Ben Dalton

Ben Dalton

Ben Dalton is a computational design and experimental media researcher. He is currently on research leave from the Faculty of Arts, Environment & Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, to join The Creative Exchange hub and a PhD at the Royal College of Art. He has recently been a guest Professor at the Bergen National Academy of Art and Design, teaching workshops on interaction design. He has a background in ubiquitous computing and mobile sensor networks from the MIT Media Lab, and has conducted research in the Århus University Electron-Molecular Interaction group, University of Leeds Spintronics and Magnetic Nanostructures lab, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, London. Ben is just completing work as co-investigator on two EPSRC funded research projects in to visualising pedestrian usage patterns in interactive urban spaces and wearable computing sensors for ubiquitous computing applications. He is currently collaborating on a project titled Data is Political on art, design, and the politics of information, which included an international symposium funded in part by VERDIKT (Research Council of Norway ICT grant). He has also worked on Hewlett-Packard funded development of a GPS music city archive app presented at the FACT gallery Liverpool and the ICA gallery London, and with arts innovation funded grants including ARTiMELT, an Arts Council England supported residency.

The New Cloud Atlas

9th Jul 2015
The New Cloud Atlas is a global effort to map each data place that makes up the cloud in an open and accountable way. As an outcome of the Walk in the Park project, the Atlas was developed by CX PhD student Ben Dalton, geospatial developer, Tim Waters, and the design...

Superheroes Still Need Phoneboxes: Lecture at the 31st Chaos Communication Congress, Hamburg

23rd Jan 2015
Over the winter break RCA Creative Exchange doctoral researcher Ben Dalton presented work on pseudonymity and digital public space at the 31st annual Chaos Communication Congress (31C3) in Hamburg. The Congress describes itself as "an annual four-day conference on technology, society and utopia … offering lectures and workshops and various events...

A residency with Digital Media Labs

20th Oct 2014
The Royal College of Art branch of the Creative Exchange research hub has been extending its reach through a residency with Digital Media Labs – a programme that aims to create a pool of artists bringing newly developed skills with emergent technologies to a range of digital arts projects. RCA Creative...

Workshop: Graph Commons

21st Feb 2014
I have collaborated with artist Burak Arikan to run a workshop as part of the Time & Motion exhibition at FACT in Liverpool about personal network mapping and making. This one day workshop focuses on the design and understanding of the complex networks of work and personal identity through mapping and...

How far does the workspace headspace reach?

6th Feb 2014
We built a collaborative map with the visitors to the FACT gallery, pinpointing where they were digitally connecting around Liverpool, the UK and the world. For our workshop I developed a method of collaboratively discussing and mapping digital networks and connections using pushpins and colour coded connections. The backdrop to our...

Decode FACT: a workshop in the Co-Working Space

1st Feb 2014
An introduction to our Decode FACT workshop for the Time & Motion Exhibition at FACT, Liverpool. At one end of the 'Hybrid Lives' Co-Working space in the foyer of FACT is a tall, thin wall. Pinned to the wall are photos of desks and other spaces of work. If you look...

Elf Protest: Workshop – the future of work, micro-unions, and how to create voices for hidden work

14th Dec 2013
This workshop for children and adults as part of the Time & Motion exhibition at FACT gallery in Liverpool explores the hidden labour invested in making christmas happen (from toys, to postage, to cleaners). In depth conversations about working rights in Foxconn with eight year olds, while colouring protest banners for...

sous les pavés, la plage

14th Nov 2013
A quote stood out for me in the notes of a talk by Tom Armitage at the 2013 Playark games festival in relationship to digital public spaces, structures of organisation and potential for exploration. Tom writes: One of the slogans of the Situationist International was: sous les pavés, la plage: "underneath the paving...

Accept Cookies: Personal data performance at the AND Festival Fair

6th Oct 2013
At the Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival Fair (FACT Liverpool, Oct 2013), I produced a performance based on my earlier work with web tracking cookies and personal data. Visitors to the Fair at the FACT Gallery in Liverpool could visit a web page to generate a personal 'super cookie'. This tracking...

Understanding digital experience through use

28th Sep 2013
We've found the best way to understand the digital experiences we have been prototyping in apps for our participants is by also using them ourselves. After developing and testing our Where do you go to? desk capturing and sharing app at the BBC Media City, we have been usings it within...

Desks and the 'place' in workplace

18th Sep 2013
Following the interviews with our project participants, we have seen several themes begin to emerge. We set out to explore digital tools to support collaboration at a distance. Through a process of co-design, prototyping and documentation of our work we have identified 'place' as a description for the properties of traditional...

Cross-platform app development

15th Jul 2013
Creating shared digital spaces requires ease of access for all involved. We tried to design across the closed silo 'stacks' of app companies. The technical considerations when making an app also influence design choices. Most of the big app stores support development with a wealth of programming and publishing tools. Apple,...

Include Asia 2013

5th Jul 2013
Claire McAndrew joined a vibrant community of researchers considering the topic of Global Challenges and Local Solutions in Inclusive Design in Hong Kong to present a paper on our workshop findings and design approach. Abstract

Digital work-place: Prototype app for sharing desk status

1st Jul 2013
We've prototyped an app for use during collaborative projects when everyone's hotdesking or away from the office. We drew on conversations and idea sketches with the R&D team at BBC Media City in Salford to develop an Android app for sharing images of your desk with your team as a way...

Connectedness design workshop

27th Apr 2013
Bridget, Claire and Ben travelled to the BBC R&D lab in Media City, Salford to talk to some of the staff about their experiences of working in 'distributed' teams and with freelancers. We wanted to explore forms of communication for enhancing a sense of connectedness in collaborating teams, and to discover...

"inspired centers of civic life"

25th Mar 2013
James Howard Kunstler described successful public spaces as “inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good”. An insightful exploration of our public park metaphor over on the Future is Personal from project partner Max Van Kleek helps to reveal our motivations for using parks as a...

Vibrant Freelance Creative Communities

7th Mar 2013
We are seeking freelance creative contributors to BBCNorth mediacity to participate in a 2-week design experiment. Our 'Where do you go to?' project is looking at how BBCNorth collaborators might use 'digital sharing of physical workspaces' to support and enrich their creative networks in new ways. Our starting point for the...

Modelling Digital Public Space: a sandpit event

20th Feb 2013
My experience as a facillitator in one of the breakout groups in the latest Creative Exchange sandpit event was full of ideas and great potential for collaboration. From my perspective, our theme for the day was an exploration of concepts of modelling. As a means of structuring understanding of digital public...

Reading Digital Public Space

8th Feb 2013
I have been thinking about my reading of "digital public space".  I like how the perspectives I bring shift as I emphasise different words within the phrase. If I read with emphasis on pairs of words I draw on different associations, for example 'Public Space' and 'Digital Public'.

Pseudonymity and Real Names

7th Jan 2013
What are the implications of 'real name' policies online? In the early years of the web, the oft-quoted sentiment that "on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" summed up the sense of exploration and playfulness that an apparent freedom from 'real-life' identity offered. In recent years, however, online commerce and...

Thinking about personal data at the AHRC Moot

20th Nov 2012
I developed an interactive demonstration for the AHRC Moot exploring themes of personal agency over personal data. "We are making edible cookies from digital cookies. Have you noticed websites asking more about cookies recently? What information can browser fingerprint characteristics like these give away about online activity? What big data archives...