“I was interested in more practice-based research methodologies and in the critical approach to media history and technology, which seemed to be at the heart of the Centre for Cultural Studies research production.
The main difference from the other programs I looked at, was that the Interactive Media course offered a Free and Open-Source Software lab environment to support research through practice. I remember thinking that I did not really understand what it was all about in the beginning — but it was worth taking the risk to try it out.
The course enhanced my openness and curiosity, my critical thinking skills, and skills in conceptualizing practice-led research projects.
I think this course is a potential space where practice-led research can spring out of collaborations. Every year is very different, but during the year I attended, the most exciting questions where produced collaboratively. For example, the award winning project (http://xmsg.org.uk/) initiated by Cliff Hammett and myself, saw us creating a low cost DIY telephony server together with sex workers activist group x:talk.
Today the project is a platform for critical reflection on how communication practices and structures materialise in the sex industry — a space where new collaborations and knowledge ecologies can take form as a mutual exchange.
I think doing this course can raise ones awareness of how questions can be critically investigated through collaborative environments. The Flee Immediately (http://fleeimmediately.co.uk/), by former student Renee Carmichael, is yet another initiative investigating forms of practice-led collaboration through production and publication, bringing attention to the frameworks in which co-productions can materialise.
The course has led me to many new research areas and pushed me to work with practical projects in technology that I did not have previous experience with.
I work as a full-time mum, practitioner and researcher, and in most of my activities the skills that I have acquired during the masters course including, critical thinking, learning by doing, and project management, are all operating in the back or foreground of my life.
I would advise prospective students to be open, ready for plenty of failure, and to make sure you have fun.”
[Interviewed by Claire Shaw]