Community Manager
8 Oct, 2019
September Ignite – Creative Technology and Digital Arts

September’s Ignite meeting was held at Chelmer Cycling Club, hosted by Elaine Tribley. The Chelmer Cycling Club offers various activities for bike riders including coaching and training, time trialling, Cyclo Cross, group and family rides, track racing, road racing. To find out more about the club and what it can offer, contact Peter on 01245 460633 or email:

Our theme this month was Creative Technology and Digital Arts.

Not all artists use technology in their work and not all technologists use art, but both are a form of creativity; Andy from Southend Tech gave us food for thought when he discussed how easily the two can be combined. A challenging subject to some, he gave a very engaging and light-hearted presentation.

He started by telling us that coding is simply a set of instructions given to a computer- for example, playing music on a small computer would in a way be less complex that learning musical notes, as the computer would just need a set of instructions. Apparently the ‘language’ of music has never been easier!

He went on to say that almost anything you can imagine can involve technology-coding instructions could launch a mandala pattern, a knitting pattern or simply make shapes.

Andy showed us ‘Scratch’, which is a simple-to-use tool for learning how to carry out simple coding for maths and art. It can interact with your webcam and can convert text to speech. Often used in schools, this is a good way to start your coding journey.

Andy concluded by saying that technology can be linked to our senses-for example, light sensors and colour sensors, thermometers and barometers can be made. Technology can be made to detect vibrations in the air and loud and soft sounds, and he suggested a relatively straight forward example for the arts-performance artists and dancers could have sensors attached to them/their outfits that control the way a screen displays images.

The talk was truly inspiring for anybody that wishes to combine technology and art, as many artists are doing currently.Our second speaker was Victoria Button from Artimate.

Victoria set up her Artimate business to run workshops producing animation for groups of children and adults.
She explained that the word ‘animate’ means to ‘bring to life’ and she stated ‘art is most powerful when there is a story behind it’. I don’t think many of us would argue with that. This is her premise for her business-bringing stories to life. She said that story-telling is a way to remember things and that technology can not only help us to remember, but also understand complex ideas.

The children she has worked with feel empowered when they create something like a stop action animation. The ulitmate finish for some of her workshops has been to show the children’s work on a big screen (Everyman cinema has helped her realise this) to emphasise this feeling of empowerment and achievement.

Stop-action animation is a wonderful way to get children involved in creativity, and Victoria regularly runs workshops. The next workshop is ‘Creepy Stop Motion‘ for 7-9 year olds.

Many thanks to our two speakers for sharing their wisdom and inspiring us to think about combing technology and the arts.

The other events discussed at the meeting were as follows:

The Ideas Hub are running the Ideas Hub Festival ‘Ubuntu’. The word ‘ubuntu’ is an African philosophy meaning ‘I am who I am because of who we are’. The Ubuntu Day is on October 19th 11am-4pm and involves lots of workshops and an Asian food market. See the facebook event listing for more details. Within this festival is an exhibition that Victoria and Adrian Deakes have working on with school children: “From Shell Shock to Now” about the history of mental health. The participants used photos and letters from soldiers in their research, via the Essex Records Office.

The Ideas Hub are also once again working towards a fantastic ‘Light Parade’. This will take place on Sunday 27th October 6-8pm, but there are workshops leading up to the event where you can make your own lantern. See the Ideas Hub facebook page, or the Light Parade Chelmsford facebook page for more details.

2020 is set to be a big year in Chelmsford’s history, with it being chosen to host the British Science Festival for the first time. With this in mind, there will be lots of S.T.E.A.M related events taking place all year across Essex, Southend and Thurrock. Ignite is holding a second collaboration event on Wednesday 23rd October at 12pm on the subject of ‘Skills development and new pathways in STEAM’ at Transition. If you feel you have an idea for an event you would like to put forward for Essex 2020, email Or to find out more, check out this video and post.

At Transition on the 2nd and last Sunday of each month, Carmel and Kelli are running a ‘Creative Café’ 1-6pm – just bring along something you are working on and enjoy being with other creative people!

Also at Transition, the Poetry Circle will run on the last Sunday of every month from 8pm.

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