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We are Makers and Creators – Jamie Gledhill, UX Design

Meet Jamie – a practicing digital artist, and Lecturer on BSc (Hons) User Experience Design. Jamie’s work connects both creativity and technology, and we went along to see his newest interactive artwork, ‘The Multitude’ at Norwich Arts Centre. This blog serves part of our Makers and Creators photo series, showcasing our visionary staff.

What is The Multitude?

The Multitude is a playable interactive artwork, presented in an immersive environment where two socially distanced ‘players’ work together to ‘save the world’.

With three large projection screens and surround sound it’s a bit like virtual reality without the headset. The Multitude is my most ambitious project to date and has been exhibited in Cambridge and Norwich with plans to exhibit further afield in 2022.

What is your work or practice about?

I like to create playful artworks that give participants the freedom to discover their own unique way of interacting with an experience rather than constraining them too rigidly.

I’m particularly interested in the way that people co-interact through the medium of a performative artwork, especially when this is situated in a public place and the participants might not already know each other.

I’m fundamentally interested in the transformative potential of mixing art and technology, as many artists and researchers are.

Human connection, agency and transformation seem to crop up quite a lot in my work.

Tell us about your educational background

I originally studied Arts Management at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts which helped me to develop a working knowledge of the arts sector as well as core project skills.

I worked closely with students from a range of creative disciplines which kindled a longstanding passion for interdisciplinary creativity.

Several years later I took an MA in Moving Image and Sound at NUA which provided the framework for me to develop my own audio-visual arts practice.

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Could you tell us about the best client or project you’ve worked on/with?

Commercially, I’ve worked with some very well-known brands.

One example is Channel 5 for whom I made the original Milkshake online video player.

As an artist with children, I hardly ever get to take up a residential but have really enjoyed the few opportunities I have managed to accept. There’s something special about waking up in a different environment with the sole purpose of being creative.

“One area of interest is facial expression detection and the way that a participant might be able to interact with the artwork by smiling, frowning, or pulling a face.”

Where do you find your inspiration?

I’m inspired by many things; visual design, typography, the written word, music, film, historical artefacts and even snippets of conversation heard on the bus.

For me, being an artist is like being a creative sponge for much of the time, soaking up influences and formulating half-ideas. Every so often I get the chance to regurgitate and reassemble those influences into something new.

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What else do you specialise in?

I discovered a talent for creative coding and ended up running a team of creative developers in a large web agency.

From there I ended up developing my own business providing interactive design services until I decided to become an artist!

What are you working on at the moment?

I have a number of low-key projects in development, nothing too big as I am still recovering from an intense period of activity.

One area of interest is facial expression detection and the way that a participant might be able to interact with artwork by smiling, frowning, or pulling a face.

Do you have a favourite spot in Norwich?

I love the bank of the River Wensum as it winds from NUA towards the station. I also think Norwich Market is fascinating; it’s like a microcosmic representation of Norwich old and new; traditional and radical at the same time.

View our BSc (Hons) User Experience Design course

Photography by Denisa Ilie, BA Photography graduate.

With thanks to Norwich Arts Centre and Collusion.