LiGHTS Nights Research Showcase

LiGHTS Nights (Lincoln – Get Hold of Tech and Science) is a one-day celebration of how science and technology impacts on our daily lives. With a lively and thought-provoking free programme of events in venues across Lincoln, the day aims to inspire and excite visitors with the wonders of innovation and exploration.

LiGHTS is part of the European Researchers’ Night, which is a Europe-wide initiative that takes place on the last Friday night of September every year. It was launched in 2005 in 20 cities, across 15 countries and has grown fast since then, attracting over 1 million people every year. This mega event offers visitors in cities all over Europe a unique opportunity to meet researchers and take part in science activities aiming to showcase both the fascination of research as a career and its significant societal impact. LiGHTS is Lincoln’s first event contribution to this event, hosted by the University of Lincoln Friday 30th September.

co_LAB facilitated a public workshop as part of the event, providing an opportunity for attendees to engage directly with our research in a variety of ways. The workshop featured demonstrations of the latest Virtual and Augmented Reality technology, alongside the exhibition of innovative concepts created in previous co_LAB workshops.



Participants of the workshop had the chance to immerse themselves in virtual 3D environments through a variety of games and interactive demonstrations of the latest VR headsets (including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR). The workshop aimed to highlight the creative potential of Virtual and Augmented Reality, with participants encouraged to contribute to our emerging practice-based research in this exciting area. We also invited previous co_LAB participants to join us as co-facilitators of the workshop, providing an opportunity to reflect on their experiences, discuss their concepts with the general public, and to act as student ambassadors for co_LAB.


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Jisc Change Agents’ Network Staff & Student Meet Up

The team recently contributed to the Jisc Change Agents’ Network (CAN) Staff & Student Meet Up, hosted by the University of Lincoln, 2 June 2016. CAN is a rapidly growing national network of student and staff practitioners in student engagement. This one-day event provided a chance to share practice, research, experiences and new thinking on student engagement, with a particular focus on engaging students as partners.

We took part in the practice showcase, presenting our latest project that sought to engage students in designing the Academic Book of the Future. This networking event enabled us to discuss the co_LAB workshop model and receive feedback of our student partnership projects from other educators. We were also accompanied by a student participant from the latest workshop to share her experiences and contribute a student perspective.


co_LAB stall at the CAN Showcase


Workshop – Day 2

We began the day with a series of physical exercises to get our minds active and to expand on some of the ideas we have been discussing about different learning styles. We find that we spend most of our time sat down (either facing screens or talking around a table), therefore it’s important to break from this, not only for physical benefits, but to get a fresh perspective on the way we collaborate. We played a series of improv ‘games’ that got us out of our chairs and engaging with one another, with each activity having a metaphorical lesson at its core. A game about trust, teamwork and acceptance, another about how our brains are wired according to logic and creativity, and finally the (now infamous!) 12 part handshake game, teaching us that peer-to-peer collaboration can help to produce creative outputs that can exceed the sum of their parts.

One of the participants of the workshop, Patrick Deters, is a visiting lecturer from The Hague University of Applied Sciences (an LSFM Erasmus exchange partner). In addition to providing an international academic perspective to the workshop, Patrick also presented an overview of copyright and intellectual property laws, which was followed by a discussion about the creative and collaborative potential of Open Access publishing, Copyleft and Creative Commons licences.

Dr. Sarah Barrow, who is on the Advisory Panel for The Academic Book of the Future, came into the lab to provide some context for the key aims and objectives of the the broader AHRC-funded research project. The Academic Book of the Future is currently in its second phase of a two-year cycle, which is focussed on facilitating conversations with and between all stakeholders of the academic book (including academics, publishers, librarians, booksellers and policy-makers). As part of this process, support has been given to institutions from across the UK (including UoL) to interrogate current and emerging issues around the academic book and its contexts:

  • What is an academic book?
  • Who reads them?
  • What do scholars want from academic books?
  • What can technology do to help make academic books more accessible?
  • How can we make sure academic books, whether print or electronic, are kept safe, and preserved effectively?
  • What has changed over recent years, and what is still changing?
  • What new challenges and opportunities do librarians, publishers, booksellers, and academics face?

