TELUS Interactive Art and Entertainment Program prototype TWEET2HOLD at Nuit Blanche 2011

TELUS Interactive Art and Entertainment Program

LMNO Pics

LMNO Pics is an interactive language game kids use to explore their online family photos. Using playful letter blocks, a unique spelling board, and an interactive interface, kids explore their world!

Heart of Stars

Using the groundbreaking technology of the Microsoft Kinect and building on the innovation of the Kinect open source community, Heart of Stars lets users become 3D avatars made of points of light and float through space.

World Without Water

World Without Water is an interactive new media installation that transforms hand washing and the every-day convention of facing a bathroom mirror into a global action through flickr.com. An everyday convention of facing a mirror becomes a global action in World Without Water.

Overview
Curriculum
Notable Alumni

The TELUS Interactive Art and Entertainment Program (IAEP) was delivered by leading-edge faculty from the interactive media industry, academic and creative arts sectors. The initiative prepared innovators to push the evolution of art and entertainment. Graduates developed a life-long understanding of technology and creative spirit.

Team-based, self-directed and project-driven, the IAEP strongly embraced collaborative exploration in new media, with a particular emphasis on narrative theory and storytelling. Graduates learned from a variety of critical perspectives, including creative development, new technology applications, business and industry training and production.

The IAEP would not have been the successful program it was without the stellar IAEP faculty and staff. CFC Media Lab would like to thank all of them for their years mentoring and supporting IAEP residents and alumni.

CFC Media Lab would also like to give a special thanks to the Goldring Scholarship Fund for all of their support of this program.

Curriculum

CORE AREA ONE - PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FOR CREATIVE MULTIDISCIPLINARY GROUPS

The first core area explored how to effectively achieve exceptional results in a team setting where time is limited, expectations are high and results are assumed to be extraordinary.

Over the course of the module, we tackled these challenges through a systems-thinking and performance-management framework that highlighted both individual and group behaviours and supported effective results.

MODULE ONE - ESTABLISHING BEST PRACTICES FOR RESULTS 

At the conclusion of this phase, participants were:

  • Familiar with the stages of group development and how it affects progress
  • Experienced in the characteristics of high-performing teams
  • Versed in systems-thinking concepts and how to apply them to product development and team effectiveness
  • Experienced with the stages of change and how to navigate inevitable barriers to success
  • Practiced in a variety of tools and techniques related to effective leadership

MODULE TWO - GROUP FORMATION

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • Finalized prototype teams
  • Established clear prototype team visions
  • Extended group development knowledge
  • Re-visited systems thinking and its application to real-time issues
  • Addressed communication and conflict management skills in the context of challenges that may have arisen in the group

WORKSHOPS

The performance management workshops included two half-day sessions that provided real-time performance coaching during prototype production. Participants continued work that they began in the leadership and group formation module, as well as tackled new and unforeseen performance issues that arose.


CORE AREA TWO - NEW MEDIA

The second core area had three sections, including new media theory, audience as users and new media forms. 

OUTCOMES
  • A solid understanding of the various forms and conventions used in creating interactive works
  • Developed a critical inquiry of new media works
  • Had a common understanding of key terms and a common language for discussing the function of narrative in new media
  • Understood the techniques and tools for usability analysis and the basic principles and concepts of user experience design
  • Developed an understanding of the historical roots and social political implications of new media

SECTION ONE - NEW MEDIA THEORY

MODULE ONE - HISTORY OF INTERACTIVE MEDIA

New Media: The Historical, Political, and Social Context

The future of the past is in the future

The future of the present is in the past

The future of the future is in the present

 - John McHale

The module on New Media: the Historical, Political and Social Context had several goals. One goal was for participants to develop an understanding of past, present and potential futures of new media through readings, discussion and demonstrations. Another goal was to develop participants' strategic and creative-thinking skills by using hands-on collaborative exercises to imagine new services and technologies. The third goal was to create a conceptual framework by providing the necessary skills to evaluate emergent new media services and technologies.

