaç

Born and raised in Turkey, Elif (née Hazal Elif Yalvaç) grew up surrounded by a wide range of music. Following her BA degree in Translation and Interpreting from Istanbul University, Elif earned her masters in Sonic Arts from Istanbul Technical University (MIAM).

She has presented compositions and performed in the UK and across Europe, most notably at Secret Garden Party (UK) in 2016, as well as throughout Nordic countries, particularly in Iceland. Her debut EP CloudScapes was self-released in July 2016, and her debut LP, L’appel du Vide, was released by UK label Curated Doom in November 2018. Her latest album Mountains Become Stepping Stones was released by the USA-based label NNA Tapes on December 4, 2020. The album received international acclaim, including reviews on the Guardian, The Wire, and All About Jazz.

Endorsed by Arts Council England, Elif Yalvaç is currently based in the UK with a Global Talent Visa.

Elif on Facebook

Elif on Instagram

Elif on Twitter

CI Studio #15: An introduction to coding with the BBC Micro:bit

10 March 2022 (Eventbrite link)

For our first CI Studio event of 2022 we were back in our home at E11! We were super excited to welcome participants into our dedicated space for a hands-on and in-person coding taster event.

In this two hour, introductory session, Creative Informatics Research Associate Susan Lechelt showed participants how to get started with coding and simple electronics using BBC Micro:bit computers and fun accessories like the Mini.mu electronic music making glove. For more info see: Microsoft Makecode

About the BBC Micro:bit

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology. It was designed to be used as an introduction to computing for children, but is now widely used by adults for all kinds of creative projects and for learning digital skills. A collaboration between 29 partners, the BBC micro:bit is the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative in 30 years, which aims to inspire digital creativity and develop a new generation of tech pioneers. In the 1980s, the BBC introduced many children to computing for the first time and the BBC micro:bit, part of the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative, builds on the legacy of that project for the digital age.

Susan Lechelt

Susan is a researcher in Human-Computer Interaction, interested in designing playful interfaces and experiences that encourage curiosity and reflection. She is also passionate about investigating new methods for teaching novices about data and digital literacy. Susan has a mixed background spanning interaction design, computer science and cognitive science. Her PhD at the UCL Interaction Centre focused on investigating how the new generation of physical computing toolkits can be designed to better support computing education in real classrooms — and to make learning about computing more creative and collaborative for children.

CI Studio #14: An Introduction to Creative Coding

3 November 2021 (Eventbrite link)

This interactive CI Studio provided an overview of different DIY approaches to computer programming for creative projects.


Ingi Helgason, Edinburgh Napier University Introduction with examples of projects and artworks built with physical computing.

Clare Duffy, Artistic Director, Civic Digits Theatre Company Clare will talk about Civic Digits’ ‘motorised emoji’, which is currently being developed into an expressive ‘data driven actor’: a Vizblocks (tangible data visualisation kit) robot that can be fed with data, potentially live, as part of a performance.

Susan Lechelt, University of Edinburgh Creative Informatics Research Associate Susan Lechelt will lead a hands-on coding activity for participants to try out in their own browsers.

Martin Disley, Artist, Researcher and Creative Technologist. Martin will demo the Google Colab platform, a tool for interacting with the Python programming language in a browser, with a text to image notebook that generates images from text prompts using AI.

Luci Holland, Composer and Sound Artist, Tinderbox Collective. Luci will talk about Pianola Nova, a Creative Informatics Challenge Project collaboration with Pianodrome, which uses microcontrollers to link Pianos in two different geographical locations, enabling players to engaged in a distanced duet.

Michael Smyth, Edinburgh Napier University: presenting The Techno Shaman 

Links and Resources covered in the Studio event


VizBlocks is a tangible, modular and hackable toolkit for exploring data visualisation and the internet of things. VizBlocks is a dynamic data visualisation kit which offers public audiences new ways of physically representing data using a modular kit. With a range of materials, mechanisms and tools, VizBlocks can be used to translate data into playful and engaging physical data displays. VizBlocks is a project by The Centre for Design Informatics at The University of Edinburgh.


Autodesk Tinkercad

The Raspberry Pi Foundation

Micro:bit Make it Code it

Scratch With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Scratch is designed, developed, and moderated by the Scratch Foundation, a nonprofit organization. It is provided free of charge.

The notebook shared by Martin Disley in the session. Generates images from text prompts with CLIP guided diffusion. By Katherine Crowson.