The afternoon saw us exploring the potential ‘forms’ that the book of the future might take. To support this process, we returned to a suggestion made yesterday by Dr. Duncan Rowland, a participant from the School of Computer Science. Duncan proposed that the book is a combination of two things – a container and its contents (i.e. Book = Container + Content). This presented an interesting way of defining the particular issues we will be addressing in the ideation phase of the workshop by thinking about the academic book as a medium (container) for transmitting new knowledge (content). This saw us focus on the potential multi-media/multi-platform/multi-sensory properties and functionalities that the book of the future might embody.

Another aspect of the workshop is to explore the themes of Academic Book of the Future through a case study/live brief of an actual book (an edited collection of academic essays entitled The Neurotic Turn: Interdisciplinary Correspondences on Neurosis, which has a print publishing contract with Repeater Books). This will represent the ‘content’ to populate our designs with, and to explore how this might be disseminated and made accessible to a variety of readers. The editor of this book, Charlie Johns, came in to speak about how the themes of this book (how forms of knowledge are produced or constrained through neurosis) might be useful for thinking through our own experiences of learning and the role of the book in the future.


co_LAB Welcome & Pre-workshop Preparation


Well done to you all for applying to take part in the co_LAB cross-college innovation workshop next week. This project brings together staff and students from diverse academic disciplines (media production, games computing and psychology) to collaborate on the co-development of creative concepts and innovative approaches to learning.

The workshop will run from Monday 9 to Friday 13; whilst it will be quite an intense week, it should also be extremely rewarding! We will be kicking off the workshop on Monday morning at 10.00am – please meet us for tea and coffee in MC2131 (second floor of MHT building)!

Before we introduce the particular brief for this project, we need to make sure we are all signed up to the various online services we will be using to support our collaborative production. By now you should have all posted your selfies on the Facebook page. It’s great to see that you are raring to go and that you bring a diverse range of skills and experiences. The Facebook group will act as informal place which we will be using to exchange information, feedback and research, whilst the co_LAB blog and twitter will be used to document our progress throughout the week and provide information about the content of the workshop.

We will also be using Google Drive and Google Docs to collaborate and share files. If you haven’t got a Google account, please could you sign up. Although it is not essential, as you can work anonymously without an account, it would make things a little easier if you you did! If you haven’t used Docs or Drive then don’t panic, the following videos should give you a little more information about why we intend to use these services, and how they can support our collaborations:


Small Preparatory Task

To begin our collaborations please could all spend a little while contributing to the following short task (it needn’t take too much effort). I have created a folder on the shared co_LAB Drive where all our work will be stored and exchanged. I have posted a link to this on the Facebook group – as you will see, there is a document that you will be able to edit. (N.B. In order to distinguish who has contributed what, we suggest that you choose a different colour for your text and give an indication at the top of the page).

Please could you all spend a little time populating this document with answers to the following questions?

  1. How do you learn best?
  2. What supports or hinders your learning?
  3. How do you engage with reading and research in the 21st Century?


Good luck and see you on Monday at 10am!

Call for Participants – Upcoming Workshop

co_LAB is pleased to announce that we will be running our next intensive cross-college workshop in May (9-13) and are currently seeking enthusiastic participants from across the University. The call is open to L2 students from all Colleges (although applicants from other years will also be considered).

co_LAB workshops bring together staff and students from different academic contexts, employing a student-directed, discovery-based learning approach to support a range of 21st century skills (collaboration, innovation, group problem-solving, digital media literacies). Check out what we got up to in a previous project undertaken last year for a little taste of what you might expect.

Here are just some of the benefits of taking part in this project:

  • Network and meet other students working in different academic disciplines
  • Discover new approaches to conceptual development, research and collaborative production
  • Shape the way you learn by having more autonomy in the curriculum
  • Share your voice on challenging contemporary debates and produce new knowledge
  • Exhibit your work at a public facing event
  • Counts as ‘extra-curricular activity’ for Lincoln Award
  • Outputs to be considered for the European Youth Award

If you would like to take part in this workshop please fill in the online application form or follow the instructions in the poster below. We will be holding an informal briefing on the project for all who may wish to take part but want to find out a little more information on Thursday 21st April 2016, 15.30 in room MC2113B (2nd floor MHT). Any other questions can be directed to

Call for participants