The aim of NetPark was to test the potential for artists, researchers and developers to create an extensible and mobile experience that connects to public spaces as a dynamic locative experience. Additionally, the project aimed to explore the educational potential of Netpark by creating educational works in collaboration with local school children. As a funded R&D project, NetPark was a collaboration between the arts organisation Metal, the mobile app development company Calvium, and researchers at the University of Brighton.
Five artists were commissioned to create digital artwork to be experienced by the general public in the park. Five local primary schools took part in a series of eight-week long workshops to create locative story apps for younger visitors to the park, in collaboration with professional authors and illustrators.
Dr Frauke Behrendt was the lead researcher, working with Dr Karolina Doughty. They collected and analysed research material, including interviews and observations, that provided insights into stakeholder issues related to the project delivery, the perspective of makers on creating locative media art, the user experience of artworks in the form of locative media apps, and the educational aspect of creating works with schools.
The key insights are:
• NetPark is a creative response to the challenges local authorities face around public spaces and parks, drawing on opportunities of the digital and creative economy, to establish a process for artistic and educational creation as well as stakeholder engagement.
• NetPark shows how the combination of the park setting park with digital, mobile and locative technologies facilitates new user experiences and engages new audiences.
• Engaging local school children in locative media creation for NetPark has a range of educational opportunities and benefits.
• Understanding the user experience and the educational
• opportunities of NetPark can inform further engagement with
• diverse communities.
• Curating and maintaining NetPark is an important part of its strategy and follows the setting-up process.
• The NetPark Toolkit contains guidance and resources on the process of commissioning, producing and maintaining both locative digital art works and locative educational digital works in public outdoor spaces.
• The NetPark projects makes a contribution to the long-term development of public space in a digital age.
The 2014-2015 ‘NetPark’ project was funded by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts (Nesta, Arts & Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through the Arts Council with £330,000.
Link to NESTA website and the report.
Link to Metal NetPark Website.