June brings new progress on the Seeding Sullivant project. With the benefit of grant funding, two talented Design graduate students are currently working on prototypes of the app web pages, testing different types of the media assets collected during the spring by students and developing a graphic identity for the project. Design MFA students Alice Grishchenko and Jason Tiberio have been reviewing options for web site hosts. One of the goals of this part of the process is to identify an approach to presenting our content on hand-held devices that will be adaptable by others who may wish to use the “seeding” approach to sharing the history of campus architecture and the many cultures that have inhabited it over time.
Using the outcomes of interviews and archival research conducted by undergraduate and graduate students, project participants have been reviewing and prioritizing the stories of Sullivant Hall’s past that were collected throughout the spring semester. One of the major challenges in making these decisions is sorting out information that is location-specific within the building from that which is generally associated but not tied to a particular place. Since the project is centered on the concept of encouraging people to learn about the places they occupy by actually going to a space to learn about it, identifying and figuring out how to best present location-specific content is critical to the project’s success. This work will be ongoing throughout the summer as we expand the prototype that Alice and Jason are helping to develop.
In addition to the collection of historic information and data about Sullivant Hall this semester, an ACCAD course taught by Jeremy Patterson has been exploring the ways in which different app designs might support the delivery of a range of collected Sullivant Hall stories to the public in fun and interactive ways. Students developed a variety of interfaces intended to work with hand-held devices and our beacons. This effort helps us imagine possible ways of structuring the project. One of the most exciting aspects of using student’s creative efforts to explore these possibilities is the engagement of students from a variety of courses in user testing sessions with Patterson’s class. Students who submitted information to be considered for the project in their own courses sat side-by-side with the future app designers during class meetings held late in the term. They provided feedback on the clarity, usability, and excitement each app design idea allowed. With valuable input from this broad range of students, the app designers were able to modify and adjust their designs to create even more effective potential experiences for our future users. Now the Seeding Sullivant project will now move forward with web page content development and designs created with the help of two Design MFA students. Patterson’s students’ ideas will give us insight into what might be possible.
While the testing of beacon technology continues at the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), several groups of OSU students have been mobilized to begin collecting information about the history of Joseph Sullivant, Sullivant Hall, and its former and current occupants. Approximately 25 undergraduate from across the university who are enrolled in “The Ohio State University: Its History and Its World” (team taught by OSU Archivist Tamar Chute, History Professor David Staley, and English Professor Christian Zacher) will be combing the archives and other repositories for reports, articles, memoirs, photographs or other artifacts that relate to Sullivant Hall’s past as they learn the ins and outs of archival research and historical interpretation. In addition to this group, several graduate students in courses taught in the Department of Arts Administration, Education, and Policy and the Department of Dance have been deployed to look broadly for stories including oral histories that can be shared by persons with associations with the building and its former or current occupants. Stories for the project will also be sought through the analysis of material culture– artifacts, objects and physical attributes of the built environment– that provides evidence of the past.
Professor Maria Palazzi and Matthew Lewis visited the various classes to present the project and its background and rationale to each student group during the month of January. They also conveyed the structure that has been developed to collect data so that each new piece of information can be added to and the searchable expandable database that has been created. As students start to populate and submit the forms containing their findings, the work of assessing, comparing, relating and building the narratives that will become the stories we will communicate using locative technology can begin, making the next couple of months an incredibly exciting new phase for the project.
The “Seeding Sullivant Hall” project received good news this week with the awarding of a $15,000 OSU Arts and Humanities “Larger Research Grant for Continuing and Completion” to Mary Anne Beecher and Maria Palazzi for a phase of the project we’re calling “From Mediated Experience to Sense of Place: Seeding the Campus Environment to Reveal Hidden Stories.” This funding will help support a graduate research assistant in the 2015-16 academic year once the initial proof-of-concept pieces of the project have been tested and implemented and the first phase of content gathering has occurred in conjunction with a series of ASC courses. It is with valuable resources like the Arts and Humanities research grant program that projects like ours are able to move forward toward their completion, so a big thanks to the College of Arts and Sciences and its supporters!
This blog documents the progress of the “Seeding Sullivant Hall” project; a multidisciplinary collaborative effort to research, document and share the many histories of The Ohio State University’s recently renovated Sullivant Hall. This place-based project celebrates the reinvigorated life of Sullivant Hall and its history by embedding the building’s interior environment with beacon technology that enables access to a database of narratives about the building using smart devices. Our goals include providing alternative means of navigating the building that offer virtual experiences of place that put occupants with smart devices in touch with the building’s history in a dynamic way.
Initial funding for this the project has been provided by a One Ohio State Framework Project Grant. Testing technology and associated devices began in Fall, 2014. The project is spear-headed by Professor Maria Palazzi (Department of Design and Director of the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design-ACCAD). In addition, the project team members include Professor Mary Anne Beecher, Ph.D., Department of Design (and blogger); Tamara Chute, OSU University Archives; Adjunct Professor Clayton Funk, Ph.D., Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy; Matthew Lewis, Ph.D., ACCAD; Professor Susan Petry, Department of Dance; Professor David Staley, Ph.D., Department of History; and Professor Deborah Smith-Shank, Ph.D, Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy.
A proof-of-concept for the application that is part of this project’s infrastructure is under development now. Further assessment of the opportunities that the beacons afford and the design and development of the app are on the agenda for the next several months. At the same time, students in several undergraduate and graduate level courses in the College of Arts and Sciences will be helping to collect and present visual, verbal, and text-based “stories” about the significance of Joseph Sullivant and the history of Sullivant Hall and its past and current occupants. This information will become the substance of the project. Please stay tuned to see examples of our findings, updates on our progress and please share any memories of Sullivant Hall here so we can consider including them in our project!