Pianola Nova is an interactive sculpture that links two acoustic pianos in different locations. Each piano will play the other in almost real time so as one piano plays, the other re-creates the performance. Perform to people in one city while playing in another. Play live duets remotely, with a friend or a complete stranger. And explore other possibilities opened up by the new technology behind the Pianola Nova. It is a work in progress – an R&D project designed and built by Tinderbox Collective, in response to a Creative Informatics Challenge Project set by Pianodrome. The lead artists are Luci Holland and Martin Disley from Tinderbox Collective, and we’ve worked with a great team including Ted Koterwas, Sam Healy, Yann Seznec, Alasdair Anderson, Lewis MacDonald, Dominika Jackowska, Oliver Entwisle and Old School Fabrications to help us along the way.

The Techno Shaman made by Michael Smyth and Ingi Helgason, inspired by the original Techno Shaman project from the UrbanIxD summer school.

Examples of Creative projects:

Talk to Me, Exhibition, 2011, MoMa https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2011/talktome/

Niklas Roy. Through my work, I explore art, science and technology, often in the form of humorous installations and machines. https://www.niklasroy.com/

From early computer art to current Museum residencies and innovative uses of the latest 3D printing technology, explore the V&A’s relationship with digital art and design. http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/d/digital-art-and-design/

In February 2017 Kinetica marked its 10 year legacy as a leading platform for international new media art with an anniversary show featuring an experiential exhibition of performative and immersive artworks and a programme of mind-blowing holographic performances. http://www.kinetica-artfair.com/

CI Studio #13: Getting started with NoCode

24 June 2021 (Eventbrite link)

This interactive CI Studio provided an overview of the ideas behind no-code to help you get started on your journey to building that innovative MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or creative project.


Max Haining is a social entrepreneur and community builder who helps non-techies and creators build websites, apps and software without code. He runs the 100DaysOfNoCode community which helps beginners leverage the power of no-code by facilitating connections between like-minded learners and delivering courses and workshops.

Oliver Littlejohn is Head of Partnerships at CodeBase. Since CodeBase’s inception, Oli has worked on bringing together the tech community. In his current role he works on a range of programmes (including Creative Bridge) to help upskill startups.

Frances Odera Matthews is founder of The Notion Bar, where she’s a certified Notion Consultant, coach and template builder, helping people and small businesses level-up through her services and products. Frances has become a thought leader in the Notion community, giving talks and building a large following based on her unique style, committed to aesthetics, usability and infusion of pop-culture into Notion projects.

Links and Resources covered in the Studio event

Tools and communities:

  • 100DaysOfNoCode “100DaysOfNoCode is an online community connecting you with the people, content and habit fueled system to build great things. Build your dream products. Make lifelong friends + collaborators. Diversify your income.”
  • Notion “All-in-one workspace. One tool for your whole team. Write, plan, and get organized.”
  • Bubble “The best way to build web apps without code Bubble is the most powerful no-code platform, empowering entrepreneurs to build production-ready web apps” The How-to-build section
  • Airtable “The power of a database with the familiarity of a spreadsheet.”
  • Softr “Build full-stack apps from Airtable, in one single place.”
  • Intuiface “Digitally Transform the Physical Space. Intuiface is a no-code platform dedicated to the effortless creation, deployment, and analysis of interactive digital experiences.”
  • Symbolab is an advanced math education tool. It allows users to learn, practice and discover math topics using mathematical symbols and scientific notations as well as text.
  • Miro “Miro is the online collaborative whiteboard platform that enables distributed teams to work effectively together, from brainstorming with digital sticky notes to planning and managing agile workflows.”
  • Figma “Figma collaborative interface design tool, brings your teams together to design better products from start to finish.”

Projects built with NoCode tools:

  • Missing Black People “Building Safer Communities. Help us find missing Black people worldwide and bring families and communities back together.”
  • Exit to Community “A new exit strategy for the startups we love”

CI Studio #12: Introducing BBC MakerBox

20 April 2021 (Eventbrite link)

BBC MakerBox is a place for creators to connect, learn and try out cutting edge tools for developing digital content.

Connected Studio MakerBox is something new from the BBC, a place for you to join an online community of like-minded creators and experiment with the latest cutting edge technologies, including tools for creating interactive narratives and responsive storytelling, new ways of using voice and AI, and much more.

