The Change Creators spent some time in Barcelona from 10th – 13th April, with two full days of workshops in the Barcelona Fab Lab, which is part of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.
On Monday the group received a talk from Guillem Camporodon on the development of computers. He took the Change Creators through their history and how the demand for them has increased so rapidly, sharing a 1958 quote from Thomas John Watson: “I think there is a world market for about five computers”. Guillem also explained the development of 3D printers and how they are being used all around the world. The group had a full tour of the building and an up close and personal look at 3D printers.
The Change Creators then spoke to Mara Balestrini, Director of Research for Ideas for Change, who has been collaborating with KWMC to develop The Bristol Approach to Citizen Sensing (which the Change Creators are part of). Mara spoke to the group about connecting people with sensor technology, the challenges involved and what to think about when encouraging citizens to use sensors. She gave examples of projects that had failed and flourished, giving a detailed explanation as to why.
The afternoon was spent exploring Arduinos with Guillem Camporodon and he also introduced the Change Creators to the ‘smart citizen’ kits. In pairs the group set up the kits around the Fab Lab, both inside and outside, ready to collect data for them to visualise the next day.
The next morning the group sat down with Guillem and Mara to present their ideas for using sensor technology within their campaigns: reducing food waste and diversifying mental health support services for young people. Mara and Guillem challenged some of the ideas, encouraging the Change Creators to reflect further, and offered their expertise, gained through similar projects and experience.
In the afternoon the group were ready to input the data, collected the previous night, into Adobe Illustrator and visualise it using a laser cutter. They decided what they wanted to visualise, with Chelsea and Yelena focusing on comparing the CO2 levels in Santiago and Barcelona. Through this exercise, the Change Creators got a first-hand experience of how sensors can enable you to be creative with the data they gather.
The two days were successful in helping the Change Creators understand sensors and data visualisation:
“I didn’t know it could be so creative” – Chelsea
“I’ve learned so much in a great, fun engaging way”- Charlie
“I’ve learned so much, I’ve got so many ideas about what I can do for my project” – Yelena
“It’s been really hands-on. We’ve been talking about these concepts for so long and seeing them in action has been really valuable” – Andrea