By the end of this module particpants had:

  • Developed an understanding of the past, present and potential of new media
  • An overview of media theory and its relationship to creation of new media
  • An introduction to a theoretical and historical approach to technology

MODULE TWO - INTERACTIVE NARRATIVE

INTERACTIVE NARRATIVE THEORY

At its most expansive, this module considered the question of narrativity across media or how works generate meaning at multiple levels. This included story and non-linear elements of idea and theme. Questions addressed in this module included: What elements of traditional, passive media can be transferred successful to interactive media? What kinds of stories or narratives are most successful within an interactive environment? How can immersion be maintained and enhanced across the disruptive moment of interaction? How can narrativity be understood as distinct from story? Are there stories or narratives that are best suited to an interactive medium?

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • Examined the traditional narrative elements of story, plot, character, setting, genre, symbolism and theme
  • Developed an understanding of how meaning is constructed in both linear and fragmented narratives
  • An understanding of the dominant narrative theories of the 20th century
  • A common understanding of key terms and a common language for discussing the function of narrative in new media

SECTION TWO - AUDIENCE AS USERS

This section explored the concepts and tools used in designing innovative, compelling and interactive experiences. We focused on the active role of the audience in interactive experience and the opportunities and challenges this creates for interactive media designers.

By the end of the section, participants had:

  • An understanding of the basic principles and concepts of user experience design and how to apply them in the creation of new media experiences
  • The ability to test and evaluate the quality of an interactive experience
  • A comprehensive understanding of foresighting in innovative design, including trend tracking and target audience analysis

MODULE ONE - SOCIETAL TRENDS AND ANALYSIS

We examined the role of foresighting in innovation, including an overview of techniques. The core of this section discussed trend monitoring to track broader social, macro trends as well as particular trends in technological and business development. We reviewed cases of regional innovations and the significance to broader design innovation thinking. Finally, we had an innovation challenge using a role playing game.

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • An understanding of the range of techniques used for foresighting in organizations, with particular attention to trend spotting and analysis as applied to innovation in design and strategy
  • Familiarity with the value of regional comparisons for innovation thinking developed sensitivity toward market or user specificity
  • Practiced concept ideation under pressure and learned techniques for stimulating fresh, group approaches through game play

MODULE TWO - USER EXPERIENCE AND INTERACTIVE DESIGN

This was an overview of user experience design techniques. After an examination of basic principles and concepts of user experience design, we evaluated tools and techniques for understanding your audience and creating usable and useful experiences. We discussed the creation of structure in designs and methods for documenting and communicating it. 

By the end of this module, participants could:

  • Understand the basic principles and concepts of user experience and interaction design
  • Understand how experience design combines with narrative and technology to create an interactive product
  • Be familiar with tools for investigating and understanding your audience, including observation and contextual analysis, scenarios and personas
  • Understand how to find and create structure in experiences and be able to draw a basic user experience map

MODULE THREE - USABILITY

This full-day, interactive workshop introduced some of the theory of usability and user-centred design including discussions about Return on Investment (ROI) of usability. Participants worked through a design problem in groups evaluating user needs assessment, requirements, conceptual design, prototype development and user testing. The groups presented their results after each exercise.

By the end of this module, participants were:

  • Aware of a number of user-centred design methods and usability evaluation techniques
  • Applying design and evaluation methods to a paper prototype
  • Developing a usability test script and running a usability test of a paper prototype
  • Aware of the value of usability testing interactive products

SECTION THREE - NEW MEDIA FORMS

This section examined new media practices in interactive cinema and long-form media, online and networked mobile and short form, gaming and goal-based, and physical and spatial media. Faculty and guest speakers led the workshops that covered theoretical and practical approaches to form through an exploration of relevant case studies. A technical workshop helped demystify the tools used for development and prototyping within the form. For example, the Physical and Spatial media workshop was followed by a day-long electronics workshop on the basics of interfacing computers to the real world. 

By the end of this section, participants had a solid understanding of the five forms of new media and were familiar with key works in each one. They had completed rapid prototyping exercises toward the design of narrative-based interactive experiences across multiple platforms. 

