Farr Researcher Receives a Highly Commended Award in the Research as Art Competition

Published on: 17th July 2017

Ann John, from the Farr Institute, has received a Highly Commended in this year’s Swansea University Research for Art Competition. Ann received the award for her work – “#Data saves lives: how do feelings become numbers?”

Research as Art is open to researchers at Swansea University, with an emphasis on telling the research story, as well as composing a striking image. It offers an outlet for researchers’ creativity, and celebrates the diversity, beauty and impact of research at the University. 86 entries were received and a judging panel of senior figures selected a total of 15 winners.

Ann John commented on her Highly Commended entry, “I work with Big Data to explore children and young people’s mental health, analysing millions of anonymised routinely collected health records in a secure environment, The SAIL Databank. We aim to answer important questions such as, are we medicalising unhappiness or are we under-recognising and under-treating young people?

I never forget the individuals in the rows of data but in a public lecture I was asked ‘How do feelings become numbers?’ So in collaboration with artist Karen Ingham we worked with young people to use new technology differently and explore feelings more directly. We asked them to create a 3D immersive version of their state of mind using the Virtual Reality VIVE headset with the ‘Tilt Brush’. They could walk in, out and around these visual representations of feelings- a true mind-body approach.

This is an image from one young person, used to ‘connect’ them back to their session – technology as an affective object (objects that transfer emotional data from object to subject).”

Competition founder and Director Dr Richard Johnston, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Swansea University, said: “Research as Art is an opportunity for researchers to reveal hidden aspects of their research to audiences they wouldn’t normally engage with. This may uncover their personal story, their humanity, their inspiration, and emotion.

It can also be a way of presenting their research process, and what it means to be a researcher; fostering dialogue, and dissolving barriers between universities and the wider world.”

To read more and view the winning pieces of art visit: BBC News

For more information contact Sarah Toomey, Communications Officer, Farr Institute Swansea University

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