Memories Go Digital

Four students from the University of Kent have been involved in a unique project to help senior citizens from Thanet rediscover their teenage past.

The Multimedia Technology and Design students from the University’s School of Engineering and Digital Arts have been working with Turner Contemporary in Margate and BBC Radio Kent on a project called Time of our Lives. It aims to bring together younger and older generations to reflect upon being a teenager, a period of life that is often regarded with fear and suspicion.

Over the past six months, an artist has been working with people aged over 60 and teenagers in Thanet to create art work, record interviews, collect stories, photographs and artifacts of ‘teenage’ life. The students have helped the participants to archive their work using the latest digital technologies.

On Thursday, 25 February, the students welcomed six senior citizens and the team from Turner Contemporary’s Time of our Lives project to the University. The senior citizens tested the students’ ‘interactive teenage bedroom’ which acts as a digital archive for the content generated during the project. The feedback from the project’s participants will help the students complete this digital prototype in time for an exhibition at the beginning of March at Droit House, Turner Contemporary’s visitor centre in Margate.

The testing took place at the School’s Digital Media Hub in the Canterbury Innovation Centre. Both groups were then given a tour of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts.

The student’s work has been supervised by lecturers Ania Bobrowicz and Jane Milton. Jane Milton, Lecturer in Film and Video Production said: ‘It’s been a great final project brief for the students, who get the chance to exchange their creative ideas and work for a high profile arts organisation such as Turner Contemporary.’

Student Natasha McAdam, added: ‘I’m very excited for the gallery and the participants to see what we’ve been working on. It’s been great to work on such a versatile project and create links with the community in Thanet.’

Professor Sarah Spurgeon, Head of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, commented: ‘The School of Engineering and Digital Arts is delighted to be involved with this high impact regional project which is giving our students an important opportunity to interact with a range of external organisations and East Kent residents, thus enhancing the students’ experience and employability. The School has very strong connections with local industry and business and the Time of our Lives project is a welcome addition to our portfolio.’

Karen Eslea, Head of Learning at Turner Contemporary said: ‘Students from the University of Kent have contributed a huge amount to this innovative intergenerational project. I am really looking forward to seeing the result of months of their hard work.’

The Time of our Lives project is funded through the Government Transformation Fund, with project partners, Turner Contemporary, the University of Kent’s School of Engineering and Digital Arts and BBC Radio Kent.