WORKSHOP ONE - CINEMA AND LONG-FORM MEDIA

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • Developed a theoretical perspective to approaching interactive cinema and long-form media
  • Surveyed key interactive entertainment projects, artwork and products that illustrate interactive cinema and long-form media concepts and technologies
  • Developed prototype basic development capabilities
  • A broadened understanding of various accessible technologies available for the design and production of interactive cinema and long-form media

WORKSHOP TWO - ONLINE AND NETWORKED MEDIA

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • Developed a theoretical perspective to approaching online and networked media
  • Surveyed key interactive entertainment projects, artwork and products that illustrate online and networked media concepts and technologies
  • Developed basic prototype development capabilities
  • A broadened understanding of various accessible technologies available and skills needed to design and produce online and networked media

WORKSHOP THREE - MOBILE AND SHORT-FORM MEDIA

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • Developed a theoretical perspective to approaching mobile and short-form media
  • Surveyed key interactive entertainment projects, artwork and products that illustrate mobile and short-form media concepts and technologies
  • Developed basic prototype development capabilities
  • A broadened understanding of various accessible technologies available and skills needed for mobile and short-form media production

WORKSHOP FOUR - GAMING AND GOAL BASED MEDIA

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • Developed a theoretical perspective to approaching gaming and goal-based media
  • Surveyed key interactive entertainment projects, artwork and products that illustrate gaming and goal-based media concepts and technologies
  • Developed a basic understanding of the game design process, in particular play-testing and iterative design, designing for particular play styles and some methods of prototype development
  • A broadened understanding of the various accessible technologies available for game prototype development

WORKSHOP FIVE - PHYSICAL AND SPATIAL MEDIA

By the end of this module, participants had:

  • Developed a theoretical perspective to approaching physical and spatial media
  • Surveyed interactive entertainment projects, artwork and products that leverage physical spatial media concepts and technologies
  • Developed rudimentary rapid-prototyping capabilities, including basic sensor interfacing and Wizard-of-Oz prototyping
  • Completed a day-long electronics workshop to learn the basics of interfacing computers to the real world

CORE AREA THREE - BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

The business development was comprised of three modules addressing business models, networking sessions and communication sessions. 

MODULE ONE - BUSINESS MODELS

By the end of this module, participants had a solid understanding of the most common models used to fund and sustain new media-focused businesses, not-for-profit organizations and projects. Participants also understood the composition of an effective advisory board for a new media start-up, and they developed the pitching and networking skills necessary to assemble an advisory board and to market ideas as well as skills to evaluate the business potential of ideas.

MODULE TWO - NETWORKING SESSIONS

By the end of this module, participants understood the roles of strategic thinking, sales, marketing, accounting, development, corporate, commercial and intellectual property law, and human resources in building and sustaining a small, entrepreneurial content organization. They had also assembled an advisory board.

MODULE THREE - COMMUNICATION SESSIONS

By the end of this module, participants had the pitching and networking skills necessary to assemble an advisory board and market themselves and their ideas.

CORE AREA FOUR - PRODUCTION

Participants established creative teams and entered into a three-month prototype production and self-directed learning cycle. Teams brought their ideas to life with analytical and practical feedback from internationally renowned faculty and guest speakers, as well as from fellow creative residents.

The production section had eight instructional components that covered critiques, technology workshops, production and documentation workshops, business sessions, communication sessions, usability testing workshops and on-going production mentorship and performance management workshops.

By the end of this section participants had:

  • Developed both the production and technical skills necessary to create a working prototype or proof of concept of a narrative-based interactive project
  • Gained a deeper understanding of the emerging trends in new media
  • Developed collaborative group work skills
  • Developed a deeper understanding of the strategic roles needed for successful start-up companies

COMPONENT ONE - CRITIQUE SESSIONS

The critique sessions formed the basis of feedback during the production portion of the IAEP. All residents and faculty assembled Tuesday mornings for four hours to discuss the progress of the projects. We created an open and honest environment that enabled everyone to contribute to the development of ideas.