Experiences built with MakerBox tools include BBC Click 1000InstagramificationDiscover Your Daemon, and immersive audio horror story Monster, all of which are available at BBC Taster, the home of new ideas at the BBC which hosts experimental pilots and ideas that audiences can try, rate and share.

In this interactive CI Studio led by the MakerBox team, we explored two BBC R&D built tools, StoryFormer and Audio Orchestrator, as well as doing a couple of creative exercises to get participants thinking how to use these tools.

StoryFormer is a tool for creating flexible, responsive stories. Using StoryFormer, the flow of a story and the media used to tell it can change dynamically, responding to the viewer’s input, their preferences, or their context. This can happen either before the story starts, or while it’s underway. The same story can be told differently to every viewer. Different parts of a story can be explored at will, expanded in depth, or avoided entirely.

Audio Orchestrator allows you to take your audio projects and rework them into interactive, 360°, spatial audio that envelops your listeners in sound – from above, from behind, sending sound to one, many or all connected devices to tell your story in a new and unique way. The tool’s unique creation process ensures that the experience can adapt to fit any number and many different types of devices – even if this changes during listening.

CI Studio #11: Exploring Livestreaming Economies

30 Mar 2021 (Eventbrite link)

This event explored how platforms such as Twitch & YouTube are offering new models for engaging audiences & monetising online performances.

Aimed at people exploring new ways to host, engage and transact with online audiences. Do you want to know more about the business models and monetisation of livestreaming on platforms such as Twitch and Youtube? Chris Elsden explored the weird and wonderful ways to pay and be paid through livestreaming. This informal and playful session, examined how livestreaming platforms provide ‘free’ content, without tickets, but nonetheless cultivate a loyal and paying community.

From new currencies and tip jars, to subscriptions and gifts, the studio introduced various examples of emerging transactions and payments on leading livestreaming platform, Twitch. Taking these as a template, we then worked with participants to imagine how these online practices could translate to new ways to pay and engage with traditional creative work, especially in the performing arts.

This CI Studio is part of Creative Informatics research project ‘What is a Ticket?’.

Dr. Chris Elsden is a design researcher, with a background in sociology, and expertise in the human experience of a data-driven life. Using and developing innovative design research methods, his work undertakes diverse, qualitative and often speculative engagements with individuals and organisations to investigate emerging relationships with technology – particularly data-driven tools, distributed ledgers and financial technologies.

Through the Creative Informatics programme, Chris’ own research explores ‘Creative Transactions’: how new financial technologies will mediate creative practice, business models and relationships with audiences.

Dr. Evan Morgan is a Research Software Engineer in Design Informatics, supporting the technical implementation of research prototypes, systems, and data science across the Institute. He has a background in media and arts technology, with a particular interest in technologies that are designed to interpret and influence human behaviour.

CI Studio #10: Knowing your users – understanding your customers and market

16 March 2021 (Eventbrite link)

Are you developing a new creative product or service? How much research have you carried out on your potential customer base and target markets?

For CI Studio 10, we were joined by market research specialists who shared their experiences of conducting user research, with some tips and tricks that can be adapted for start-ups, sole traders and small businesses in the creative industries.

Collecting reliable data about your market or audience is vital to the development of any business concept, and can help you build a case to attract funding and investment. This informal session will focused on practical approaches to market research. We covered different methods for getting to know the intended users of your new creative product or service.

Our speakers:

Oli Mival is a highly experienced UX professional bridging the gap between academic theory and research to industry practice and implementation. Oli is Director of User Research at Skyscanner and is a Principal Research Fellow at Edinburgh Napier University.

Catherine Richards is Head of Customer Design at Tesco Bank. Catherine is an experienced design leader and has worked for some of the UK’s leading banks where she’s led on embedding and deepening a culture of customer-centricity through Design. She’s currently at Tesco Bank and her work includes redefining the customer strategy and how propositions are developed so that they focus on the needs of Tesco Shoppers.

Bas Raijmakers is co-founder of design research agency STBY, with offices in London and Amsterdam, STBY carry out creative research projects to connect organisations with the lives and experiences of their customers.

Aleks Wruk is a UX researcher, facilitator and speaker. She has worked for some of Scotland’s top tech companies, building bridges between product teams and their users. Aleks is focused on promoting user centeredness and the culture of learning to help organisations design outstanding products and services.


Oli Mival’s presentation (pdf).

Article with further references. A quick reference guide for UX testing methods and their purpose. by Aleks Wruk on Medium

Book: The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you, by Rob Fitzpatrick (mentioned by Aleks Wruk).