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SMARTlab Research Institute

The SMARTlab has run major national and international seminars, events and knowledge cafés, as well as a range of interactive think-tanks, club nights and blue-sky labs. Regular formal lecture programmes and community outreach projects are in process. Local and international organisations are invited to contact us to collaborate and participate.

About the SMARTlab

In existence for since 1993, the SMARTlab has gained a reputation over the past six years as one of the world’s leading Practice-Based PhD Programmes, and is viewed as an incubator for the next generation of talent and high-level scholarship in the ‘ArtSci’ domain.

Operating from it's 'home' base at University College Dublin, SMARTlab purpose-built studios include the MAGIC (Multimedia & Games Innovation Centre) PLAYroom, incubation and training spaces with linked fabrication, simulation, and product design facilities and a partner high definition multistream film/video facility all on site.

The Ethos

SMARTlab begins it's research on each and every project by ‘landing’ in a community, culture or research environment, and then spending time getting to know the local people, issues, concerns and needs, before forming teams of artists, computer scientists, medical and social care experts, educators, and scholars. Each team then tackles a given issue and attempts to invent new technology tools with real social impact, whether for individuals, for groups, or for wider international aims. We aim to effect knowledge transfer in everything we do, not only within our team and between our teams and local communities, but also in broader academic and industry relations.

We tend to begin projects by considering the needs of those communities or social groups least represented or supported by ‘off the shelf’ technology tools for education, communication, skills training and/or artistic and social empowerment.

The Communities (or 'User Groups')

Our three primary user groups are women, children and young people, and people with disabilities. We work off-site in women’s shelters, schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, and also in universities and industry think-tank settings and retreats. We also operate out of our PLAYroom at UEL, with sister sites in operation (and accessible via telematic stream) in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Montreal, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Aarhus, Fes, Marrakech, Alibag, Mumbai, et al.

The Symbol

The symbol of the SMARTlab is the butterfly: a creature of beauty (artistic aesthetic) and scientific wonder, and a metaphor for social change motivated by personal growth and empowerment. The ‘body’ of the hybrid creature known as SMARTlab is our academic core, and each of the two wings intersects with that body of key scholarship and applied research. One wing covers not-for-profit and community engagement projects (such as our TRUST project for children with disabilities, and our Safetynet global anti-domestic violence project), while the second wing covers the terrain of Creative Industries, and features our new MAGIC centre, where (in our new PLAYroom facility) we will host workshops, playshops, skillshops, networking events and research think-tanks for local and global partners in knowledge transfer.

Choose a wing, and fly. . .

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