COMPONENT TWO - PRODUCTION AND DOCUMENTATION WORKSHOPS

The production process and documentation sessions gave teams the opportunity to focus on the creative process. Through in-depth discussions, residents learned, analyzed and were given feedback on methods for keeping a new media project rolling, as well as the documentation created as part of that process.

COMPONENT THREE - TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOPS

The technology workshops provided an introduction to the most appropriate prototyping technology. They demystifyed specific technical platforms making them accessible for prototype production and provided introductory training on the necessary tools for prototype production.

COMPONENT FOUR - BUSINESS SESSIONS

Participants met with a variety of new media professionals and gained practical and insightful information on the roles and skills needed to build and sustain a small entrepreneurial content organization. Legal and financial experts, entrepreneurs and various representatives of new media funding agencies attended sessions allowing participants to market themselves and their prototypes and form personal advisory boards. 

COMPONENT FIVE - COMMUNICATION SESSIONS

The weekly communication sessions provided intense training on personal and prototype marketing. The sessions were rooted in an audience feedback model and provided training for all levels of sales and marketing conversations.

COMPONENT SIX - USABILITY TESTING

Participants conducted usability tests of their works in progress. Residents used The Discount Usability Testing approach developed by Jakob Nielsen to evaluate prototypes with target users. The rationale was that using well-defined tasks and testing three to five users would uncover 85 per cent of major usability problems. Participants developed test protocols, tasks to be tested, draft test scripts and questionnaires then revised all test materials for data gathering. Pilot testing with the instructor and one target user ensured that tests produced  desired results and avoided potential pitfalls. Results were then analyzed, interpreted and discussed to create design changes for the prototype. 

COMPONENT SEVEN - ONGOING PRODUCTION MENTORSHIP MEETINGS

The production mentorship meetings were a series of meetings to discuss legal, insurance and contract issues.

COMPONENT EIGHT - PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOPS

The performance management workshops provided real-time performance coaching during prototype production.

Notable Alumni

James Milward (’05) founded the interactive agency, Secret Location, which started off as a small boutique company and has since blossomed into one of the top interactive agencies in Canada. The company has won over 50 awards including a Digital Emmy® Award for Endgame Interactive and recently won three 2014 Canadian Screen Awards: Best Cross-Platform Project-Children's and Youth for Next Step Interactive, Best Cross-Platform Project-Fiction for Continuum Interactive & Best Cross-Platform Project-Non Fiction for The Amazing Race Canada Interactive.

Jeremy DiamondDenny Silverthorne ('97) are co-founders of Smiley Guys Studios which has produced series such as Odd Job Jack, Pillars of Freedom and the 2014 International Emmy Award-winner for Best Digital Program-Fiction, Guidestones.

Adrian Carter (‘97) co-founded Shark Teeth Films production company with Tom Mudd in 2010, and together they have enjoyed several successful productions. Recently they produced the reality series High Tech Rednecks that has been acquired by Italian communications company De Agostini Editore for the satellite TV platform DeASapere HD;  Beyond Home Entertainment acquired the rights for Australia and New Zealand. He also was a partner and co-founded Smiley Guy Studios.

Tessa Sproule (’97) is a digital innovator, visionary leader and change agent who is the former Director of Digital Content at the CBC. She is about to launch her first start-up venture.

Mike Kasprow (‘99) co-founded one of Canada’s top interactive marketing agencies, Trapeze Media, in 2010. He is currently a partner and executive director of Innovation at UNION Advertising Canada LP.

Evan Jones (‘03) is the founder of two-time Emmy Award-winning Stitch Media, an interactive media production services company.

Tahir Mahmood ('07) is a successful designer who was the recipient of a 2010 Annual Design Review Award of Design Distinction in the Consumer Products Category and Silver from the I.D. 2010 Annual Design Review in the Consumer Product Category for his "Chatto Wattas".  

Angella Mackey ('08) is a Canadian designer who launched a line of wearable light, Vega, in 2011. This series of fashionable illuminated coats and accessories for cycling was launched with the help of a very successful Kickstarter Campaign.