Multi-media? Make mine a quilt

Morris Williams, wrote this article in 1997.

University computer experts planning to help community groups in Bristol use multimedia thought lack of ideas might be a problem. Quite the reverse: projects now include autobiographical quilts and telling the story of a community through an interactive map.

Our project is managed by staff from the Department of Computing at the University of the West of England with an Advisory Group from the community and voluntary sector. A pilot site has been set up at Barton Hill Settlement with a project worker, Mijanou Blech. A first stage is underway using Authorware to develop multi-media productions with groups.

Later developments will be to make the productions available via a world-wide web site. The kinds of project ideas currently being developed include:

'Initially we thought a problem might be ideas for the use of multi-media because people might not know it's capabilities.

'Instead we found that the community groups have long used a wide variety of media and immediately saw the communication potentials of multi-media and the Internet. They wanted to be producers however not just consumers and at the same time gain new skills. Ideas are not is short supply.

'What has been a problem is establishing a robust technical platform. Theoretically we had 'plug and play compatibility' of hardware & software but the practice has proven rather more difficult.

'We have been carefully documenting our technical progress but what would really help us and similar projects is technical expertise in overcoming the fragility of technical platforms in their set-up phase.'

Nick Plant, Morris' colleague, offers the following tips for similar projects:

The Connections Project is funded by the Bristol Regeneration Partnership under the Single Regeneration Budget.

For more information contact Nick Plant or Morris Williams at the Department of Computing, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY

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